Low Fare Tips

Top 10 tips for finding the lowest airfare and the best deal on a hotel room.

1. It pays to plan ahead. The closer you are to your traveling day the more you pay. Why? Because a while back some smart guys and gals at an airline figured out that business travelers tend to schedule meetings at the last minute and have the least flexibility. So while the airlines stick it to the business folk, a well-organized vacationer can take advantage. To find the best fares for you, search for your trip on HeyNuna and complete your booking 21 days or more in advance; for next best try for 14 or more. You still here? What are you waiting for?

For hotel booking, the picture is different. On any given day, prices can fluctuate based on whether the hotel thinks it will be able to fill its rooms for the night. Your best time to book is usually within 24 hours of the stay, when hotels slash prices to avoid vacant rooms, but that creates a lot of uncertainty and isn't ideal when you're traveling in an unfamiliar place.

Thankfully, HeyNuna can help you time your bookings so you get the best price without running the risk of not getting a room at all. HeyNuna allows you to search for hotels and predicts both room availability and price fluctuations.

2. What day of the week? The flexibility to travel on another day can result in dramatically lower fares. So next time you search on HeyNuna, select the flexible dates option. You'll probably find that flying Saturday is cheaper (though not so much for international). Likewise, traveling mid-week (Tuesday or Wednesday) is usually cheaper than Monday or Thursday/Friday: consultants love to travel on Monday mornings and fly back Thursday (of course, they still bill you for Friday but that's another story).

3. Timing matters. The key to getting the lowest fare is to fly when others are not. The "dead times" will vary by route (early morning and late night are good for leisure routes, mid-day is usually best for business routes). Select the "Anytime" option and use our filtering tools to focus your way to a cheaper fare.

4. Avoid peak travel seasons. See a theme here? Don't travel when everyone else is. Go to Disneyland or Las Vegas after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. Not only will the flights be cheaper but the lines too will be shorter. Or fly on Christmas day when everyone is there already (and the flight attendants are extra nice).

5. Location, location, location. Many low cost carriers fly into alternative airports, like Burbank or Long Beach instead of LAX, or Stansted instead of London Heathrow, and what they save in airport fees they pass onto you. You may also appreciate the added benefit of less traffic, cheaper rental cars and fewer people at the airport bars, too. Whenever you search with HeyNuna, we can automatically show you rates from nearby airports.

6. Check for affiliation and other discounts. You may qualify for additional discounts simply by belonging to an association or organization. Military, Veterans, First Responders, Airline Employees, AARP and AAA are prototypical examples, but groups as diverse as the American Bar Association, the United States Billiard Association and even the Professional Disc Golf Association offer discounts on various hotel chains as well. Check with your professional organization, university or any other group you might belong to. Your credit card might also offer discounts – Visa Signature, for example, offers discounts and perks on a rotating cast of hotels.

7. Use rewards malls. When it comes time to finally book, utilize cash back and credit card rewards to earn bonus rewards. For instance, ShopDiscover offers 5 percent cash back on Expedia. Keep in mind that while anyone can use cash back websites, you might need a credit card to access card issuers' online malls.

8. Negotiate, not pay, for upgrades. Instead of booking the fanciest room in the place, reserve a lower-rate room and then ask for an upgrade. If you're traveling at an off-peak time, you have a higher chance of moving up to a vacant, better room at check-in.

You can also try a number of tactics to score an upgrade such as:

  • Calling a manager to see what room is available (it usually helps to mention if it's a special occasion)
  • Showing up exactly at check-in time in hopes that your room won't be ready, and they'll have to upgrade you to a better, prepped room
  • Tipping in advance and asking nicely for an upgrade

Here, too, your credit card can come in handy. The American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts booking tool gives room upgrades, resort credits and breakfast. Visa Signature and World MasterCard cardholders can also get special deals.

9. Keep an eye out for price drops. Savings don't stop when you book your hotel. As mentioned before, a room's price can fluctuate significantly, but not many people have the time or inclination to sit around hitting "refresh" to see if the nightly rate has dropped. HeyNuna tracks the price of your room and let you know when it drops. You can ask HeyNuna to go a step further and actually rebook the room for you, crediting the difference back to your account. HeyNuna also keeps an eye on other rooms in the same hotel: If a better room's price drops below yours, HeyNuna will upgrade you even if your room's price didn't change.

10. Easily the most important... search HeyNuna before you book.