OUR FAVORITE SITES FOR AFFORDABLE TRAVEL

We've been posting quite a few deals lately on our Facebook and Instagram feeds, and I've gotten messages, questions and comments asking questions like "are these deals real?!" They're real...as real as the memories that you'll make after you decide to pull the trigger on booking that bucket list destination that's been taunting you for years. Since we don't book airfare or hotels at Explorateur, we've found that sharing these deals are the best ways to make travel dreams come true. So how can you get alerts on top destinations and steal-of-a-deal travel packages? We're sharing a few of our faves below:

TravelZoo: This site is our jam! My last post touted about why you should book your trip to Paris right away, and this company is a major reason as to why I knew about the incredible deals. They advertised a trip to Paris including round-trip flights and 4 night stay in 4 star hotels started at $499. This straight up bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S! They share a list of their "Top 20" deals each week, and they are typically all an out-of-this-world buy. Most packages depart from major airport hubs, so you may want to scope out our next website for your best connection to an affordable point of departure.

AirFareWatchDog: This site allows you to set up alerts from anywhere to anywhere, so that you get notified for specific routes that you are looking to book. However, my favorite "down-time" thing to do is to peruse their nifty "From city" nifty feature where you can scope out all current deals from your departure airport. You might not have been planning to take that trip to Peru this year, but when you see the deal of the century, you just might be unexpectedly packing your bags all while saving some major cash.

Groupon: Groupon has a "Getaways" section that offers great deals with partners who are looking to get more traffic at their properties. For example, as I am typing this, I just saw an 8 day trip to Ireland with accommodations, airfare and a rental car starting at $699. What?! But don't be mislead, this site is even more helpful with locations in the U.S.A., so if you are looking to skip the air costs and have a nice little stay-cation, this site can help you find the perfect place!

JetSetter: Looking for a little luxury on a dime? Jetsetter has your number. Their slogan, "Hotel deals and travel inspiration," sums up exactly what they offer. This site specializes in those brands that tend to top the charts in hospitality. In addition to their incredible deals that they advertise, they have an awesome blog with restaurant and activity suggestions.

Chase: So, I am slipping this one in their for the credit card holders. Chase credit cards tend to have dang-good perks, and their rewards program is my favorite to use because of the bonus point potential and the steep discounts they offer when booking with your Chase card. Not only do they offer travel booking assistance by phone, but they also have discounts with partner companies that help you save cash or points (whichever you happen to be booking with). Even if you don't spend enough money on the card to accrue a high point balance, you can always pay the remaining balance on the card, unlike many other programs that only allow you to spend what you've already earned. If you're looking for a standard card with great travel rewards, check out the Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Regional Specific Airlines: It's easy to forget about smaller brands when you stick to checking Expedia, Travelocity, and the likes. If you have a specific destination, always make sure to check out what regional lines have to offer. Allegiant is popping up in more and more U.S. airports, RyanAir and EasyJet offer great fares in Europe, WOW is an economical option to Iceland, and there are many more. If you don't know what airlines are offered, check out your destination's airport website for a full list.

Do you have favorite sites of your own for finding awesome travel deals? We'd love to hear them!