First, a confession: When I started using Twitter, I thought I’d hate it. 140 characters just doesn’t seem like enough to say anything really interesting.
Fast forward twelve months, and I’m really enjoying the little blue bird. Not only is Twitter a fun and accessible way to chat, but Twitter’s also a great way to save money.
And I’m not alone: Twitter, the social media website that allows you to follow both company and personal feeds, has over 500 million accounts, and savvy travel companies everywhere use Twitter to promote their products.
Here’s our quick guide on how to save money on travel using Twitter.
Follow companies in your feed
Start with the companies that you use already. Sign up to follow the Twitter feed of hotels, airlines and tour companies that you plan to use for upcoming trips. Their tweets will show up on your stream in your homepage.
Here are a few great travel companies to follow on Twitter to get you started:
- @Groupon. Most famous for their rock-bottom discounts by email, Groupon is also active on Twitter, where you can sign up for the Groupon feed for places you’re planning on travelling – you might find some great deals.
- @airfarewatchdog Great airfare discounts from all airlines, but with a heavy bias on domestic American fares. By TripAdvisor.
- @JetBlueCheeps Great last minute deals posted every Tuesday by American discount airline JetBlue.
- @AirAsia With over 600,000 followers, Air Asia is great at posting promos.
- @VirginAmerica Another social media-savvy airline, Virgin America is prompt with announcements of delays and discounts.
- @AirCanada Among Canadians, Air Canada has a reputation for surly service, but their Twitter feed is exactly the opposite: It’s helpful, current and friendly.
- @TravelDeals Cheap airfare, accommodation, tours and travel news.
Tip: Tuesday afternoons are a great time to check your Twitter feed, as many airlines post specials then.
Hashtags are just simple words or phrases that begin with the # symbol. Hashtags were created by Twitter users to make it easier to search for topics and follow Twitter conversations.
Here are a few great travel hashtags to follow:
- #travel General travel-related hashtag
- #rtw Anything realated to round the world travel
- #rtwsoon Similar to rtw, this is geared for travelers preparing for a round the world trip
- #TravelTuesday This hashtag is used by almost everyone in the travel industry to share travel related news on (you guessed it) Tuesdays
- #LP Writers use this hashtag to attract the attention of Lonely Planet. It’s a treasure trove of interesting articles if you have a bit of time to spare.
Tip: New to Twitter? Check out Mashable’s excellent guide to getting started with Twitter.
Ask for help
Twitter is a social platform, and it’s a great source for reaching out if you have questions. Don’t be shy about contacting airlines and hotels directly if you have any questions.
While contacting companies is useful, the real power of Twitter is in reaching out to other travelers. If you have a question about where to find the best chocolate churros in Madrid, or what the best rides are for a two year old in Disneyland, Twitter’s a great place to reach out.
To get the best responses, just send out a tweet with your question, and be sure to include hashtags related to your question. The #travel hashtag is a great place to start, and most hashtags are pretty self explanatory, e.g., #mexico and #LAX (for Los Angeles’ airport).
Tip: To manage the companies you follow, create lists, which is just a simple way to group Twitter accounts you follow. Lists are a great way to organize all the accounts you follow for a specific trip, or to group airlines or hotels.
Jump into a Twitter Travel Chat with the Experts
Many professional travel bloggers and companies host travel chats on Twitter throughout the week. This is a great place to hook up with some travel experts and ask away.
Here are a few popular chats:
- #TTOT For a general travel chat check out Travel Talk On Twitter on Tuesday at 9:30 am and 9:30 pm GMT. The #TTOT hashtag may have been originally used only for this chat, but I’ve seen it used for any travel related info.
- #NUTS The name of this fun travel chat says it all. Tuesdays at 3:30 pm EST.
- #TNI Travelers Night In is a wealth of travel information Thursdays at 3:30 pm EST.
- #TourismChat is another helpful general travel chat every second Thursday at 3 pm EST.
- #CruiseChat Interested in Cruising? Check out Cruise Chat.
- #LuxChat Like a little luxury when you travel? Check out Luxury Travel Chat on the third Wednesday of every month at 5:30 pm EST.
- #TTOM Is family travel your thing? Check out Traveling Moms Monday from 9-10 pm EST.
- #italychat Headed to Italy? Check out Italy Chat at 3 pm on Wednesdays.
Use Twitter to Resolve Problems
If you have a bad experience with an airline or hotel, don’t be afraid to reach out to them on Twitter. Many companies have someone following their Twitter feed for any mentions, and social media savvy companies will often give you a quick reply.
Do you have any tips for getting great travel deals on Twitter? Let us know!
Follow us on Twitter @BarefootNomads for more travel inspiration and deals!