>  Advice   >  How to find cheap online travel deals

There’s no such thing as a free meal, right? Wrong! Think staying at a Sydney hotel with harbour views costs a fortune?  Not always. Would you believe a top shelf campervan can be yours for $1 a day? You betcha. It is easy to find cheap online travel deals with the following tips.

Get a cheap hotel room

It is worth checking several last minute sites when booking accommodation as a hotel which appears sold out on one could be available on another. Deals can also vary – a night at the Gold Coast cost the same on two different websites yet one specified a twin single room. I booked with Wotif and got a king size saving (along with a king size bed). Don’t forget hotel web sites which frequently offer attractive package deals and rates which are sometimes cheaper than their ‘last minute’ counterparts. Also, if you want to upgrade to a club level room or change the date of your stay, you may have more luck with a room that has been booked direct with the hotel.

Insider Tip: Look on popular last minute accommodation sites to see if there is a lower rate then call the hotel to claim their ‘best rate guarantee’ and get up to 10% off the cheapest price.

Shop around for a king size bed at a bargain price
Shop around for a king size bed at a bargain price

Dynamic hotel pricing

Checking hotel and airline websites multiple times a day is not compulsive behaviour, just smart. What is known in the industry as ‘dynamic pricing’ sees rooms, flights and even some package holidays cost more when there is significant demand and less when there’s not. If a flight or hotel is half empty prices can drop to rock bottom at a moment’s notice on the whim of a yield manager. Timing can also be everything when it comes to flights. Check out the Virgin Australia website on Thursdays from 4pm and you will have until 11pm to pick up a rock bottom fare. You don’t have a lot of choice when it comes to destinations and timing but this dynamic pricing lucky dip offers some amazing deals.

Insider Tip: You can also sign up to airline pages on Facebook and Twitter for alerts about flash sales and upcoming deals. Our family picked up $99 fares to Bali by signing up to the Jetstar Facebook page.

Sunset at Jimbaran Bay

Drive a hard bargain

Major car hire companies offer online booking but did you know it’s possible to check all their rates at once?  Put in your dates at a dedicated web site and a search engine brings up the best deal with each supplier. Try Vroomvroomvroom for car rental deals with leading agencies in a one stop shop format. imoova are Australia’s number one relocation agent which means its their job to get cars back to the city from which they were rented. Rather than pay a driver to do this, the cars get offered to travellers from as little as $1 a day. In many cases these guys even pay for fuel. You can also try Transfer Car which offers free one-way rentals for travellers who are able to relocate cars.

Insider Tip: Check individual hire company websites for special offers such as one day free rental and complimentary upgrades.

You could pick up a campervan for less than $10 a day

Coupon crazy

Amusement parks, tourist sites and restaurants around Australia offer online coupons that can knock hundreds off your next holiday. Start by checking the website of the attraction you want to visit. If you don’t have any luck there do a Google search for discount coupons online. I quickly found vouchers for $20 off accommodation, complimentary coffee and more buy-one-get one-free meals than I could poke a fork at.

Insider Tip: If you are travelling in Australia, visit Shop-A-Dockets for instant gratification.

Disclosure: The writer loves a travel bargain and often uses the suggestions above to get great deals for family holidays.

Want tips that save time, money and your sanity when you’re flying or at the airport? Check out our suggestions for how to pass the time at an airport with kids, how to access airline lounges (even if you’re not a member), and how to make the most of a stopover.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.