(Photos courtesy of Shutterstock)
The expensive summer travel season is almost here! Whether you're going on an international voyage or a weekend road trip, it's important to keep your trip stress-free and your budget intact. We have some tips to help you save money on your vacation.
- Sign up for airfare alerts. Sites like Airfarewatchdog will notify you of dirt-cheap fares so you don't have to go looking for them yourself. Airfarewatchdog employs a team of experts that scour the web for the best fares, and they're notorious for uncovering "hidden" sales that aren't advertised. Unlike most fare-alert services, the site includes fares from Southwest and Allegiant.
- Choose a smaller airport. You can often find a better airfare deal if you fly out of a regional airport instead of a major international one.
- Pack a carry-on bag instead. Baggage fees have gotten outrageous. Instead of paying the fee to check a bag, pack lightly and cram everything into a carry-on bag. You'll save money and you'll save time at the airport.
- Never pay full price for luxury. Sign up for free sites like Jetsetter, the travel community that offers up to 40% off high-end vacations. All of the hotels, resorts, and tours featured on Jetsetter have been hand-selected and personally verified by a Jetsetter correspondent.
- Get a refund when your hotel drops its price. Book on Tingo, and if the price of your reservation goes down, you'll automatically be rebooked at the lower rate and refunded the difference. Most travelers end up saving around $55 on a two-night stay, but the savings can be much bigger than that. The largest refund to date is more than $1,800!
- Avoid hidden fees. When you arrive at the hotel, ask for a list of fees associated with your room. Use a cell phone instead of the hotel phone, opt out of daily newspaper delivery, and decline usage of the hotel's fitness center.
- Consider a vacation rental. Sites like FlipKey offer vacation rentals as an alternative to booking a hotel room. Families will especially benefit from this site. Vacation rentals have kitchens, so you'll save money by making your own meals instead of eating out multiple times a day.
- Do your research. Use SmarterTravel as a starting point when planning your trip. The site features the best travel advice on the Web and offers articles on everything from planning and packing to blending in as a local and staying safe on your journey.
- Assess your credit card perks. Many credit cards waive foreign-transaction surcharges and other ATM fees and offer travel rewards, so find out about yours.
Using these tips will help keep every possible dollar in your pocket. You'll enjoy your vacation even more, knowing that you're saving money along the way!
About the Author: To learn more about George Hobica, visit him on Google+.