5 Travel apps and websites that you’ve never heard of that could save big bucks on your next vacation
Here at KidTripster, when we find a new tool to save families money on travel, our heart rate quickens! We can’t wait to share the news! For us, the more affordable we can make travel, the more families will get out and explore the world. And that is our ultimate goal.
So read on about how you can travel for less!
1/DOSH for hotels & restaurants
DOSH is the first of its kind. It’s an app that gives you cash back for spending money on hotels and restaurants. First, a little background on how its able to do that.
When you book a hotel on an aggregate travel website like Kayak and Expedia (called OTAs or Online Travel Agencies), that site gets a cut from the hotel, sometimes up to 60%! So what does DOSH do differently? It gives that cut (minus 15%) back to you. For example, if you were to book the Westin Grand Central Hotel in New York City for $179/night, you’d get back $49.65 in your DOSH wallet. The cash can be transferred to your bank account, PayPal account or favorite charity; it’s real cash, not points.
For restaurants, it works a little differently. Every time you go out, if there’s an available offer at the restaurant where you’re eating, it automatically converts it into cash and deposits in your DOSH wallet. The app will also show which restaurants around you are affiliated with DOSH.
Know that to set up an account, you’ll need to connect the credit cards that you regularly use. Already, about 100,000 businesses and brands are affiliated with DOSH.
Photo courtesy: DOSH
2/AutoSlash for rental cars
AutoSlash searches all the third-party websites for you to find the best deals, coupons, and promotion codes; then it goes one step further. If the price drops between the time that you book and the time that you pick up the car, AutoSlash will alert you so that you can rebook at the better rate. It’s like price protection!
To use this site, you need to fill out a form submitting your rental request; you’ll also be able to input any memberships that may have discounts like Costco. Then AutoSlash will email you back a quote within an hour or so.
Photo courtesy: AutoSlash
3/Trusted Housesitters for lodging... and a new friend
Maybe you’re looking to take a long vacation to Europe at the same time someone needs a house and petsitter in Tuscany. You walk the dog, water the plants, and stay for free. Really! Trusted Housesitters makes the match. Yes, there’s a $119 annual membership fee, but especially if you’re planning a longer trip, it’s a deal! And there’s the added bonus of living like a local and having a more authentic travel experience.
Photo courtesy: Trusted Housesitters
4/Hopper for flights
Hopper is the easiest way to see if you can save money by shifting the days of your flight. By analyzing years worth of data, Hopper tells you - with 95% accuracy, it claims - when the cheapest days are to fly. And it predicts the best time to actually buy your tickets. If it says wait, you can set Hopper to watch until ticket prices reach their lowest. Even if you don’t buy your tickets through the app (and instead purchase through the airline’s website), it’s a fantastic, money-saving tool!
Photo courtesy: Hopper
5/Camp in My Garden for an experience
Camp in My Garden (for Americans, read as “yard”) is for intrepid family travelers. Think Airbnb but for camping. Most popular for locations in Europe (but growing in the USA), the website allows you to filter by differ criteria. Are children accepted? (Typically, they are.) Can the host provide a tent? Will I have access to a shower? Is there internet access? The rates vary widely by location and amenities but can start as low as $8/night.
As a former consumer investigative reporter, few things give editor Shellie Bailey-Shah more joy than finding a deal on travel!