Traveling can get expensive fast. From the flights to the hotels, ground transportation, food, souvenirs to unforeseen emergencies, even the thriftiest traveler can find themselves running out of funds quick. I’d like to consider myself a frugal traveler but with my vices for food (I have to order, try and photograph everything!) and souvenir shopping, (you gotta bring home memories right?) I learned early on to research and plan plan plan in the saving sphere so as not to end up belly up in another country. Leading finance website Kiplinger has tracked down some industry insiders and compiled a list of 26 Secret’s to Save on Travel.
Here are 7 that I’ve found most helpful!
1. Fly when no one else wants to.
In general, plan to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday afternoon to bag a cheaper plane ticket. If you’re taking a week-long domestic trip, depart on a Saturday and return on a Monday and you’ll score a 16% discount on your airfare, according to Kayak.com, the travel Web site. For week-long international trips, departing on Tuesday and returning on Wednesday of the following week saves 21%, on average (early mornings and late nights are also usually cheaper).
2. Make sure you’re buying at the right time with Bing Travel‘s “price predictor.”
Just enter your itinerary, and the site will return a list of fares with a recommendation to either buy now — because it expects the fare to rise — or wait for a soon-to-come fare drop. And note that domestic airfares are cheapest seven weeks before departure, according to CheapAir, an airfare booking site.
3. Visit the concierge.
You’ll get the inside scoop on discount theater tickets, two-for-one restaurant deals and other entertainment. Or get help before you check in. Travelocity offers free concierge service if you book vacation packages through its site. Expedia offers “Local Experts” to give advice on popular vacation destinations. And Room 77, a hotel aggregator start-up, offers concierge service to help you locate the right room at three- to five-star hotels.
4. Use your frequent-flier miles.
You can book bundles directly through air carriers, such as American Airlines and Delta, and use frequent-flier miles to pay. Even AAA offers its own member-exclusive travel packages. Or check out packages on daily deal sites at Groupon and LivingSocial. Their offerings range from weekend trips to guided tours.
5. Price it a la carte.
To see if a package makes sense, research prices for all of the elements before you commit. For example, a cruise package typically charges per person for hotel rooms at the port of departure. See whether you would save by reserving a double-occupancy room outside of the package. If you can, consider dumping the package or opting out of the hotel portion.
6. Be flexible about where you go.
You can use Kayak’s Explore tool to pinpoint on a world map all the destinations you can visit within your airfare budget.
7. Get a deal on extras.
Several airlines have introduced new ways of bundling fees. For example, Delta’s $21 “Ascend” package includes in-flight Wi-Fi and priority boarding. American Airlines’ $68 “Choice Essential” package includes a checked bag, a reservation change and Group 1 boarding. Some bundles are more valuable than others. American’s package is a deal if you suspect that your itinerary might change. Delta’s is more about saving a few bucks.
Read more tips at Kiplinger.com!
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