• Doing things and getting around: Avoid the urge to hop into a cab several times a day; it adds up quickly. Get yourself a good map (if you don’t have one on your phone, that is) and walk; it’s more enjoyable anyway.
• Who: Hobica is the founder of airfarewatchdog.com
• Getting there: Sign up for airfare alerts (on websites like airfarewatchdog.com, tripadvisor.com/flights and orbitz.com). Fares change all the time and are unpredictable. Pounce when they do.
• Staying there: I really like the Hilton Garden Inn, Courtyard by Marriott and so on. They’ve really upped their games and are every bit as comfortable as five-star hotels. And consider tingo.com; if the hotel lowers its price before you arrive, you get an automatic refund to your credit card. Also, it sometimes pays to sign up for hotel loyalty programs for special rates only available to members.
• Eating there: Rent an apartment or house! You can eat cheaply because you have a kitchen and can cook at home.
• Doing things and getting around: Public transit. Also, look for city pass booklets with admissions to multiple attractions for one low price.
• Who: Peyser is the editor of Budget Travel magazine
• Getting there: Be flexible. It’s a snap to compare airfares in a million ways; among different carriers, between airports going to nearby cities, on different days of the week or hours of the day. If you do your research, a little flexibility can save hundreds of dollars.
• Staying there: The hottest bargain accommodation at the moment is what travel folks call a “vacation rental,” which really means renting out someone’s apartment or house (at websites like homeaway.com, vrbo.com or airbnb.com). It’s an especially smart choice if you’re traveling with a group or family that would need more than one hotel room, or if you’re staying in one place for a week or longer, when you can negotiate a deal.
• Eating there: If you like to eat at fancy places (and who doesn’t?), you’ll get much more for your money if you do your haute-cuisine-ing at lunch, when prices and portions are smaller but the thrill of the experience is the same. Turn dinner into a more low-key affair, eating where the locals do instead of the tourists.
• Doing things and getting around: Package tours aren’t for everyone, but they come in all shapes and sizes (you don’t always have to trek around with a large group of strangers), and they often mean great deals because the tour operator buys in bulk — and knows the territory. Depending on what kind of tour you go for, you can also save on airfare, hotels and even meals. There’s something to be said for a vacation where you don’t have to plan every bit of the trip yourself.