The following is a post from staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, where she writes about finding the balance between paying your bills, saving for your future, and budgeting for the fun stuff along the way.
Our summer vacation is right around the corner and we are looking for the best deal. In fact, I am refusing to buy our tickets before I find a great deal. If you follow these five tips, you will enjoy your vacation even more knowing that you didn’t overpay for your trip.
Fly on Wednesdays
You may not have known that you can save money on air travel by flying during the week. If you want to save money on your vacation, avoid flying on Fridays and Sundays since they are the two busiest days of the week to fly. The cheapest day of the week to fly is Wednesday and I’ve also found great deals on Tuesdays. Flying during the week will save you a ton.
Contact the Hotel Directly
You should never pay full price when booking any hotel room. Sites like Hotels.com, Travelocity, Priceline, and Hotwire.com offer great specials that will save you a ton of money on your hotel stay. You can also visit a company’s website to see if any specials or deals are being run while you are in town. It may sound old fashioned, but you can also save money by calling a hotel directly and asking for their best rate. I found an $18 special rate at the Four Queens in Las Vegas 3 years ago simply by taking a look at their website at the right time.
Sign up for Membership and Loyalty Programs
Your credit card company and local credit union may have free programs that can save you 10 to 20 percent off of your car rental. Membership companies like AAA and AARP usually can get you some discounts too. You can even get additional savings by signing up for loyalty programs at car rental company websites.
There was a time that you could take all of the luggage that you wanted onto a plane for no additional cost. Obviously, times have changed. Many airlines are charging $25 to check one bag and $35 or more for each additional bag. You could easily wind up paying a couple hundred dollars for your family’s luggage. If you want to save money, be sure to pack light. Even consider checking for airlines with nicer luggage policies like Southwest Airlines.
Take a Vacation During the Offseason
Travel is a lot more expensive during the months of July and August because school is out. You can save a lot of money on your vacation by taking it during the offseason. You can travel to some of the nicest places in the world at a HUGE discount if you do it during the fall or spring months. My husband and I cannot take advantage of this particular advice since he is a school librarian, but I hope all of you can!
What other vacation/travel tips can you think of? Have I missed any really great ones?