9 ways to save money on your next trip
(Photo courtesy of Naoise Sheridan).
Angie’s List tips to save money on your next vacation.
1. Think about what you really want from a trip. Is it to relax or to explore your horizons? Do you need meals and drinks included up front or do you like to find your own restaurants?
2. Be flexible and shift travel dates. Airfares can vary several hundred dollars by days of the week or weekends within a month. Depart on days when demand is low such as a Tuesday or Wednesday. Flexibility is the biggest key to savings.
3. Consider alternative airports and connecting flights: For example, if you plan to visit San Francisco, you might save by flying into San Jose or Oakland. Although non-stop is less stressful, it can cost hundreds more than taking a one-stop flight.
4. It pays to compare: Go online to compare fares from various airlines, hotels and booking agencies.
5. Hire a travel agent, who might be able to find special deals to which you otherwise wouldn’t have access. The general rule is that the more complicated or expensive the itinerary, the better it is to book through an agent
6. Packing lighter and smarter for a flight will help minimize luggage fees. Take your own snacks.
7. All travel deals have terms and conditions. Before you pay for any trip, always read the fine print for information regarding fees, blackout dates and unexpected charges.
8. Travel insurance: Coverage costs 4 to 8 percent of the cost of your trip but always read the fine print.
Some policies now even include job loss protection, while other policies will reimburse you if your airline goes out of business, but check the coverage carefully – financially stressed airlines are often excluded. You can’t get insurance for tickets on an airline that is already in bankruptcy.
9. Think about packaging your airline tickets with reservations for a hotel and a rental car. It pays to ask – many hotels are struggling right now. Consumers may have more luck negotiating better rates and extras.