7 Money Saving Vacation Websites (After You Purchase Your Tickets)

The following is a guest post from Craig Ford who shares money saving vacation tips at Help Me Travel Cheap, and offers coaching on how to get free travel at the Travel Free Coach.

Beach by JBEwing at Flickr

Editor’s note: I found this to be a very useful list as it filters ticket-buying sites and focuses more on ways to save once you arrive at your destination. This is especially helpful to someone like me who absolutely hates to fly, and is more interested in discounts on attractions and hotels than airline tickets.

1. Discover America

For a limited time (every weekday from April 11 – May 13, 2011), this website offers different vacation packages and deals every day.  Previous expired offers included things like a night a Country Inn and Suites for $56 (April 21st, 2011) or a pass to Sea World for $39 (April 12th, 2011).

Each day you’ll need to be fast to have your chance to get in on these highly discounted offers.

FYI – Those who purchase with an American Express card save an extra 10%.

2. Groupon and Living Social

Yes, most of us have already heard of Groupon and Living Social.

However, before heading on vacation, you should set your accounts to show you deals for your vacation destination city.  I’ve noticed that most Groupon type offers tend to be entertainment related, so this could be a great way to save extra cash on vacation.

3. Yapta

Depending on the airline that you used to buy your plane tickets, you might be eligible for a refund if the price goes down.  This is where Yapta enters the picture.  Yapta allows you the chance to track the cost of tickets between two destinations.  If the ticket purchase price goes down and your tickets are eligible for a refund, you can get money back from your plane tickets.

4. CityPass

There are only a limited number of eligible cities that offer CityPasses, but if you happen to be going to one of these cities for vacation, you’ll find that your family can get in on a lot of cool activities for a great price.

Here’s a sample of the price and activities included in the San Francisco CityPass.

For $69 for adults and $39 for kids, you can get a Muni & Cable Car 7-Day passport.  Additionally, you can get admission to the California Academy of Sciences, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise, Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), and de Young Museum or Exploratorium.

5. Entertainment Book

This might be a stretch since it is not actually a website (though you can buy the book from their website).

The Entertainment Book is a money saving book that it packed full of coupons.  With hundreds of 2 for 1 coupons, you can really minimize your vacation cost by keeping one of these in your rental car or backpack when you’re seeing the sights.

6.  Restaurants.com

If you are the type of person who likes to plan every detail of your vacation, you might be able to use restaurants.com to help you plan out your meals for vacation.  With Restaurants.com, you buy discounted gift cards for different restaurants.  You can easily save $25 per meal.

7. To and From the Airport

If you are traveling to a destination that does not have a shuttle, you can check out this website and be sure you’ll be able to find the most economical way to get from the airport to your destination.

What websites do you use to help you save money on your vacations?


  1. I was not familiar with Discover America and will definitely start using their travel services.

  2. I relate to #2. Usually Groupon vouchers are seasonal for example if its summer they normally offer discounts with beaches or recreational activities for summer.

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    • If you meant California, please note that no one, no one ever refers to California as Cali.

      • Don’t be a tool Richard. I’m from Cali, live in the SF Bay Area and we have no problem calling it that at all. Course we also call it the Soviet Republic of Kalifornia too, but that’s beside the point. Now get back under your bridge.

        • Maybe you’re recently here from Illi (Illinois) or Keni (Kentucky) or Peni (Pennsylvania), or Ari (Arizona), or Moni (Montana) but in the 40 years under this bridge, i’ve never heard it.

  3. I’ve started to use Groupon, and find that it can be quite helpful in saving on certain things. You have to be opportunistic, though. I have heard that people can purchase groupon offers on a secondary market, though I haven’t verified or checked this out. Groupon (and similar sites) might be really helpful in that case! This may be my next Google search….

    Thanks for introducting Discover America and Yapta, these seem interesting.

    • I think you’ll like Discover America.. I for some reason have never heard of Yapta, although I am negligent to a lot of things in life

  4. I read a similar list once (granted, it was not a “money-saving website” list so much as a general “money saving during your vacation” list) that consisted of suggestions like “Sew your own vacation clothes” and “cancel your phone service while you’re gone”. This is a little more practical and up to date. Thanks for these.

  5. We used CityPass when we went to San Francisco and it was great. If we had spent seperately for the activites it would have definately cost more. However, we did not do it blindly. We made sure the activites available were ones that we would be interested in anyhow. If you get it and do stuff outside of it you really just waste money!

  6. We use restaurant.com religiously. To save even more, do a search for coupon codes. You can usually get a code for 80% off. So for instance, you could purchase a $25 gift certificate to be used on a $50 meal. The initial cost would be only $10, but with the coupon code, you can get it for $2! That is $2 for a $25 gift certificate!
    Is it time to sharpen your saw?

  7. We tried to check out Groupon deals as our vacation in Italy approached, but we found it challenging since they only sent the email updates about the deals in Italian! Unless you’re willing to translate your emails to see if it’s a good offer (or you’re fluent in the language), you might want to stick to Groupon for US destinations.

    It’s a shame that more of these coupon/deal sites don’t have solid offers for international destinations. Or maybe they do, and they just don’t fit in my backpackers budget!

  8. I have not used Yapta, but need to give it a try, this week even.
    I also like to use Hotwire to save on motels, and with a little work you can figure out just what hotel you are booking.

  9. #2 is my bible to cheap deals and it is best so far.

    Will check on others and see if they have it in the UK too.


  10. I’ve used the CityPass a few times and saved that way. I’ve also found lesser-known ways to save in particular cities by reading feedback from people who’ve been there on the TripAdvisor forums.

  11. Restaurant.com and Groupon I have used to get deals. It seems Groupon offers alot of Spa treatments. The restaurant dot com site does have some good places to eat but we sometimes wished the selection was bigger.

  12. We’ve used homeexchange.com for years – done about 12 swaps. Excellent – better places to stay, no cost. Although we have a guest house, and can afford to do non-simultaneous exchanges. Doing a simultaneous one taxes more coordination. Start early.

    Home exchange listing 41911.

  13. expedia and hotwire are both good sites. i got a killer deal on expedia for an all-inclusive vacation to mexico for only $800 including flights, hotel and food.

  14. Not everyone vacations in America. I would have titled this post “7 Money Saving American Vacation Websites”.