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If you missed my radio interview with A Single Girl’s Guide to Food, Drink, and Travel, here are my 5 tricks to save money on travel.
5 Tricks to Save Money on Travel
1. Be Flexible
You’ll save the most money when traveling if you can be flexible.
That can mean changing or varying your travel dates. For example, do you have to leave on the weekend? Your flight could be less if you flew on Thursday instead.
So instead of booking your vacation from Saturday to Saturday, plan it from Thursday to Thursday.
Hotels in some business areas are cheaper on the weekends than during the week, which is great for short getaways.
If possible, consider flying out of other airports. If you live in Los Angeles, you can fly from LAX, John Wayne, Burbank, Ontario, Long Beach, San Diego, even Santa Barbara.
It could be worth driving an hour or two and to another state, if it means saving a few hundred dollars on your airline ticket.
When you’re traveling with a family, that can mean the difference between being able to take a vacation or staying home.
2) Travel Someplace Else
Your heart might be set on seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but if your budget is tight consider avoiding the tourist hot spots.
Instead visit countries that are inexpensive such as Thailand, Vietnam, Bolivia, Portugal, and India.
You can spend less than $60 a day in Thailand (including accommodations, meals, drinks, and entertainment) and that’s without having to rough it by backpacking.
3) Avoid Crowds
But if you need to see Paris or Rome, traveling when everyone else isn’t such as over Thanksgiving will save you the most money.
You’ll pay less for everything from flights, accommodations, rental cars, to food. Yep, I said it, food. Even restaurants have specials and discounts during the off-season.
4) Become a Joiner
Not only can you get great discounts at luxury hotels during the off-season but you can also get discounts at first class hotels if you know where to look.
Consider signing up for an AAA and AARP membership.
An AAA membership is more than roadside assistance. For only $48 a year you can get up to 15% off hotel rates.
Recently the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte offered a package rate for AAA members that included accommodations, valet parking, and a 4 p.m. late check out from $309 a night.
And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be 50 to join AARP membership. You can join AARP for $16 a year, regardless of your age. Most hotels offer a 15% discount to AARP members.
Remember to sign-up for emails from hotels to be notified of the latest offers and promotions.
I stayed at the Peninsula Shanghai in mid-October for $300 a night which was about $100 less a night than staying at the Sheraton. Currently, they’re offering winter rates for $400 a night.
5) Use Airline Miles and Hotel Points
You can get free flights simply by signing up for 1 credit card.
For example, the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard is offering 50,000 American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account.
With 50,000 American Airlines miles, you can fly 1-way in Business Class to:
Signing up for credit cards can also get you free hotel nights at luxury hotels.
You get 2 free nights at any Hyatt worldwide from the Hyatt card after you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening.
We used our 2 free nights to stay at the Park Hyatt Sydney. We had an Opera King room with an amazing view of the Sydney Opera House.
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