With people beginning to travel again, here are some travel tips to save you money in the coming year.
We won’t talk about frequent flier miles or signing up for credit cards to rack up the miles because there are several sites that go in-depth regarding how to do it.
- Sign up for airfare alerts. Most airlines and travel sites allow you to sign up and get email alerts so you can take advantage of sales when they come along. You have to be quick because they don’t last long and they get sold out fast plus most have restrictions as far as changing dates or refunds so check them out closely before booking.
- Book early. Book your flights early and check several online sites. Internet booking sites often offer internet only fares. Look for tickets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays late at night for the best fares.
- Travel during off peak. Travel during unpopular times or to destinations during off season. Traveling a week or two out of season will mean less crowds and all the sites you want to see will still be there.
- Book an alternate airport. Sometimes booking a flight into a smaller airport or a nearby city will save money.
- Check several online sites. Not all sites are equal, checking several online booking sites can sometimes yield savings.
- Go local. Get off the big booking sites and do a Google or Bing search for “Hotels in _____” or “Rooms in __________”. Not every hotel utilizes the big sites, some use smaller regional sites or in some cases no sites at all.
- Book directly. Once you have searched and found the best deal, call the Hotel directly, ask if there are any specials. Ask about discounts. If you are a member of AAA or a student, senior or a member of a buying club, association or organization. Many Hotels also offer government rates for active or retired military and government employees. Some also offer company specific rates. Ask, it doesn’t hurt and might save you money.
- Haggle. Tell the hotel what rate you found online and see if they can beat it, it saves them paying the booking company fees. Just ask, “Is that you’re best rate or can you do better?” Hotels want to sell their rooms, empty rooms don’t make money.
- Ditch the Hotel. Consider staying at a Hostel or other accommodation. Not all Hostels are dorm rooms with bunk beds. Some offer private rooms and you will get the chance to meet other travelers and make new friends. Home exchanges, Volunteer work for room and board, House sitting and other options are available and in some locations becoming more popular than ever. One of my favorites is Apartment or Condo rental. In many locations you can rent a Studio or One Bedroom Apartment or Condo for less than a Hotel room. Do a search online for various options and chances are you might find a great deal on a Bed and Breakfast or Vacation Rental that you would have never found by looking on the big booking sites.
- Check Prices just before you arrive. A day or two before you arrive at wherever you are staying make a call to the location and check prices to see if there might have been a price drop. If so ask for the new, lower price.
- Get the freebies. Book a place that has free Wi-Fi, free parking, free local calls and other amenities.
At your Destination
- Use a Debit Card. Instead of carrying cash use a Debit card to withdraw from ATM’s. Do a search online for the best place to get cash at the best exchange rates. Use a debit card that has no or very low international transaction fees.
- Eat Local. Stay away from the hotel restaurants and instead eat where the local populace eats. Hotel restaurants are usually overpriced and the local café probably has better food anyway. Ask the hotel staff where to find a good place to eat. Stop by a bakery and get a fresh pastry and some coffee. If staying at a Hostel or Vacation rental then cook your own food. Eat at that great restaurant during lunch instead of dinner when prices are lower.
Many large cities offer coupons to the attractions. Whether it is a tourist attraction, food or something else, check for discount coupons. Do a search for discount coupons in the destination you are headed to and see if they have a coupon book or internet site where discounts are listed. A 4 day adult ticket Paris pass costs about 140 Euros but also gets you free entry to over 60 attractions and other benefits. Other cities offer passes as well. Do a search and find the deals. Another option is City Pass, you can save up to 50% on combined prices for admission to must-see attractions.
Discounts, deals and freebies can be had when traveling but like anything else it takes a little time and research to find the best deals. A few hours spent in advance can give you substantial savings and after all the more you save the more trips you can take.
What are some tips or techniques you use to save money while traveling?