Are you among the millions who are making plans for a summer vacation? If so, you’re probably using all kinds of tips and hacks to save money. Or at least get the most value out of your vacation budget. Here’s a summary of some of the most common, and not so common, ways to save.
Money Saving Tips You May Have Missed
Which airports you use -
If you’re flying into an area that has multiple airports, be sure to check flights into the smaller ones. Discount airlines, such as Allegiant and Spirit, often don’t fly into the major hubs. You may be able to find much cheaper flights to an airport that is only a small distance further from your final destination.
Extra discount and savings sites -
Everyone uses the big travel sites. Booking flights, hotels, and rental cars on sites such as Expedia has become the norm. But don’t stop there! Did you know you can save a ton of money, or get great extras for little or nothing, on Groupon? In the example of Expedia, at this writing there are 51 coupons and discounts available on Groupon for Expedia. So you’re not only getting the lower fares on Expedia, you’re getting a discount or extra bonus on top of that.
And it’s not limited to just Expedia. Other big travel sites have offers available on Groupon. Here’s some of the other travel-related promotions they have running now
The savings can add up to hundreds of dollars over your entire vacation, so this is my favorite way to save money when I plan a vacation.
Making lunch your primary meal -
We all come back from our vacations with more than we left home with. And often it’s on our waistline. I’m as much a foodie as anyone, and vacation time means lots of opportunities to enjoy new food adventures. But you can do that and still spend less by making lunch your primary meal of the day. Virtually the same meal is available on the lunch menu for an average of 30% less than it costs at dinner. Why not make lunch your big meal, eat a light dinner, and spend the time and money on night time entertainment? Besides, it’s always more fun to hit the dance floor if your tummy isn’t quite so full!
Traditional Vacation Tips To Save Money
Travel days -
Remember the best days to get lower air fare are Monday and Tuesday. So especially on a longer vacation, plan your itinerary so you can take advantage of off-peak travel days. An added benefit here is you also avoid the airport crowds typical on Thursday through Sunday.
Shift your stay -
When booking a room, shift the dates in the reservation calendar. It may surprise you how much the rates vary from day to day. And this doesn’t just relate to day of the week, as in the travel day tip. If your hotel is booked up for a convention, the cost of your room will go up. Conversely, it that convention is leaving and the hotel occupancy is suddenly down, you’ll see a much lower rate. So check one or two days in each direction. If you can shift your stay a bit, you may be able to get a much better rate.
Just ask -
Yes, it never hurts to ask. The trick is knowing when and how to do it. The travel experts say it’s usually best to ask for upgrades and extras when you’re actually at the venue, not when you’re booking. And of course, you’ll want to ask with a pleasant manner and a touch of charm. I’ve done this for a long time. Even if it doesn’t pay off the first time, I’ve found that on return trips they remember me and even offer extras without my asking.
Avoid eating in tourist spots -
While it may be convenient to dine right in the middle of the main tourist area, it’s also expensive. In Las Vegas, for example, food and drinks on the Strip can be as much as double the price of a comparable meal off the strip. You’ll want to get a recommendation for the best venues away from the main tourist areas. Remember that desk clerk you were asking for an upgrade? What better way to get friendly with him or her than asking their advice?
Plan and Save
Remember, check coupon, promo, and discount sites both before and after you book. Some discounts and specials are applied up front while others can be used on site to get discounts, upgrades, and freebies. A little effort and creative thinking will pay off in less money spent on the road and more in your bank account when you get home. Want even more ideas for saving money on your vacation? Check out these videos!