Ten Ways To Stretch Your Vacation Budget
Getting a bigger bang for your vacation buck is
easier than you think. Here are some simple tips:
If you plan ahead, you will have plenty
of time to research your options and will be more likely to get the
vacation you want. Popular hotels and cruises are often reserved as
much as a year in advance during peak seasons. With early planning,
you can also take advantage of early-booking incentives, especially
Vacation in the
Vacationing in the off-season can often get
you more savings, while still allowing you to travel during
favorable weather conditions. For travel in the Caribbean, Mexico,
and Florida, rates are significantly lower between May and
mid-December, excluding major holidays. Lodging rates at popular
summer spots along the Eastern Seaboard such as Maine, Cape Cod, the
Jersey Shore, Outer Banks, and Hilton Head drop off right after
Find a Good Travel Agent.
often than not, travel agents' expertise and knowledge will save you
time and money. Look for an agent who specializes in the type of
vacation you are seeking. Most importantly, find an agent who takes
the time to find out what your best options are.
Vacation packages often provide upgraded
rooms and additional perks such as free tours. Some include airfare,
rental car, and meals. Often, the airfare is cheaper in package
deals because tour operators and cruise lines can buy "bulk rate"
airfares, which they then sell to you at a lower price. Essentially,
these "all-inclusive" packages make budgeting easy by providing
everything at one price.
Check Out the
Be sure that the package you choose provides
the vacation you want, and keep in mind that low package prices may
be based on less desirable hotels or rooms. Find out whether the
hotel has the location and amenities you expect. Also learn what is
and what is not included. Surcharges and taxes can add up to a
Go Native and Rent a House or
You can save big bucks when you rent a house or
condominium, especially if you are traveling in a group of five or
With some savvy
research, you can easily cut your airfare by hundreds of dollars.
Sign up for Travelocity's Fare
Watcher and Expedia's Fare Tracker. These sites allow you to
track city pairs to get a feel for airfare prices at certain times
of the year. They will also send you an e-mail alert when the prices
change by $25 or more.
Also, when shopping around for fares,
whether by airline or travel agent, always ask the following
questions: Is this the best fare for this route? Would changing
departure times or travel dates lower the fare? Would the fare be
lower from a nearby airport? Also inquire about reliable charter
airlines available to your destination.
Lastly, don't forget
to check Smarter Living for last-minute bargain airfares.
Your Car Rental in Advance.
You'll pay the highest rate
at the airport if you arrive without a reservation. Shop around
ahead of time on the rental car websites for the best deals. Also,
if you are a frequent flier, check your mileage statements for
Furthermore, don't get ripped off by buying
unnecessary car insurance coverage. Check with your own car
insurance agent and credit card companies to see what coverage they
provide for rental cars. If you are covered in the countries in
which you plan to drive, you can decline the rental company's
coverage, saving $15 or more a day.
Also remember that if you
are under 25, or have been involved in a car accident in the past
two years, you may be refused a car, or asked to pay a surcharge,
when you reach the counter. Check before you go to avoid a
Send for Free
Tourism offices are happy to provide free
hotel, restaurant, and activity brochures that offer many deals.
Also, ask about free events and visitors' discounts.
Everyone About Your Birthday.
If you are celebrating a
special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, or honeymoon, tell
everybody! Often you're likely to enjoy special treatment such as
complimentary champagne, birthday cake, flowers, balloons, or a gift
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