How to Use Twitter to Save Money on Travel

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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.

Art by AussieCry

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.

Follow hashtags

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.

You can follow hashtags by manually typing them in each time in the Twitter search box, or setting up a service like the excellent HootSuite to automatically follow multiple hashtags for you.

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.
Twitter Egg and Bird

Art by Nishad2m8

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!


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18 Responses

  1. Kenin Bassart

    This is good stuff! I thought I would hate Twitter as well, but it’s turnes d out to be one of my favorite social media outlets. We’ve connected with a couple of our favorite companies as well and reaped some benefits. Way to put it all together in one post for us 🙂

    Reply
  2. Michaela

    Great tips – especially about using Twitter to problem solve. Twitter also improves your writing skills. It forces you to erase the fluff and pack the most into your 140 character limit. The better you’re able to express your ideas, the more marketable you will be.

    Reply
  3. The Guy

    Some great tips here. I’m still learning after being on twitter for over a year. You’ve helped me with some great new ideas here, thanks.

    Reply
  4. Susan FitzGerald

    I couldn’t agree more- twitter is useful and fun! I’ve met fantastic people and found hidden places through using it. It takes a little time to get the hang of it, but it will repay the time spent in spades!

    Reply
  5. Si

    How did people travel before twitter? Haha, I use it that much for advice and to find interesting articles about what to see! And I even use it to connect with fellow travel bloggers in real life, for a beer or two while we trade travel stories. Great article.

    Reply
  6. Heidi Wagoner

    Thanks! This is just what I needed. I have only been using twitter for a couple of months and still trying to get the hang of it. Our blog and FB page were easy and I still need to use twitter more. This will be helpful and there is a #TTOT chat in on hour, so good timing! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  7. Steve

    Great tips for using Twitter more. I’ve also used Twitter to get restaurant recommendations from locals, to avoid wasting money on bad meals.

    Reply
  8. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    I’m doing a master’s in PR and we were told that, because of public image, many companies try and solve problems via twitter and whatsapp, a free messaging service. Amazing how fast they spring on those! Awesome tips!

    Reply
  9. Emily

    Thanks for all this great information! I was especially excited to see the list of twitter travel chat hashtags – I had been searching for a list of those not two days ago and couldn’t find it anywhere! Thanks! 🙂

    Reply
  10. Jaryd

    Wow these are all great tips, I never knew about those twitter chats. I too never liked twitter but it has started to grow on me and can be quite resourceful especially for travel. Cheers

    Reply

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