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International shopping6 Best Global Online Marketplaces in 2023Global online marketplaces open up a world of convenience and variety for modern consumers. Thanks to their easy-to-use interfaces and secure checkout options, online shopping today is easy, enjoyable, and quick. The online shopping industry is expected to grow to $7.5 trillion by 2025, accounting for almost a quarter of global consumer spending. And customers can expect more advancements in the years to come! A Quick Look at Our Top 6 Online Marketplaces Best online marketplace for convenience and product diversity: AmazonBest online marketplace for easy of use in-store and online: Walmart Best online marketplace for wholesale goods and raw materials for businesses: AlibabaBest online marketplace for used items: eBayBest online marketplace for finding artsy products: EtsyBest online marketplace for affordable products: AliExpress Evolution of Online Marketplaces Online shoppers didn’t always have the array of choices you and I have today. But thanks to mass adoption and technological advancements, the global online marketplace has since transformed from simple e-commerce websites to comprehensive ecosystems. The earliest version of today’s global online marketplace was classified marketplaces that followed the format of newspaper classified ads. While Craigslist and eBay were places to find things people auctioned off personally, they gradually evolved to become larger online marketplaces. Online stores then started emerging, allowing brands to sell the stock they held in warehouses and stores via the internet. Mixed marketplaces like Amazon also started gaining traction, allowing both buyers and sellers to leverage the benefits. 1. Best for Convenience and Product Diversity ProsMassive product catalogEasy-to-use platformFast shipping timesConsRefunds may take a whileProduct quality is not assuredFiling complaints is time consuming Anyone would agree that the Amazon Online Marketplace is the largest e-commerce marketplace globally, holding 37.8% of the global market share. The e-commerce giant has also branched beyond retail with entertainment offerings via Amazon Prime Video and IT services via Amazon Web Services. Today, Amazon is among the most efficient selling platforms, allowing merchants to optimize their listings and get their products within the top rankings to reach more customers. Fulfillment services and shipping are top-tier, making Amazon the top choice for buyers looking for convenient online purchases. Amazon usually offers free international shipping once you’ve spent a certain amount. While the amount can vary per location, the threshold is usually $35 to $60 to get the benefit of free shipping. » Earn cashback from Amazon 2. Best for Convenient Shopping In-store and Online ProsEffective pricing strategyVast product selectionIn-store and online shoppingSellers are invite-only and vetted by WalmartConsLimited online selection compared to in-storeOnly ships to the USPoor customer serviceNot all items qualify for free shipping Walmart's marketplace has seen exponential growth between 2019 to 2023. And with approximately $53.4 billion in sales in 2023 and a steep increase in the number of people choosing to shop online, these figures are projected to grow. To compete with Amazon and provide a better online and in-store shopping experience, Walmart has also made significant investments in its supply chain infrastructure, as well as in automation and logistics. However, unlike its competitor, Walmart does not ship internationally. You must have a minimum order of approximately $35 to qualify for free shipping within the US but not all items or orders qualify for free shipping. » Earn cashback from Walmart 3. Best for Wholesale Goods and Raw Materials for Businesses ProsWide range of suppliersBulk purchases at low costsSecure purchasingConsPoor translationsHigh shipping pricesSlow customer service response Alibaba is a B2B website by Alibaba Group, a multinational company with interests in retail, e-commerce, and technology. The company also hosts other online marketplaces: Taobao, a C2C website, and Tmall, a B2C site. Alibaba connects businesses with buyers and suppliers worldwide, since it carries a large number of mass-produced items sold wholesale. You can typically source raw materials from Alibaba in bulk to save on costs. Since Alibaba is based in China, shipping fees may be steep depending on shipment weight and distance. For example, shipments less than or equal to 200 pounds will be shipped via air, costing anywhere between $6 to $15 per pound. » Earn cashback from Alibaba 4. Best for Used Items ProsBuyers and sellers can negotiate pricesWide range of new and used goodsSecure checkout and paymentConsBidding may drive prices higher than their worthHigher risk of scamsOutdated user interface eBay started as an auction-type platform where people could sell second-hand and unused items or rare finds. It has since evolved into a complete online marketplace, much like Amazon, but offers new and used items. eBay has also ventured into advertising, classifieds, and payments and also runs StubHub, Gumtree, and Kijiji. What works in eBay’s favor is the robust money-back guarantee that protects buyers from getting defective items or being victimized by fraud and scams. » Earn cashback from eBay 5. Best for Artsy Products ProsEasy-to-use interfaceWide variety of products from creatorsTrusted platform with secure checkoutConsRecommended algorithm isn't too advancedSome items may not be genuinely handmadeLimited customer support Etsy is a niche platform specializing in handmade, unique, and vintage products. Since its inception, Etsy has flourished as a platform that enables communities to support independent artists and crafters. This online marketplace provides a dedicated platform for people to sell their art and for aficionados and collectors to find personalized items and rare gems to add to their collections. » Earn cashback from Etsy 6. Best for Affordable Products ProsUser-friendly interfaceAffordable products and global shippingWide range of productsEffective buyer protection policyConsPoor multi-language supportSlow shipping timesVarying product quality depending on the suppliers AliExpress falls under the umbrella of the Alibaba Group but caters to individual international shoppers rather than global wholesalers. Consumers shopping from AliExpress can expect to find a large variety of products at the most competitive prices. The platform also offers buyer protection to address concerns regarding shipping delays and product quality since it allows customers to buy from third-party sellers via the platform. » Earn cashback from AliExpress Honorable Mentions—Emerging Global Marketplaces to Watch The global online shopping world continues to grow, and several marketplaces are gaining traction in 2023. Among them is an online platform selling products from Chinese manufacturers at exceptionally affordable prices. Wish, as it’s called, also offers fast shipping worldwide. Customers can buy everything from gadgets to clothing and expect to receive their purchases in as quickly as two days.Google Shopping is also fast gaining popularity among shoppers, especially since it is already a top-of-mind option for shoppers looking to find information about something they wish to buy. Google Shopping offers a wide range of products from pet supplies to baby clothes and more.Facebook Marketplace has also risen steadily since its launch in 2016. And it enjoys a large subscriber base, many of whom gravitate toward Marketplace for local listings that include apparel, toys, and more. Browse the Best Online Marketplaces Today The significant shift to primarily digital ways of commerce is encouraging more sellers to participate in online marketplaces like the ones discussed above. Depending on your needs and whether you’re looking to buy or sell, you can be sure to find a platform that best suits your needs. Additionally, cashback platforms like CashYo offer amazing perks and rewards, allowing you to shop smart and make the most of your online shopping experience. Get as much as 5% cash back at your favorite stores today—simply install the extension, sign up, and start shopping!
