Travelling on the cheap has become harder and harder to do. Everything from flights, to hotels, insurance, gas, and food seem to be getting more expensive. Even worse, we seem to be getting less for our money. Not only do we no longer get free meals, or baggage to go with our flight, we even have to pay extra for the exact same seats in different zones of an airplane!
All that said, we have a few tips to help you travel cheaper, keeping more money in your pocket, so you spend more at your destination, not before it!
1. Use Travel Aggregators: Let technology do the comparing for you. While some airlines claim that you can buy the lowest priced ticket directly from their site, why bother trying to find each and every airline that flies to your destination. Let the magic of Expedia, Travelocity, Hotwire, Kayak and others do the work for you. Not only will you likely get the cheapest airfare offered by each airline, you’ll be able to compare which airlines offer the cheapest flights. You should use travel aggregator sites for booking both flights and hotels.
2. Use and Ask for Discounts: Whether you’re a member of AAA, AARP, Union Privilege, or NEA check your benefits and ask for discounts. If you went to college, you may get discounts at certain hotel chains through your alumni office. Also, check your credit card to see if you get discounts at hotels, restaurants, entertainment locations or car rental agencies either from your issuing bank, Visa or MasterCard. You’ve already paid an annual fee, so you might as well reap the rewards.
3. Check and Double Check Your Insurance Options: When we travel, many of us get trip cancellation, trip interruption, accidental death, travel medical or car rental insurance. Before you buy any additional travel related insurance check to make sure you don’t already have it. Many people auto and home insurance already offer car rental insurance. In addition, many travel credit cards (especially premium cards), offer all of the above mentioned insurance coverages as included benefits that come with the card.
4. Register for Last Minute Deal Offers: Many airlines offer last minute web saver deals. Most of these offers are made available only to those on the websaver mailing list. If you have the flexibility to occasionally just pick up and leave at the last minute, you can get some truly fantastic savings. To see if it’s right for you, start off by subscribing to a few airline web saver lists and you’ll be surprised how low some of their airfares can get.
5. Use Credit Card Rewards: There is perhaps no easier way to fly free than to accumulate travel rewards points with your credit card. For most of us, merely collecting points for each dollar spent, won’t get us anywhere fast. The easiest and fastest way to accumulate credit card points is to sign-up for a new credit card with a big sign-up bonus offer. This will allow you to get that 25,000 to 40,000 Aeroplan credit card sign-up bonus right off the bat. If you can, try to find a credit card that waives the first year annual fee.
6. Avoid Foreign Currency Transaction Fees: Too many of us go on holiday and exchange money at the airport or hotel foreign exchange booth. Some folks withdraw money from the ATM. Every time you do so you’re being charged both the spot rate, the rate you see in the WSJ, and a margin charged either by your bank or the foreign exchange bureau. The cheapest way to exchange money when abroad is to use a credit card with 0% foreign transaction fees. You’ll effectively only be paying the spot rate.
So there you have it. A few tips to help you get to your destination and stay at your destination a little cheaper.