The Best Apps and Websites for Travel Hacking (and Travel Savings)


You have a lot you want to accomplish and do in your life. And your goals probably look different than the goals of the person sitting next to you — with one exception.

Almost everyone I talk to shares the desire to travel more. It seems like traveling is the one thing we all want to do, whether it’s taking an exotic vacation, backpacking through a foreign country, or just experiencing and seeing new things.

The thing is, no matter what kind of traveling you want to do, it’s going to cost money. But your travel plans don’t have to break your budget if you know how to leverage the tools and resources available to you.

There are some amazing apps and websites out there that can not only make planning your trip and enjoying the sights better and easier, but also save you some money in the process.

Before you head out on your next adventure, try out my favorites for travel hacking (and money saving along the way!).

1. Wander

Your budget is what it is. Instead of fighting it (or just blowing it), work with it. Wander will help you do just that, by suggesting destinations based on what you can realistically spend.

Even if you feel like you have some flexibility on your spending, Wander can still be a useful tool for brainstorming future trips. Let the app suggest new places to go that you might not have considered on your own!

2. HotelTonight

Some of the best trips are the spontaneous, last-minute ones — but if you like to jump on last-minute plans, you know that approach can sometimes backfire. Prices can be sky-high if you want to book a room close to your travel date (and that assumes there are rooms available at all).

But if you use HotelTonight, you can still play your travels by ear and find the hotels offering last-minute rooms for really low prices. Hotels share their available rooms on the app, and then you can book one to stay within the week for a reduced rate.

3. HostelWorld

Making on-the-fly decisions doesn’t work for everyone. You might not have that kind of flexibility in your schedule — or leaving important travel details, like where you’re staying, up in the air until the day-of might just drive you crazy!

You can still save money on accommodations if you’re willing to check out hostels instead of hotels. But finding a good one can be stressful. You want to save money, but you might not want to stay in what feels like a throwback to your college dorm days.

HostelWorld makes the search easier, helping you connect with hostels that offer the amenities you want or can cater to your needs. The app allows you to search for specific features, like private rooms or bathrooms.

And of course, there are always sites like Airbnb and Kayak that can help you find other good deals on places to stay while traveling.

4. Trusted Housesitters

Why bother looking for “cheaper” when you could just stay somewhere on your travels for free?

It’s possible to do if you can connect with a homeowner that needs a house sitter for a period of time. Trusted Housesitters does just that, helping people who own homes but may be away for extended periods of time find people they can trust take care of the property while they’re gone.

To make this travel hack work for you, you do need to have some experience, references, and knowledge on how to set up a profile that appeals to homeowners. There are lots of resources and blogs that can help you learn more, like The Money Smart Nomad. And Trusted Housesitters runs their own blog that can help teach you how to get started.

5. Twitter

Yes, Twitter is a social media app and not a dedicated travel or money-saving tool… but there are a lot of accounts on social media dedicated to finding and sharing travel hacking tips, deals, and savings tips.

Follow accounts like Airfare Watchdog to find good prices on flights across airlines, or someone like The Points Guy if you want to make the absolute most of those credit card points you accumulate through your everyday spending.

6. Scott’s Cheap Flights

Cheap flights are out there. But finding them can take some time and effort — and you’re busy. You don’t exactly have the ability to spend hours and hours to search every corner of the web for the best airfare.

That’s what Scott’s Cheap Flights is for. The site offers both free and paid memberships, and sends great flight deals to subscribers of all plans on a regular basis.

7. Your Credit Card’s Rewards Program

If you can manage your credit wisely, choosing a credit card that offers powerful travel rewards can be a great way to save money on your trips and travel costs. Instead of paying cash, you could redeem points for hotels, flights, and more.

This is probably not a good money-saving tip if you…

  • Already have a lot of credit card debt
  • Tend to overspend when you use credit or struggle to stick to your budget
  • Buy stuff just to get points (rather than using your card to earn points on purchases you needed to make anyway, like groceries or your bills)
  • Have a low credit score and are focused on improving it

You might want to discuss your options with your financial planner before you actively use a credit card as a way to travel hack or save money on your trips. But if you use your credit cards responsibly, good rewards programs could save you a lot of money.

Nerdwallet can help you compare different travel rewards cards, so you can get the one that works best with the kind of spending you do most often.

Want More Travel Hacking and Money Saving Tips?

Be sure to check out past posts I’ve done on this topic, like this one here. That will give you even more suggestions on apps and tools you can use to plan out your travels and save money along the way.

Or, if you want to really level up your travel and financial planning, we can work together to create a solid financial plan that makes space for what you care about most — like adventures, the ability to explore, and trips that allow you to see more of the world.

Click here to learn more about how it works!

Mary Beth Storjohann, CFP® is an author, speaker, and financial coach who takes a fun, no-nonsense approach in working with individuals and couples across the country, helping them make smart choices with their money.

Follow me