Travel and booking8 Tips for Travelling to Canada From the USCanada is a picturesque destination that millions of visitors travel to annually, and American tourists make up a significantly large portion of Canada’s tourist market. Now that pandemic travel restrictions have been lifted and the green light is on for most international travel, more and more people are expected to revisit the Great White North. Whether you’re looking to explore the Canadian Rockies or experience Toronto’s vibrant city culture, Canada sure has a lot to offer. If you’re looking for tips on traveling to Canada from the U.S., we’ve got you covered! Tips Checklist 1. Check Travel Restrictions and Requirements2. Understand the Valid Passport and Visa Requirements3. Enter With a Green Card4. Plan Your Itinerary and Accommodations5. Plan Transport Within Canada6. Know the Laws for Crossing the Border7. Make Provisions for Health and Safety8. Understand the Currency Changes 1. Check Travel Restrictions and Requirements There were many travel restrictions to Canada from the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, but those have since been lifted and travelers may enter the country without testing or proof of vaccination. It’s always best to stay updated on current restrictions and travel requirements from the U.S. to Canada, as these may change depending on circumstances. As such, visit the Canada International Travel Information site to ensure you’re fully informed before planning your trip. 2. Understand the Valid Passport and Visa Requirements If you’re an American citizen, you only need a valid U.S. passport to travel to Canada from the U.S. You do not need to get a Canadian visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA) —as long as you carry your U.S. passport and meet the following basic requirements (applicable to all tourists) to enter the country: Good healthValid travel documentsNo criminal or immigration-related convictionsProof of your ties back home (family, job, or business)Proof that you will leave the country at the end of your visit, such as a return ticketEnough finances for your stayIn some cases, a letter of invitation from a Canadian resident or a medical exam » Don't have a passport? Here's where to travel without one 3. Enter With a Green Card If you’re traveling to Canada from the U.S. with a green card, you are considered a U.S. citizen and will not need a visa to enter Canada. According to the Canadian Government: Lawful permanent residents of the U.S. (green card holders) do not need an eTA to travel to Canada from the U.S. You only need to present the following documents: A valid passport from your country of nationality or an equivalent travel documentA valid green card or equivalent valid proof of status in the U.S. Take note of the validity of your green card and the maximum amount of time you’re allowed to stay out of the U.S. For example, residents with conditional status will have green cards valid for two years, while those with permanent residency will have cards valid for ten years. In any case, you should renew your green card if it is scheduled to expire within the next six months or during the time you will be out of the country. 4. Plan Your Itinerary and Accommodations Once you’ve sorted out your travel requirements, you can plan your itinerary and accommodations. We recommend booking these in advance, especially if you plan to travel during peak seasons like the holidays. But don't worry, Canada is such a vast country with ample sights and activities to enjoy. You can also visit travel booking sites like Expedia, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor for reliable recommendations for accommodations and travel packages. Lastly, don’t forget to leave some flexible time in your itinerary for offbeat explorations. » Using Booking.com? Here's how to get the best Booking.com deals 5. Plan Transport Within Canada Your modes of transportation will generally depend on the activities you have planned, your budget, and the length of your stay. If you plan to travel between major cities, you’ll likely need to travel by air. For inter-city travel, however, you can depend on Canada’s well-connected public transportation that can take you between towns and cities. You can do as the locals do and take buses, trains, and subways, but renting a car is a good choice to explore remote sights or drive around. And if you’d like to take the scenic route, Canadian cities have no shortage of aesthetic train and ferry rides that will take you through the Rockies or along the coast. Navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze can help you find specific map pins easily, regardless of whether you’re driving or on foot. » Are you a frequent traveler? Read about the best hotel rewards programs 6. Know the Laws for Crossing the Border The Canadian government offers many resources to help travelers cross the border safely and quickly. Here are some general tips: Check border wait times and avoid crossing during peak travel times Estimate duty and taxes on certain purchases (like electronics) in advanceReview the list of prohibited goods to ensure you aren’t purchasing or bringing in items that are considered illegal in the country, like cannabis, without appropriate authorizationRemember to declare any organic products (plants, animals, food, souvenirs) to the border services officerFollow the regulations for pet travel 7. Make Provisions for Health and Safety Making provisions for travel insurance with medical coverage during your trip to Canada will ensure you are covered in any unforeseen events, such as medical emergencies and travel inconveniences like canceled flights and missing baggage. Pharmacies and hospitals are accessible in most areas of Canada. However, remember that the Canadian government does not cover the medical expenses of tourists. You are expected to have health insurance or pay out-of-pocket. » Short on cash? Learn how to get the best online hotel deals 8. Understand the Currency Changes Before traveling, please familiarize yourself with the Canadian Dollar and exchange rate. Exchange your currency at your local bank rather than at the airport or once you arrive in Canada. This will ensure you get a much better currency conversion rate. You can also pay with your credit and debit cards, but inform your bank about your travel plans ahead of time so your card isn’t flagged and suspended for suspicious activity. » Don't want to bring your credit card? Find out if hotels take cash Crossing Borders, Building Memories: Your Journey From US to Canada As with most travels, research and preparation are key. Whether you are traveling to Europe or wish to get the most out of your trip to Canada, don’t forget to be spontaneous and seize the moment, too! By following the tips we’ve outlined above about how to travel to Canada from the U.S., you can step out in confidence and have the best time making memories with new and old friends.
