Posts Tagged ‘airline’

Save Money on Holiday Travel

Are you ready for the busiest travel season of the year? Thanksgiving is the busiest travel time for driving, but we were surprised to learn that the fall and winter holidays are not the busiest airport travel days… mid-July carries the busiest days for flyers.  But travel around the November, December and January holidays sure do feel like the busiest all around. They absolutely are high in-demand airport travel times and carry big price tags in every travel category, from transportation to lodging; couple that with family expectations and specific time constraints with limited options, and it all translates to:  the pressure is on.

If you’re traveling for the holidays, you can save yourself some stress, time, and money by preparing early with the excellent tips in these videos… and then you can sit back and really enjoy the holidays!

Cheapest Days to Fly – Another clip from, video gives best days to book for big savings – Nice to know for Holidays!

Holiday Air Travel Deals – A segment from  Travel and Leisure Magazine features director, Nilou Motamed, giving websites & pointers.

Holiday Air Travel Planning Tips – Clip gives simple tip could save you stress & money during the busy holiday season (wouldn’t that be nice?).

Hotel Booking Tips – Great pointers and tips from the LA Times Travel Editor.

Top Secret Hotel Booking Tip – This single tip could bring you big savings from founder, Martin Lewis.

Cheap Car Rentals, 22 Money Saving How-To Tips – Rental cars can be a high priced drain. This SpendLessTV blog post gives all the best tips we’ve found, which could save you a bundle on your rental car!

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How To Avoid Costly Travel Hassles

No one wants travel hassle. No matter how far from or close to home you venture, travel is an exciting and enriching adventure. We spend days, sometimes months planning and making arrangements. We may spend several years saving up to make a vacation happen. We want everything go to as smoothly as possible. But… we’ve just got to face it, travel is the perfect opportunity for snags, and those glitches can be very expensive, draining you of your time and costing you in extra unplanned fees, change charges, impromptu overnights, and even fines. However with a little forethought and planning you may be able to save yourself some real travel trouble, time and money. The more you can prepare ahead, the less opportunity for snags. We’ve gathered these tips and videos from some of the best travel experts – handy ideas to help you avoid or quickly smooth over some of the potential pitfalls that come with the travel territory.

  • More people are handling their own travel personal and business arrangements these days. Sites like allow you to have your whole itinerary easily accessible to yourself, and anyone you choose.
  • Write it all down and make copies. Even if you’ve created online records, there’s no replacement for paper.Be sure you have it all in one easily accessible place for quick reference.Even the simplest information is important.
    • A copy of the name of your airlines, flight numbers, ship, train line, hotels, length of stay and dates for each destination.
    • Emergency contact info: Write down who you would contact in case of an emergency ie: your embassy, bank, credit card company, etc.
    • Leave a copy with someone you can reach at home of all documents, itinerary and details.
  • Be sure you have all that is required for travel to the country you have selected to visit…the valid required health documents, visa’s, passports, money, taxes.. etc.
  • Find out ahead of time which countries will not accept your visit based on a prior visit to another country which they may have problematic relations with. If you know this ahead of time, you can ask to have a separate piece of paper stamped instead of a page in your passport.
  • Have all boarding passes, tickets, passports, identification, and other necessary papers altogether and ready to show. This is especially handy to have when dealing with customs both entering and exiting a country. Often it’s these simple details that can get forgotten when you are rushed and frazzled and can’t even remember what day of the week  it is after a long day  or night of travel or have awakened at 4 am and haven’t had a cup of coffee yet.
  • Prepare ahead for a last minute change:
    • Have a list of airport hotels direct numbers (not 800 numbers) If you need to stay overnight a direct call will go further than an online or central reservation.
    • If you have to rebook a flight, you may do it faster by calling rather than waiting in line to book the change. If you carry or have online access to a flight guide you’ll be several steps ahead.
    • Pack a change of clothes, medications, and mobile device re-chargers in your carry-on bag.
    • Bring a sweater, light jacket, shawl or lap blanket to have available on the flight, or to use if you need to sleep over at the airport. Catch this site for the ultimate in airport sleep-over pointers.
    • Have a money belt in your carry-on ready to use if you want to protect valuables should you need to sleep in the airport, also a good idea while sleeping on the plane.
    • When waiting for your flight, be sure to locate electrical outlets, in case you need to re-charge your mobile devices, very handy if you need to sleep over at the airport.
  • Get the most comfort possible for your money.Know before you book by checking sites like which show you exactly what is what, size of the seat, location, proximity to the restrooms, etc.
  • Get a boarding pass ahead of time if you can. You may be able to do this online.
  • Arrive at the airport early, early… and did we say, early?
  • Avoid checking luggage. Carry-on is the only way to be certain your bags won’t get lost. Make sure you have proper identification on the outside AND inside all your luggage.
  • Will your carry-on bag actually fit in the overhead or under the seat? Check ahead, many smaller planes will require gate-check-in, but you can avoid a surprise and the accompanying hassle if you know this ahead of time.
  • Check ahead for luggage weight limits, too. Find out the weight limits on luggage for your airline. Many smaller and foreign carriers have weight limits even for carry-on bags.
  • Separate your liquids.Make sure they are in the proper sized bottles (under 4 oz.). Put them all together in one quart-sized clear plastic bag and take them out of your suitcase for separate scanning.
  • If you have prescription medications, it’s best if you can also have a copy of the prescription, but if not be sure the package/bottle is properly labeled, especially if the bottle is over 4 oz. Be sure to pack medications in your carry-on bag.
  • Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, and easy to run in.
  • Dress simply. Avoid wearing anything metal: belt buckles, jewelry, metal hair clips, watches, pocket change, nail clippers, etc. anything which might set off the metal detectors at security. If you do have these items, don’t forget to take them off and put them in a bin for separate screening.
  • Bringing gifts? Avoid gifts that are wrapped, security will ask you to unwrap them.
  • Have your computer and mobile devices out from their cases and out from your luggage for separate scanning.
  • Put proper identification on your mobile devices, like your name, phone number, and where you will be lodging.
  • Travel Trip insurance and Travel health insurance may well be worth the few dollars it costs in order to be reimbursed for your expenses should a last minute cancellation be necessary, or for any accident or illness that might occur while you are traveling abroad.

