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Money Saving Travel Tips

Money Saving Travel TipsThis rotten winter might have you hankering to take a vacation. And the less-than-robust economy means you’d probably like to travel for the least amount of money. Always look for deals and ways to save money, but you need to watch out for the scams as well. If your planning a vacation check out all of the deals, take advantage of traveling in time frames that are not as popular.

Visit travel shows and pick up tips as well as coupons for discounts on various trips and places to visit.

Money Saving Travel Tips

To get an airline’s lowest airfare, try calling the carrier instead of booking online . You may think all the available inventory is on the web. Not even close. It’s only the inventory they want to put online. The same applies to hotels.

As an example, The lowest fare online: American’s $809. Calling American directly and asking if the airline had a “positioning flight” (when a carrier needs to get one plane from one city to another); netted a flight for $109.

If you searched for airfares on a site but didn’t buy a ticket, use a different browser or computer on your next visit or clear your computer’s cookies and cache. Otherwise you may be shown a higher fare because you left cookies the first time and the site knows you’re eager to buy.

If you belong to a Frequent Flier program, check its site for fares using your number and without it. “Delta offered me a fare for $529 and then I went put in my Frequent Flier number, the fare suddenly jumped to $607,” They said there was a different class of tickets for Frequent Fliers.”

Train lovers with time on their hands should look into Amtrak’s 15-day go-anywhere deal. “You can get off and on anytime and see all of your dysfunctional relatives in one trip for $500; $250 for kids under 12.

Exploit the cruise industry’s bad publicity (the Costa Concordia and Carnival Triumph disasters) and excess capacity. “It’s a buyer’s market with rates as low as $149”.

Call a hotel directly for its best room rate rather than booking online or phoning its 800 number. “You can get more discounts from a phone call than from a website,”. Conversely if the hotel rate is higher than usual, check the online price. Sometimes they forget to update the prices online.

When you call, ask for the manager on duty or director of sales, not “reservations,”. That’s the person who knows that a wedding just canceled and the hotel suddenly lost 30 booked rooms.

Ask value-added questions: Can my kids stay free? Can they eat free? I recently had to rent a car in San Francisco and asked the hotel if I could get free parking and I did. The parking normally cost $42 a night.

Consider alternative lodgings to hotels. “I love hotels, but they’re rarely the most interesting place to stay and they’re usually the most expensive,” . One person bragged about renting a two-bedroom apartment in Venice for $83 a night.

Scams

Watch out for “free” travel offers on Facebook. What may look like a giveaway of two free Southwest tickets from “Allison” is really a ruse to trick people into giving up personal information.

Never click through a link, even if it looks legitimate.

Don’t agree to rent out someone’s home until you speak, Skype or FaceTime with them. “Legitimate renters are happy to talk to you. Skype or FaceTime conversations are best because you can then insist on seeing the whole apartment or house.

Bargain destinations

Visit countries where few Americans vacation.

Go where the local currency has been pounded.

But perhaps the biggest bargain of all (once you get there): Bali in the South Pacific. You can almost live there on $5 a day.”

For more travel planning posts, click here.

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