Travel and bookingEurope Travel Checklist: Don't Leave Home Without ItSo you've heard of all the great sights and tourist attractions Europe has to offer and decided to travel there? Great choice! But now things get practical. Below we've created a comprehensive checklist of items to bring and things to consider when you plan a trip to Europe. It's of vital importance that you use a checklist like this one to keep track and ensure you're covering all your bases before you set off on your journey. » Discover how to get the best online hotel deals Quick Check 1. Documents and PaperworkPassport and visa requirementsTravel insuranceHealth documentsEmergency contacts2. Access to Your MoneyCredit/debit cardsCurrency exchanges/ATM access3. Technology EssentialsAdapters and converters for European outletsEssential devices (power banks, laptops, phones)ChargersNavigation and translation apps4. Clothing and AccessoriesClothing for all weather typesComfortable shoes for walking/hikingBags/backpacks5. ToiletriesSoaps and shampoosToothbrush and toothpasteSunscreenMoisturizer 1. Documents and Paperwork First things first, you need to get all the proper documentation required to travel to Europe. Without these, you won't be able to book flight tickets or be allowed into Europe at the border. Passport and Visa Requirements Your passport is the most important document you have, and you should keep it with you at all times. It's a no-brainer that you need one of these to travel to any country outside your own. Visa requirements for entering the Schengen zone (which includes most of Europe) will vary depending on the country your passport was issued in. If you're from Western countries like the USA, the UK, or Canada, you won't need a tourist visa for short stays. See the EU's official list here. I've learned that getting a visa is a lengthy process that requires many documents depending on the specific type of visa you need and what your current status is, so start this process as soon as you can. Travel Insurance A Schengen visa requires you to have sufficient travel insurance, and even if it wasn't required getting insurance is still a good idea to keep you covered in case of any eventuality. Health Documents Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries require proof of vaccination and/or a COVID-19 test before you enter. However, the EU currently imposes no restrictions and doesn't require any proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Emergency Contacts/Important Phone Numbers As with travel insurance, having emergency contacts in place in case of an emergency is a must. Keep a list of your emergency contacts' names, international phone numbers, addresses, and relation to you with your documents. Other Documents There are other documents you might need depending on your specific situation (like an unabridged birth certificate if you're traveling with your child). Be sure to do some research and talk to a travel agent about your trip beforehand. » Using Booking.com? Here's how to get the best Booking.com deals 2. Access to Your Money Part and parcel of travel is spending money, and you'll want to have quick, easy, and inexpensive access to it in the local currency. It's also essential you understand the expected costs, as they can be influenced by many different factors such as region, planned activities, and travel duration—one month in Europe will cost much more than a couple of weeks. Credit/Debit Cards Your credit or debit card is your best friend on trips like these. They usually offer great travel perks, inexpensive currency conversions, and almost universal usage options at card machines in shops, hotels, and restaurants. This is much safer than carrying cash or travelers' cheques (which are being phased out). This has saved me many headaches and stress over carrying cash. Currency Exchanges/ATMs You can use currency exchanges at the airport or in town, but these often come with hefty fees and bad conversion rates. If you need hard cash, withdraw bulk sums at ATMs to save on fees and always use bank ATMs (not "independent" ATMs like Travelex, Euronet, Moneybox, Cashzone, and Cardpoint). » Short on cash? Learn how to travel Europe for less money 3. Technology Essentials Adapters and Converters for European Outlets You need power adapters to fit your chargers and cables to European standards (a flat, two-pole, round-pin plug) and then convert the voltage as necessary (Europe uses 250 volts, while the USA uses 110 volts). After forgetting this once, I now always bring a multiplug with me that can handle many different countries' standards. Essential Devices and Chargers Don't forget to bring your phone and any other devices you may need (such as power banks, laptops, and tablets) as well as all chargers and accessories. Navigation and Translation Apps You're not guaranteed to have an internet connection when you get to Europe, so install navigation and translation apps beforehand and download maps and languages offline just to be safe. » Traveling Europe alone? Here's how to plan your trip 4. Clothing and Accessories Equipment for All Seasons and Activities Europe is home to many different climates, so you'll want to research the weather conditions of where and when you're going to be sure you're packing the right stuff. Cold climates (Scandinavia) These countries are cold even in summer. Be prepared for snow, chilly winds, and cold rains. Layer well and buy good quality jackets and grippy shoes. I've made the mistake of just bringing sneakers before and had a sore bum to prove it!Temperate climates (Central, Western, and Eastern Europe) Most of Europe is more temperate, with cold, snowy winters but warmer summers. You should still pack warmly but have cooler clothes for the summer.Warmer climates (Mediterranean) The Med is usually nice and warm, even during the winter months, so pack lighter, cool clothing. Still, don't forget a jacket or two. Remember to pack any formal wear if you're planning on going to formal events or fancy restaurants. If water activities are involved (especially in the Mediterranean), pack swimsuits as well as hats and sunglasses to protect yourself. If you're going to be doing any activities like skiing, hiking, or cycling, be sure to pack the right clothes for that too. Comfortable Shoes for Walking and Exploring Walking and exploring are part and parcel of traveling and your feet will be going through a lot. Pack comfortable shoes (waterproof, grippy ones if you're heading to snowy places) that can take a beating and still keep your feet comfortably on the ground. Bags/Backpacks It's very important you have good bags and backpacks to store all your possessions in. Have some travel bags and comfortable backpacks for carry-on during the flight and keep your essentials in while you explore. I prefer bringing strong and spacious hiking backpacks even if I won't be actually hiking. » Travel often? Make use of the top hotel rewards programs 5. Toiletries Toiletries are essential since you never know what will be available for purchase in the country you're going to. You'll certainly find the basics, but it's best to bring your own: Soaps and shampoos You're probably going to get dirty, so keep your shower or bath items close by. Soaps, shampoos, conditioners, gels, and more all need to be packed.Toothbrushes and toothpaste Nobody likes stinky breath. Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash if you need it.Sunscreen Even in colder climates, you can burn easily. The sun reflecting off of water and snow can turn you into a red tomato in no time. Always pack sunscreen and remember to apply it.Moisturizer Flying and colder climates tend to agitate and dry your skin. Pack some skincare products like moisturizers to keep your skin soft and fresh.Beauty products and perfumes/deodorants Don't make the mistake I made: remember to only pack travel-sized bottles for your carry-on luggage! Airlines have restrictions on how big the bottles can be, usually 100mL/3.4oz. You can buy travel-sized plastic bottles at some stores and then pour out your soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and more into them. Save Our Checklist for Future Use And your list is done! Good practice is to make a personal packing list, pack well before your trip, and then walk around your house to see if you've missed anything. Print out our handy checklist and add whatever essential items you don't want to forget, and don't forget to make your bookings through CashYo to save extra cash for your European holiday.
Travel and bookingTraveling Europe Alone? Here's How to Plan Your TripWhether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting out, traveling alone in Europe can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also come with some challenges. However, planning for your trip can help make your journey smoother and minimize any risks. While planning your adventure may seem daunting at first, especially if you're a go-with-the-flow type of traveler, the helpful tips below can simplify the process. » Using Booking.com? Here's how to save money through Booking.com Pick Your Destinations Before booking a hotel room or your flight, research your desired destinations. Knowing exactly what you want to visit and what activities you'll undertake can help you pick the best places to stay. When picking your destinations, consider your purpose for the trip—do you want to explore the local culture and history and try out local cuisines, or do some soul-searching and hike a few trails? Once you settle on that, picking a destination that offers what you're after the most will be much easier. Best Places to Solo Travel Europe It's important to prioritize personal safety when traveling alone, especially if you're a female traveler going solo for the first time. Some European places are generally safer than others, so research your destinations thoroughly beforehand. Prague, Czech Republic Prague is a well-known solo travel and backpacker-friendly destination due to its general affordability, ambiance, and large expat community. The city's Bohemian culture gives it a laid-back vibe, while the historical spots offer a rich cultural experience solo travelers can enjoy.Budapest, Hungary Known as the "spa capital of the world," Budapest offers an excellent spot for solo travelers looking to unwind and drink at local bars, visit bathhouses, and mingle with friendly locals.Amsterdam, Netherlands Amsterdam is the perfect destination for those looking to party. Known for its vibrant nightlife, Amsterdam has a lot to offer, from museums to scenic attractions. The city also has an excellent biking infrastructure and public transport system, so getting around on your own is super convenient. » See our top places to travel without a passport Safest European Countries for Solo Female Travelers According to a report by the luggage brand Kipling, some of the top European destinations for solo female travelers based on activity offerings, transportation options, popular attractions, equality, and safety include: Germany Hamburg and Munich were hailed as the top two destinations for solo female travelers. Apart from Munich being the eighth safest city in the world, both cities offer great culture and entertainment options for solo female travelers to enjoy with peace of mind.Scotland With reports of street harassment and theft being rare, Edinburgh is known as a great city for women and LGBT+ solo travelers in particular. Plus, it boasts rich history and cultural scene, and solo travelers can enjoy picturesque cobbled streets, buildings, gardens, coffee shops, and thrift stores.Ireland Ranked the tenth safest country in the world, Ireland is incredibly welcoming and inclusive, so female travelers should feel safe while exploring it solo. Dublin, in particular, is home to literary greats (like Oscar Wilde and James Joyce) and the legendary Guinness, guaranteeing an experience rich in history, good beer, and great food. Plan Your Stays and Book Accommodation Having chosen your perfect travel destination, the next step is to find accommodations suitable for solo travelers. The best accommodation type for your trip will depend on your needs, budget, and preference. Other than the usual options like hotels and hostels, alternative accommodations like Airbnb offers a unique and homey experience but might require more advanced planning. Some other alternatives include eco-lodges, homestays, and farm stays that will allow you to immerse yourself in local culture better. » Looking for a cheaper stay? Here's how to get the best online hotel deals Plan Travel Options To ensure the best experience while exploring Europe as a solo traveler, consider using available train services or budget airline options when planning your transportation needs. Book travel options well before your trip and make an itinerary to maximize your time and avoid last-minute stress. Stay Safe While Traveling Europe Having fun doesn't mean foregoing safety, so take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Make sure to take the following precautions when traveling alone: Always let someone know about your travel plansCarry an up-to-date map and make sure you have a reliable source of communicationAvoid walking alone or at night in unfamiliar or isolated areasResearch public transportation schedules Make the Most of Your Solo Europe Trip Traveling not only helps you experience new things but also builds lasting relationships, so traveling alone doesn't mean you'd be lonely or scared. In fact, there are many ways for solo travelers to meet friends, such as joining local tours, attending social events hosted by hostels or cafes, or even taking language classes. When traveling through Europe alone, planning your trip beforehand will ensure a safer and more organized experience so you can focus on exploring your destination, meeting locals, and making new memories. » Earn cashback on your flights and accommodation through CashYo