Related videos with even more insight on avoiding travel snags and the expense that goes with it:

Traveling & Lose Cell Phone Charger?Have you ever lost the charger for your cell phone or mobile device when traveling? Here’s an idea that could save your mobile devices’ life when you’re on the road, from  travel reporter Peter Greenberg

Keeping Track of Your Luggage Peter Greenberg gives simple tips that can make a big difference toward preventing lost luggage, so both your suitcases and you end up at the same destination.

How to Avoid Losing Your Luggage– More tips to prevent lost luggage and the extra worry and expense that goes with it.

Avoid Airport HassleExcellent pointers to save you airport travel hassle from radio host John Tesh on checked baggage fees, early check-in, re-booking & security tips.

Consider Travel InsuranceTravel insurance could save you a lot more than just a travel headache. Consider these tips before planning your next big trip from June Walbert, USAA Financial Planner.

Traveler’s Health Insurance Travel and health insurance may be a good idea, especially for travel outside of the country, and for more costly trips, but navigating the coverage can be complicated. Travel agent Sally Watkins advises on health insurance for travel abroad.

Identity Theft? Stolen Wallet?No one wants to deal with this, ever, but especially while traveling and away from home. June Walbert gives pointers so you can be prepared, just in case.

Be Prepared Travel TipsWorld traveler Jacquelyn Richey gives her favorite pointers on staying safe while traveling with valuables, money, important papers and more.

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We've packed the best hotel deals into 1 simple search

Save Money on Travel Lodging, Hotels, Cruises

As the cost of travel continues to rise, the price of lodging can run up your expenses quicker than you can keep track of.  Even if you do secure a great price on a hotel room, consider that if you’re traveling with a family you may need more than one room. And the tally for dining, parking, tips, surcharges, phone, minibar, entertainment, sightseeing, and transportation… can really add up.

Hotels are masters of creating an environment where your value judgment can be quickly clouded. In this excerpt from an article by for, “The Curse of Mental Accounting” author Jonah Lehrer addresses how this happens and the ways in which our assessment of worth can be easily manipulated:

Needless to say, mental accounting also explains my expensive internet connection. In the end, expensive hotels are able to charge insane amounts of money for Cheerios and wifi because these exorbitant charges get posted to the mental account of the hotel bill, which will be hundreds of dollars anyways. As a result, the charges don’t seem quite so crazy. (This also helps explain why cheap hotels are so much more likely to offer free internet and breakfast buffets. Sometimes, we get more when we pay less.)

If you plan a little ahead of time, and arm yourself with the knowledge of what to expect and the many approaches you can use to help bring those expenses into your control, you can have a wonderful time enjoying, dining, touring museums and historical sights, or just lounging and relaxing without paying astronomical prices to do it wherever your are staying.

The key is to think ahead about what your real desire is and what your real needs will be, and then follow the travel pointers and video tips we’ve assembled here from some of the best travel experts out there… and then go for it!


