Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Travel on a budget

Even if you’re counting pennies when you travel, you don’t have to pack a tent or sleep on a park bench (most of us would just stay home!). With a little research and planning prior to leaving, you can shave many dollars of the cost of a trip. Yes, it takes some time, but the pay-off is well worth it. Try these tips:

  • If you’re traveling to an unfamiliar region and want to do different activities, buy a good guidebook--and read it prior to going. The information will save you time and money.
  • When planning your trip, check on whether a package deal will save money. Sometimes bundling airfare, rental car, and hotel results in lower cost overall, and many add bonuses like spa treatments, meal or drink tickets, or excursions.  Check websites of airlines, cruise lines, or vacation planners to find the best deal.
  • Join loyalty programs. Special rates are often given to members of frequent flyer, hotel, cruise line associations. Avoid baggage fees and possibly receive upgrades when you belong to a specific loyalty group or have a credit card from one of these. Add miles or points to your program with purchases at restaurants and retailers, too.
  • Ask for discounts.  Use the Internet to compare prices, even if you book directly with a hotel or car rental company.  If you see a better price than you’re offered on the phone, speak up. 
  • Scout the Internet for special deals on tours, whether you’re thinking one-day or weeks.  There’s a proliferation of consolidators offering great deals, especially if you plan to visit multiple sites. Signing up early may also net a discount.  Don’t forget to look up “free things to do” at your destination.
  • Ask about free shuttle service from the airport or dock to your destination.  Many hotels provide this service, and some airports connect to public transportation options.  If possible, avoid high taxi fees.
  • Skip rental car insurance if your own insurance covers this. Also, check to see if your credit card provides car rental insurance.
  • Peanuts won’t satisfy your hunger if you miss a meal while en route, so pack your own energy bars, fruit, or tummy-filling snacks.  Not only will you feel better, but you’ll avoid high airport prices. Pack an empty water bottle to fill at the fountain after going through security –helps you avoid dehydration, too. 
    Granola bars and nuts are good snack selections.

    1 comment:

    ariele said...

    These are great tips!