Travel and booking5 Best Hotel Rewards Programs for Frequent TravelersTraveling is expensive, and when you do so often, every penny you save can make a difference. Luckily, there are various loyalty and cashback programs that allow frequent travelers to save money by rewarding them for doing precisely what they love—traveling. If you find yourself constantly choosing flights and booking hotels, these loyalty programs may be worth it to make the most out of your travel budget. » Looking for cheaper stays? Here's how to get the best online hotel deals A Quick Look at Our Top 5 Booking.com's Genius Program: Best for price discountsHotels.com's Rewards Program: Best for free night staysAgoda's PointsMAX Program: Best for multiple rewards programOrbitz's Rewards Program: Best for cashback-style rewardsExpedia's Rewards Program: Best for simplicity 1. Booking.com's Genius Program Best for: Price discounts Booking.com is one of the largest online travel agencies that allow you to book flights, accommodations, vehicles, and other travel arrangements. ProsFree to sign upFirst-tier rewards applied on signupWide variety of hotel and travel optionsUp to 20% discount on staysFree breakfast, late checkouts, and room upgradesConsNot all hotels on the platform participate in the programThe Genius program doesn't offer rewards points that can be used at a later stage How It Works The Booking.com Genius program is a unique rewards program that offers travelers discounts on stays with participating hotels through 3 levels of loyalty. Genius level 1 is achieved simply by signing up. On the other hand, you can achieve Genius levels 2 and 3 when you complete 5 (tier 2) or 15 (tier 3) stays in two years. The rewards each tier offers include: Genius Level 1Genius level 2Genius level 3Booking discount10%10%–15%10%–20%Eligible for free breakfast NoYesYesEligible for free room upgradesNoYesYesDedicated booking supportNoNoYes » Get cashback from Booking.com 2. Hotels.com's Rewards Program Best for: Free night stays Hotels.com is a popular online travel agency that offers you a simple, one-stop location for all your hotel reservations, flights, and unique loyalty rewards. ProsA double rewards system offers additional benefitsFree to sign upIncludes cashback, price match guaranteeSecret prices available to membersConsProgram rewards are valued for only 12 monthsFree night stay is valued at the average of your staysDeals are subject to availability, which could limit your reward use How It Works Hotels.com has a rewards program that offers you a free stay for every 10 completed stays and a tiered rewards system you can use to get more rewards the more you use the platform. You earn one point for every completed stay, which is known as a "stamp." For every 10 stamps, you're rewarded with a free night's stay to the average value of your previous 10 stays. Additionally, you're offered the following rewards as your stamps increase: Rewards (0–9 stamps): Instant savings on stays and rewards nightsRewards Silver (10–29 stamps): All of the above, free breakfast, Wi-Fi, spa vouchers, priority customer service, and price match featuresRewards Gold (30+ stamps): All of the above, free room upgrades, and early check-in and late checkout » Earn Hotels.com cashback 3. Agoda's PointsMAX Program Best for: Multiple rewards options Agoda is an online space comparable to platforms like Priceline where travelers can book global flights and stays online in multiple languages and currencies. ProsVariety of rewards platforms to earn fromNo additional membership feesEasy to useConsRewards expire at different times depending on the programThe redemption process is external to Agoda and may be complicatedPointsMAX rate isn't always the cheapest option on Agoda How It Works Instead of its own rewards system, Agoda offers rewards programs offered by external parties. When using the PointsMAX rate, you can select your preferred rewards program and have it redeemed upon completing your stay. Different programs offer different rewards, so it's important to take note of the specific program's details. As it stands, Agoda.com is partnered with the following rewards programs: » Save money while traveling with Agoda cashback 4. Orbitz's Rewards Program Best for: Cashback-style rewards Orbitz is an online travel agency for booking all your travel essentials, including flights, hotel stays, vehicles, cruises, and activities. ProsEarning rewards for every booking you make through OrbitzNo restrictions on when and where you can use your rewardsAdditional rewards above cashback for more loyal customersConsRewards expire after 12 months of no booking activityLess variety of stays than on other platformsSometimes more expensive to compensate for the rewards program How It Works Orbitz's rewards program works as a simple cashback-style reward, where you're credited with virtual money known as Orbucks. Each Orbuck is worth $1 and can be redeemed when making future bookings. The percentage of Orbucks you earn is directly related to the cost of your booking and whether you booked online or through the mobile app. Rewards are as follows: Additionally, the more stays you book and complete, the more rewards you're offered through a 3-tier loyalty program. The additional benefits include: Silver – Achieved upon signing upGold – 4 stays per yearPlatinum – 12 stays per yearMember-only pricesYesYesYesEarn OrbucksYesYesYesDedicated customer serviceYesYesYesFree WiFi, breakfast, and more at participating propertiesNoYesYesUp to $50 back on seat selection or baggage feesNoNoYesFreeTSA Pre✔® applicationNoNoYesFree room upgrades and early check-inNoNoYes » Benefit from Orbitz cashback 5. Expedia's Rewards Program Best for: Simplicity Expedia is a website that helps you book flights, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, and activities, with access to a wide selection of options at leading competitive prices. ProsPoints are earned for every bookingMember tiers allow for additional earningMembers have access to exclusive deals and hotel optionsConsPoint value changes depending on how it's redeemedTier requirements can be high for some and don't offer a wide range of perks How It Works Expedia makes use of a traditional