Hotels can be pricey, we all know this. The place to start is online. Compare prices and deals through sights like, or After you find a few prices, check the hotel’s website for special offers. Then, check sites that offer promotional discount coupons like or And finally, call the specific hotel directly (not the central booking agency if you can avoid it, though it’s becoming more difficult to do this). You have a better chance at negotiating or receiving price-matching, perks or upgrades and securing more favorable cancellation terms when you speak directly to the hotel. Hotels can pay a commission of up to 30 percent to online booking sites, so ASK if they have a better deal than what you’ve found online or if they can match it.

Our number one top solid sure-fire way that consistently gets discounts, deals or extras on hotel stays is to simply ask. There are almost always discounts available, but they will not volunteer that information. However, if you ask, they are usually more than happy to try to accommodate  you. It will never do you harm to politely ask.

  • Ask the hotel directly if there are any specials or discounts available that you may not be aware of.
  • Ask if they accept membership discounts for organizations like AAA, AARP, veterans, seniors, frequent flyer loyalty programs, etc.
  • Mention that you’re a loyal customer if you have frequented the hotel or the chain before.
  • If the hotel has a loyalty program of their own, you may be entitled to receive a savings or promotional deal. If you are not a member, you can sign up on the phone when making a reservation or right then and there during check-in, and if it is free to join, you have nothing to lose.
  • If you’re at the front desk in person, either at check-in or checkout, and you are asking for special considerations you won’t get very far if you are inconsiderate with your request; ask quietly to avoid putting the agent “on the spot” when other guests are within earshot.
  • The hours between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. can be particularly busy for the reservation desk. It’s check-out time, and the agent may not be able to take the time to try to work with you, so try to avoid calling with special requests or attempting to negotiate between those hours when you can.
  • Some requests are better made at check-out, for example: it’s easier for an agent to remove Wi-Fi charges from your bill than it is to wave them in advance.
  • If you need more than one room, ask if they could give you a break.
  • Ask politely if an upgrade might be available, or if the parking might be included, etc.
  • Want a more spacious room without paying more? Request a corner room.

Bidding on a room can bring huge savings through websites like, but we advise to use this only if you are familiar with the area where you will be staying, because it is not until after you confirm the non-refundable purchase, that you  find out which specific hotel you have purchased.

Get to know a new or unfamiliar location by searching websites like which offer user reviews and photos. But don’t rule out travel agents. They will often be your best bet for accurate information as well as inside deals.

“Ask for Unpublished Rates” says founder Bob Diener. He suggests to call the hotel directly and ask for the “Unpublished Rate,” which can save you 20% or more.

You can avoid many extra hotel fees. Be aware that  there are many items that may incur a fee which you may not have been informed of. Ask at check-in for an itemized list of everything they may charge you for, for example: daily newspaper delivery or an extra bed or crib.

Minibar expensescan add up quickly. Some minibars are equipped with a sensor, and you end up with a charge when an item is simply moved – even if you don’t use the item. Find out first before you check-in if that’s the case for your hotel.  Better yet, ask them to remove the mini bar contents and any other “offers” that look like they are “gifts” but aren’t, like that bottle of wine or water, the bag of snacks, or the enticing “gift basket” sitting on the counter. You can even request this to be done before you arrive.

Ask the hotel for a referral to a nearby grocery store, and supply your own snacks and drinks at a fraction of what the hotel charges.

Hotel videos and DVD rentals steep prices can be a drain, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Try renting from a nearby shop for far less.

Hotel Alternatives:

Staying in a home can be a real money saver.You get to experience a location as a resident would, an enriching addition to any travel experience. You can prepare your own meals and snacks and dine in sometimes. A family can be together without needing to secure separate or additional room rentals. Friends can all stay together and share expenses. Deposits are usually required, but would be refunded after your stay if there has been no property damage. Catch the video from the Better Business Bureau for safety pointers.

  • Rent a house or a condo. Home owners list their homes, vacation homes, or timeshares for rent.  Some resources:,,, and
  • Home Swap. If you are a renter or owner of a house, condo, yacht, villa, apartment  or RV consider a home swap, or staying in a home as a guest. Often a vehicle is included in the swap. You pay nothing more than the membership fee.  Some resources: charges a minimum enrollment of three months which runs about $47.85. offers a yearly membership fee of about $119.00.
  • House Sitting. If you don’t have a home to swap, it is still possible to stay for free by house sitting. Seasoned traveler Nora Dunn writes about her house sitting experiences for CareOne Debt Services blog and lists three house sitting job listing Web sites.

Smaller sometimes is better. Consider a smaller hotel, pensione or bed and breakfast, ranch, or guest house. Many are privately owned and operated with detailed and friendly pride. They are usually less expensive than a major hotel chain or resort. Often a meal is included. A resource:

And, even smaller: Micro Hotels. Ultra small hotels are popping up all over. Typically these offer very, very tiny paired-down rooms, with starting rates as low as $75 a night.  When they began showing up they were often geared toward the younger traveler, but with the growing budget-savvy trend for travelers, there are now many “luxury micro” hotels emerging which provide luxurious amenities. If you aren’t going to be spending much time in your room anyway, this option can offer you tremendous savings. Do an online search using the term “micro hotel” and you’ll find many. A few examples: NYC’s The Pod and The Jane. NiteNite is in London. Yotel, is in London, Amsterdam and just opened in Times Square in NYC, Spring 2011.

