I love to travel and try to have a “big trip” once a year. However, travel is not cheap. A website I have found and have used twice is Tripmasters.com. I have scoured the internet for the cheapest flight and hotel and still could not beat Tripmasters price. They offer not only flights and hotels, but also transportation and activities.
Another option I use for budget travel is Skyscanner.com. This website searches all airlines for the cheapest flights available. You can also set up an alert to your email and everyday you will receive that days flight price for the trip you are interested in. I have a set price in my mind of what I want to pay and when I receive the alert at that price or lower, I book it.
When I book my own flight, I then go to Homeaway.com for an apartment to rent. Renting an apartment is much cheaper than a hotel. I rent apartments with good reviews and make sure the area is near to the attractions I am interested in. The downside to renting an apartment is there is no concierge. So you don’t have a local to help you with transportation and general information.
Lastly, travel off season/shoulder season. You can get better rates on everything from flights to food. Always check weather conditions and whether attractions are still open during that time.
Tips: Don’t think traveling within your country is automatically cheaper than international. I often find that I can get a better deal (or just a few hundred dollars more) internationally (after adding in lodging/transportation/etc) than within the U.S. Check money conversion too. The dollar is strong in Mexico. The UK is cheaper now than it has been in years. Eastern Europe and third world countries are always a good bargain.