Friday, February 3, 2012

Tips for Saving Money When You Travel

Would you rather spend your budget on
airfare, airport food and baggage fees, or would you rather
spend it on a vacation rental on the beach?
Saving money on travel's a priority for just about everybody, whether it's for business or pleasure. People who book vacation rentals understand the concept of getting the most value for their money--after all, vacation rentals are a much better deal than hotels, especially for families or large groups. Here are a few tips that can help you save.

Air Travel

Travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays. There's generally more availability for less cost. You'll find the most airline deals during the middle of the week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Seek out alternative airports and be willing to drive a few hours. This doesn't necessarily mean going to a big city airport, thought that's the most common way to save. You might discover a deal by going through a smaller airport as well.

The key with air travel is to do your research and plan. While it's relatively easy to find an affordable vacation rental, finding affordable airfare is a bit harder. Be sure you sign up for deal alerts for a variety of airlines. And try to collect frequent flyer miles whenever possible through special credit card offers. Every dollar you spend to fill your tank to get to work might be earning you miles for your next vacation.

Traveling light has become much more important these days. If there's something you absolutely have to take and you don't want to take it on the plane, consider shipping it to your vacation rental. It might be cheaper or at least cost the same. With shipping, you'll have the advantage of being able to track it, versus risking lost luggage.

Get Social Online

Become active on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. More and more companies are using these tools to announce their offers. In fact, many companies use Facebook and Twitter to announce special "Friends and Followers only" specials.

Rental Cars

If you're renting a car at your destination, check with your insurance agent. You may be able to decline all of the added insurance coverage the rental company will try to steer you towards. Without a doubt, decline the gas fill they offer. They'll charge you for a full tank, even if the tank isn't all the way empty. Instead, leave an extra 10 minutes to fill up on the way to the airport.

Meal Planning

Airport food's expensive. So is road food you buy at the convenience store or truck stop. Pack lunches and snacks that keep well, such as peanut butter sandwiches (try honey or brown sugar instead of jelly for less mess), pretzels, prepackaged energy bars bought in bulk, etc. Why spend your food budget on airport or road food that's really no better than what you can bring on your own?

Be sure to go online and find the best grocery stores in the area you're traveling to. Many publicize their weekly specials online, so you can go to the store with coupons in hand. Then, stock your vacation rental with the food you'll eat while you're there. Use the money you save to treat yourself to a special dinner out.