With everyone taking Summer trips and visiting family, it’s important to know how to get the best deals and find ways to save on travel expenses this summer. Before reading this, you might want to read Ways to Save on Activities and Entertainment and Ways to Save on Food and Eating Out.
Planning Ahead For Your Trip
The first thing you want to do is set a budget. No amount of scrimping and saving will do you any good if you don’t have a budget to begin with. Setting a budget shows you what your limitations are and makes sure you don’t overspend.
If you’re looking on traveling far, try to find friends and family that are in the area. Chances are they haven’t seen you in a while and will want you to stay with them. Don’t be an imposition, but this is something worth considering.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I think it’s crucial to really saving on expenses: Check the deal sites. Travel Zoo, Living Social and Groupon are great ones to keep an eye by signing up for their newsletters. Check ahead in the daily deals for the area you will be visiting just in case something really good pops up.
Sometimes we don’t always think of it, but planning ahead for food and eating out is important when getting ready for a trip. Use the daily deal sites to find restaurant deals, and look at Restaurant.com to see if there are any good deals in the area. Take snacks and foods along with you that are easy to pack, and plan ahead for a grocery trip with some coupons so that you can save groceries while away from home. If you will be flying, be sure to take an empty water bottle with you to fill up at the fountain after you go through baggage check (see the 3-1-1 on what you can take with you in your carry on bag).
- Use a site like Priceline.com. You can bid for a lower price if you don’t like what they offer. Be sure to check for coupon codes, and go through a cash back site like Ebates to get the most bang for your buck.
- Check the websites of the airline you want to travel and see what specials they are offering.
- Fly SouthWest Airlines if you can. They offer two free checked bags as well as free checking on one stroller and one carseat. If you use Swagbucks, a $50 SouthWest gift card is only 5,700 points.
- If your flight is overbooked and staying in your location an extra day won’t be a bother to you, volunteer to go on standby. If you volunteer, and they bump you, they will pay for a hotel stay, food and also give you anywhere from $200-$800 for the inconvenience.
- Have a credit card (gasp! Yes, I said it) that offers you rewards and air miles on your flights. As long as you pay it off by the end of the month, a credit card can be worth it for the free air miles and rewards on all expenses. Not ready to try it yet? Check out some of these Debit Rewards Programs.
- Again, use a site like Priceline.com. Combining a car rental deal and a flight can save you even more money if you do it all in one place.
- Make sure your insurance company covers a car rental so that you don’t have to pay for the extra insurance (it’s VERY pricey).
- Drive the speed limit! Driving just 10 miles less an hour can save you as much as half a tank of gas or more! Try to not use the air conditioning as well, since it is a gas guzzler.
If you can’t stay with friends and family, there are a few ways you can save on a hotel stay:
- And, by now it should go without savying, but use a site like Priceline.com.
- Automatically ask for a wake up call. Most hotels give you a night free if your wake up call is late or doesn’t happen. Check the terms and conditions of your hotel.
- Get an I Love Inns Book (comes with two certificates for a free night).
- Get some room mates (traveling buddies are great!). If you are going to an event,at which you know a lot of people, go for the bigger room and get some room mates. After you calculate it out, the cost is usually significantly lower than if you just pay for one room by yourself.
- Check your Entertainment Book for coupons and promotions, or buy an Entertainment book for the area you will be heading to. These books usually contain great promotions and coupons for hotels.
- Getting the Best Deals with Priceline.com
- Healthy Highways: The Travelers’ Guide to Healthy Eating
- Checklist: How to Pack a Carry On Suitcase
What are some of your tips for saving on trips and travel?