points system, granting points for every dollar you spend on the platform. Once you collect enough points, you're able to redeem them for discount vouchers, which can be used for future stays and flights. Alternatively, points can be used directly at checkout with no minimum requirement. Additionally, you'll receive one trip element for each completed stay, flight, cruise, or rental. Trip elements are accumulated to earn additional rewards and perks as follows: Blue (Activates Immediately): Up to 10% discount on participating hotels, earn 1 point for every $1 you spend on eligible bookings, and double points when you book through the mobile appSilver (10 Trip Elements): All of Blue perks, plus 2 points per $1 spent, free breakfasts and spa credits where applicable, and access to VIP Access propertiesGold (25 Trip Elements): All of Silver and Blue perks, plus 3 points for every $1 you spend, as well as free room upgrades and late check-outs » Boost your savings with cashback from Expedia Reap the Rewards of Frequent Travel As a frequent traveler, it's a no-brainer to take advantage of loyalty programs and accumulate rewards for cheaper future trips. What's more, combining these rewards with cashback sites like CashYo will open up a world of great deals and savings, so choose your program and start earning simply by traveling. » See our top tips for getting the best hotel deals
Travel and bookingTravel Europe for Less: 5 Tips for Affordable HolidaysWe've all been there: wanting to plan a trip to see new places, but stopping short because of the high costs involved, like transport and accommodation. While traveling can be expensive, especially to first-world places like Europe, you can pull it off and save some cash while you're at it with these five tips for affordable holidays. » Traveling Europe alone? Here's how to plan your trip 1. Plan Your Holiday Around Cheaper Locations Europe is known for its rich cultural history and modern advancements, and the lifestyle perks it offers make the cost of living high in many European places. However, while many travelers can find this off-putting, there are still some European countries with much cheaper costs, especially if you live in a wealthy region like the US. Best European Budget Vacation Spots While there are many cheaper destinations in Europe, here are some great tourist spots that are generally more budget-friendly than the rest and offer great value for money: Czech Republic Those looking for quaint scenes are bound to be wowed by this country's Romanesque, gothic, renaissance, baroque, and classicist architecture styles enduring side by side. The nation also boasts many UNESCO world heritage sites and welcoming locals, in addition to inexpensive food and drink options.Estonia If you're looking for something more Baltic, Estonia may be the ideal spot with affordable accommodation choices. The country has been rising to prominence in the past few decades with its technologically advanced economy (a haven for digital nomads) and breathtaking national parks among its 15th-century towns.Croatia For the warm-blooded Mediterranean types, Croatia won't disappoint. A popular stop-off for cruise ships, the country can be expensive unless you avoid the crowds and stick to exploring the magnificent coastal towns on foot. 2. Search for Hotel Deals Once you've chosen your location, the next step is to book a place to stay. Mainstream hotels may offer luxury with a price tag to match, but you can still get by on a budget by looking for hotel deals. A great place to start is by comparing booking websites like Hotels.com and Booking.com. Both offer price-beat policies and will let you sign up for their newsletters to stay on top of great deals for your destination. If you want to get the cheapest hotel prices possible, consider going off-season or staying a little outside of the city and relying on public transport, which is generally safe and cheap around Europe. » Here's how to get the best online hotel deals 3. Pick Cheaper Travel Options Flights can easily become the biggest cost of your trip, but you can pay less if you fly with budget European airlines like Wizz Air, Ryanair, and Eurowings. Once you've got your feet firmly on the ground, opt for public transport like buses and trains. These options may be less fast and convenient than flying, but they're often significantly cheaper, usually offer season passes with heavy discounts, and are great for taking in the scenery while traveling. To save on transport around a city or town, use online cab services like Uber or Bolt instead of renting a car. » Need a platform to simplify travel planning? See our comparison of Agoda and Priceline 4. Avoid Tourist Traps To avoid falling into traps designed to profit off of unsuspecting tourists, research the location you want to visit first before booking the trip. Many government-run heritage locations such as cathedrals and castles offer free tours, so don't fork out money for the first "tour guide" who approaches you. You'll also always find hawkers outside popular places trying to sell you souvenirs, which you can purchase for much cheaper in legitimate stores in town. What's more, remember that touristy restaurants are often overpriced with lower quality, so try searching for the places locals go to instead to get local food at the best prices. 5. Stay Longer or Centrally If you have the time, plan for a longer stay. This way, you can find many hidden gems since you won't be in a rush, and you'll pay cheaper per day for accommodation during longer stays. If you can't stay longer, try to stay at least stay at a central location and do day trips to other places you want to visit instead of booking accommodation in each place. Travel Europe Without Breaking the Bank You can enjoy the perks of travel without spending too much money by putting in some effort to make your holiday more affordable. While traveling Europe can come with a hefty price, you can still plan an enjoyable European journey at a reduced price by using our top tips and getting great deals online. » Here's how to save money with Booking.com cashback and Hotels.com cashback
