How do I *actually* find cheap hotels and flights
August 26, 2012 12:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm organising a "big" holiday for this Christmas. I've searched for cheap flights and hotels but there are a million different websites out there. How do I actually get the best value for money? Which websites would MeFites recommend? Are there any good (step-by-step?) guides available?

If it's relevant, I'm in the UK, and at the moment I'm planning to go to Dubai.
posted by alby to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Why, yes.
posted by megatherium at 1:07 PM on August 26, 2012

megatherium, I did look at that book during my research, but it only covers "domestic and international travel originating in the United States" which is of no use to me as I am in the UK.
posted by alby at 2:13 PM on August 26, 2012

I always check the aggregators (kayak, hipmunk), but then also on discount airline sites themselves that the aggregators don't check. Here in America that's Southwest, Spirit, other regionals. I always check to see if the flight is likely to go higher or lower. Abroad, I got a great deal to Dubai on Turkish Airlines (~$600 round trip from chicago).
posted by jennybento at 2:51 PM on August 26, 2012

you could do it the other way around. Have a look at hotels in Dubai within your price range and e-mail the manager to see can they do a flight-nights deal. Prices for December aren't bad particularly for the new aparthotels in the Marina (some apartments sleep up to 6).
posted by Wilder at 3:44 PM on August 26, 2012

I live in Dubai so feel free to Memail me if you have any questions.

Kayak does well for flights and hotels.
posted by ambient2 at 8:02 PM on August 26, 2012

I seriously think the best way to get value for money on a big trip to somewhere you've never been is to work with a good travel agent.

Disclosure: my sister-in-law is a travel agent, but I have been saying this here since before my brother met her.

I used a travel agent for my big trip to Tahiti and Easter Island, and I think it made a huge difference.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:00 PM on August 26, 2012

You say nothing about head count or specific needs re travel, lodging, budget, time of year, access to amenities.

But for lodging I always have fun looking at airbnb has Dubai options.
posted by AnOrigamiLife at 11:59 PM on August 26, 2012

Here in Ireland my friends and I use Sky Scanner for flights. If you're going to a mainstream destination (which Dubai is) then a travel agent isn't going to get you anything cheaper then what you can find online. Also, airports often have a website with a list of all the flights that leave from there (although I don't know about really big places like Heathrow) so you can see what options are actually available to you before you start worrying about prices.

For accommodation, if you want actual hotels etc then Trip Advisor has all kinds of reviews plus links to quite a few websites for prices. There are reviews of tours and things like that too. I've occasionally found a better price via google so it's worth taking an extra look, but overall the info they give is very good. Generally you need to skim a bunch of reviews for each place to get an overall feel.

I don't know about things like air bnb but that does seem to be growing in popularity.
posted by shelleycat at 12:58 AM on August 27, 2012

Have you checked MSE?
posted by turkeyphant at 8:25 AM on August 27, 2012

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