Travel and bookingHow to Get the Best Online Hotel Deals: 7 Tips for Cheaper StaysGoing on holiday is an expensive proposition. There are many things to sort out: from flight tickets, shopping, and fancy dinners to suitable accommodation. But finding a hotel online doesn’t always have to put a massive dent in your wallet. There are many ways to save some money with a combination of research, cross-referencing, and understanding a good deal when you see one. 1. Check Multiple Sites Booking sites are a great resource for finding hotel rooms, and prices can vary immensely depending on the time of day or the website you land on. Websites usually track your activity and identify that you’re planning to book a hotel room, then often alter the prices depending on your urgency. For this reason, conducting a ton of research before you make the final booking is essential. Check several websites and compare prices. Sometimes, the best deals are available on hotel websites themselves, so it’s worth giving that a check. 2. Consider Other Forms of Accommodation At the end of the day, a hotel room will always be expensive, but there are many other forms of accommodation that can measure up to your standards and offer the same level of amenities at much more affordable rates. Cheaper options include B&Bs, apartments, guest houses, dorms, cabin rooms, and even glamping tents. For example, Hotels.com offers hotels as well as B&Bs, apartments, guest houses, dorms, cabin rooms, and even glamping tents, all at great rates with the added bonus of feeling like a local. » Earn up to 4% cashback from Hotels.com 3. Use 3rd-Party Services Some websites offer you additional discounts when you use their services. For example, browsing your favorite travel and booking platform through CashYo can offer you great deals and money returned to you at no extra cost. Other websites and services like Survey Yeah, Survey Junkie, and Groupon even offer vouchers when you complete specific tasks, such as surveys, or based on your previous purchase history. » Learn more: Earning cashback from Hotels.com and Booking.com 4. Be Flexible With the Location Some hotels may offer the most basic facilities despite costing upwards of hundreds of dollars a night, the only difference being a prime location. When looking for the best deal on a hotel room, especially when trying to save money, consider broadening your radius. It’s possible to save money by finding a cheaper spot further away from the main city center. Depending on how connected the city you’re traveling to is and the public transport options, this can be an extremely effective way of saving money. 5. Sign Up for Hotel Loyalty Programs If you’re a frequent traveler and often stay in hotel rooms, it may be worth checking out if a particular chain has a loyalty program you could sign up for. This could be a great way to get discounts in the future, especially if you travel frequently. Some booking websites, such as Booking.com, also offer loyalty programs for repeat bookings. Loyalty programs can offer discounts that reach as high as 20%, often meaning the difference between you booking your ideal room or getting stuck with something below your standards. » Earn up to 4% cashback from Booking.com 6. Book Longer Stays If you have the luxury to extend your holiday or travel period, it may actually work out cheaper to book more nights in a single hotel room. Some hotels recognize that a longer stay eliminates the need to constantly clean the rooms, and may offer discounts on the overall price. It also guarantees the hotel that they will have a confirmed booking, especially in the off-season. » See our comparison of Agoda and Priceline 7. Check in at the End of the Day If you’re traveling during the day and only plan to check into a hotel by evening, it may make sense to hold off on the booking until you’re ready to check in. Once hotels have a good idea of the number of free rooms they have for the night, and provided they aren’t booked out, they may be willing to slash prices for you or upgrade you to a better room. For the hotel, it makes business sense while giving you a chance to get a good deal out of it. Don't Overpay for Your Hotel Stay Finding the best online hotel deals can be daunting, but with these seven tips, you can significantly reduce the cost of your next hotel stay. Use price comparison websites, sign up for loyalty programs, and consider booking directly with the hotel, helping you make the most of your trip and have more money to spend on what you want.
International shoppingAgoda vs. Priceline: Features, Prices, and Best Choice for 2023One of the best ways to streamline travel planning (and save money) is by using a travel website to find good deals for flights, lodging, and activities. Travel sites like Agoda and Priceline offer competitive prices and a range of features, helping you find the best value for your budget. In this article, we will compare the features and prices of Agoda vs. Priceline for 2023 and recommend which site is the best choice for your travel needs. Agoda Vs. Priceline: A Summary Both Agoda and Priceline are great travel websites for finding flights and hotels. Depending on your destination and budget, you can also book rental cars, cruises, and tourist activities on both platforms. Agoda and Priceline are sister companies, with Priceline acquiring Agoda in 2007. However, their features remain distinct, and they continue to offer specialized deals and promotions for travelers of different budgets. » Unsure about these platforms? Consider Booking.com and Hotels.com instead Agoda: Key Features and Pros & Cons ProsAvailable in 38 languagesOver 2 million available propertiesAvailability in 200+ countriesSuits many budget rangesVIP discounts and deals for membersBuilt-in loyalty programLower fees compared to other similar platformsAccepts PayPal and all major credit cardsConsDifficult to get refundsThe cancelation process can be tediousHigher taxes in certain citiesSome users report bugs on the Android and iOS apps Agoda is well-known in Asia and continues to be a leading online hotel reservation service in the region. The website is trusted by many travelers looking for a wide range of flight options and accommodations to suit every budget, from luxury villas and hotels to budget hotels, apartments, and homes for rent. Its services remain focused on offering the lowest available hotel prices, and its hotel network includes more than 40,000 properties. Pricing and Fees Regarding pricing and fees, Agoda offers many coupons and insider deals to help travelers save money, such as 15% off during special occasions (holidays, summer, Valentine's, etc.). Agoda also has a VIP membership package that interested customers can sign up for, with the following benefits: Up to 25% VIP discountAgoda's Best Price Guarantee on bookingsExclusive perks on select propertiesAccess to insider deals and VIP discountsEarn and redeem AgodaCash, the platform's loyalty rewards program Agoda also accepts payments via PayPal and all major credit cards, including Master Card, AMEX, Visa, JCB, and Carte Bleue. Payment information is also securely saved on the user's account for easier checkouts in the future. However, an additional 10% to 25% for taxes and service charges may be added to the total booking cost, so keep that in mind when budgeting for your trip. Customer Service Agoda offers customer support in multiple languages, with a customer support team available via phone, email, and chat. Agoda's dedicated customer support team is trained to assist guests in finding the best deals and offer help in changing or canceling bookings. » Get up to 4% cashback from Agoda Priceline: Key Features and Pros & Cons ProsGreat deals when using the appGreat deals for free VIP membersOver 600,000 available propertiesGreat customer service availability (24/7)ConsNot as many payment optionsStrict and unsupportive refund/cancelation policiesUnintuitive app that doesn't match the website info Priceline was founded in 1997 and has since provided travelers with access to deals for hotel rooms, airline tickets, cruises, and vacation packages. Priceline has access to over 600,000 properties across various locations and offers customers affordable accommodations via their Best Price Guarantee. Pricing and Fees Priceline's multi-tiered VIP membership program offers members additional ways to save and score good deals. The first tier grants VIP status upon sign-up and offers benefits such as: Priceline's Best Price GuaranteeHotel savings of up to 10%VIP rental car discount of up to 10%Add-on deals of up to 50% off on hotels and 20% on cars for add-ons to existing trips5% extra deals coupons Members advance in tier after completing a certain number of trips, with savings and deals increasing as they go up each level: VIP Blue: 2 completed tripsVIP Gold: 5 completed tripsVIP Platinum: 25 completed trips Priceline accepts payments via Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, and Discover. Customer Service Priceline's VIP Gold and VIP Platinum members enjoy Priority and First Priority status on all customer service concerns. Priceline's customer support team is available via chat, SMS, call, or WhatsApp to assist customers with reservation concerns, cancelations, booking inquiries, and more. » Don't overpay for your stay: our tips for cheaper hotel bookings Final Verdict: Which Is Best? While both websites offer customers a wide variety of deals for international travel needs, Agoda offers a smoother customer experience with its modern and responsive desktop, tablet, and mobile sites, allowing for quick and powerful searches every time. One of the cons that most users identify with Priceline is that its website and app are not user-friendly, with users needing to go through many steps and filter quite a bit of information before getting the deals they need. With that in mind, it's clear that the winner is Agoda due to its extensive list of pros that far outweigh its cons and even the pros of Priceline.
Travel and bookingHow to Earn Cashback and Save Money on Your Hotels.com BookingsBooking a hotel stay is often a stressful experience, especially if it's your first time. Staying at a hotel can also be expensive, which is why we'll be showing you how to save money and earn cashback when you book through popular travel website Hotels.com. Subscribe to the Hotels.com Loyalty Program Hotels.com itself offers a unique loyalty program with several great perks such as price discounts, free extras, and reward nights. Membership is free and doesn't come with any extra fees since tiers work similarly to their reward nights program that gives you one stamp per night for a free reward after ten nights. The three Hotels.com membership tiers offer the following compound benefits: » Hotels.com not for you? Check out our comparison of Priceline and Agoda Hotels.com Rewards (0 to 9 stamps) Instant savings with lower prices on eligible propertiesAccess to reward nights—the value is determined by the average value of the stamps you collected Hotels.com Rewards Silver (10 to 29 stamps) Free breakfast, Wi-Fi, spa vouchers, and more at VIP Access propertiesPrice Guarantee Plus matches a better price and refunds the difference if you find one for the same booking you made (until the point of your check-in time), even if that cheaper price is on Hotels.com at a later datePriority customer service lets you skip the queue and receive quicker assistance Hotels.com Rewards Gold (30+ stamps) Complimentary room upgrades at VIP Access properties (subject to availability)Early check-in and late check-out at VIP Access properties (when available)Free upgrade to Avis Preferred Plus membership for a year, giving you boosts for certain rental vehicles You can help boost your stamp count by booking stays for family and friends through your Hotels.com account. Note that stamps are only valid for a year. Make Use of 3rd-Party Cashback Services Cashback services are one of the hidden gems of saving money when booking stays online. With Hotels.com, you can get all the above benefits and extra real cash deposited into your account when you use a cashback service. Booking with Hotels.com through CashYo is a surefire way to find the best deals with an added bonus for all bookings. » Earn up to 4% cashback from Hotels.com Look for Great Discounts and Last-Minute Deals Another perk of Hotels.com is that they often run special offers, discounts, and last-minute deals to entice you into making a reservation. Since last-minute deals are, well, last-minute, it's usually not wise to wait until then to make your bookings with the assumption that you might get a cheaper price. What you can do is book your stay and then check regularly to see if there have been any discounts or deals and then price match them with your booking. Either way, you save! The off-season is also a time when hotels are desperate for customers, so if you can plan your trip around these periods then you're sure to get good prices and special offers. If you don't want to check the Hotels.com website constantly, just sign up and opt-in to receive their newsletters and emails. You'll then be notified of any special deals. Download the Hotels.com Mobile App You can check prices while on the go and take advantage of exclusive mobile discounts when you download the Hotels.com mobile app. Few people are aware that many hotels on Hotels.com provide a 10% mobile-only discount. Also, having the app handy wherever you go will provide you access to last-minute discounts, mobile specials, and a convenient support team ready to assist you should you have any concerns about your reservation or any of the Hotels.com services. » Didn't find what you're looking for? Try out Booking.com instead Don't Lose Out on Hotels.com Savings Travel no longer needs to be an overly expensive experience. If you use our tips above with Hotels.com and always shop through CashYo, you can save a lot on your trip and even get cash back while you sunbathe on the beach or dine in style.