Location, think outside the perimeter. If your vacation plans are taking you to one of those popular busy tourist spots or attractions, try this: find your destination city on the map, but before booking your hotel there, check for outlying areas and towns a short distance from that spot. The hotel, dining and shopping rates may be considerably less, but you’ll still be very close to where you want to tour.

A word about all inclusive and Cruises:

All inclusive destinations or cruises can often be a bargain, not only in price but if you’re looking for just about as “worry free” a time as you can get, this is probably your best bet. However, it pays to plan ahead, and that also includes all inclusive vacations. There can be many pitfalls and there are always hidden costs. Find out before you go exactly which services and products are included in the “all inclusive” fare, and which will run up extra charges, like salon and spa visits, top shelf drinks, higher end restaurants, and yes, even disembarking charges. And be advised that port-of-call tours provided by the cruise line are “offered” at premium high-end prices compared to local tour operators you could secure on your own.

More travel money saving articles:

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Traveling? Save Money Getting There and Getting Around

Planes, trains and automobiles… busses, bikes, and taxi cabs… airport ticket prices, extra fees, and transportation costs in general take a hefty toll on your travel budget. But it doesn’t necessarily have to completely drain your wallet. Go ahead! Tour the town, sight-see, enjoy museums and historical landmarks. We’ve assembled great travel money saving pointers from the best experts in the field to help you get the most transportation cost cutting bang for your travel buck.

Booking a flight:

  • Ticket prices are usually lower when purchased three weeks to several months out.
  • Prices drop a week and a half from your departure date.
  • Prices jump when within one week to your departure date.
  • Cheapest flights leave on a Tuesday or Wednesday or Saturday.
  • Being flexible by even one day can often lead to big savings.
  • Often there are extra fees for booking over the phone. Online is the better way to go.
  • Check airline prices constantly, as often as several times a day.
  • Visit several online booking sites, like Orbitz or Kayak each lists different carriers, no two are alike.
  • Check sites that purport to be able to “predict” ticket price trends. Though not always accurate, it’s worth a try. The following were suggested in a USA Today Travel article:
  • Foreign, budget, or start-up carriers sometimes have cheaper rates. For those try MomondoSkyScanner, WhichBudget.
  • After checking around, go directly to the airline’s websites. Often they are cheaper and you are more likely to be able to place a hold on a ticket for 24 hours. That’s long enough to possibly find a cheaper ticket somewhere else and still have that saved ticket if not.
  • Sign up for membership in credit card and airline loyalty clubs. You’ll receive email notices of special promo deals being offered to airline club members. Accumulate points to trade in for tickets and upgrades on future travel. For updates on programs & offers check WebFlyer and FlyerTalk.
  • 26 years old or younger?  Check for student discounts and/or youth discounts.
  • Senior? Check for senior discounts.
  • Travel Agents are often the best source for international travel savings.
  • Check prices for surrounding airports.
  • When booking for a party of more than three people process each ticket as a separate order. If you do them all together, they will all be booked at the highest price listed. If you do them separately you may be able to get some of the tickets at lower prices.
  • Avoid those extra fees – they’re hidden all over from the moment you try to purchase your ticket to the luggage surcharges and even check-in fees when you try to check in…And important to remember: different countries have different fees and surcharges.  Here is a list from USA Today of some of the U.S. airlines and their fees, as of 3/10/2011.
  • More tips in these videos:

Booking an all-inclusive tour as a way to secure cheaper airfare may sometimes, though not often, work.

  • More tips in this video:

Around Town  and Nearby Transportation:

Ask about the details ahead of time. If you are not renting a car or taking public transportation, ask your hosts or hotel ahead of time if there are specific transportation arrangements your place of lodging will provide you from your entry port. If your lodging hosts don’t offer this service, ask if they could recommend a reliable service, or advise you on which taxi cab service to use, what fees to expect and what tip would be appropriate. Confirm that fare with the driver before your ride begins, and ask if that fare includes extra charges like tolls and taxes.  This would also apply to anywhere else you later might be touring.  A useful site for to and from at airports around the world:

Taxi’s around town can be pretty pricey. Again always try to confirm the fare or approximate fare with the driver ahead of time. Sometimes if you find a driver you feel particularly comfortable with, you can discuss a flat-rate option, reserve pick up times in advance, or even ask them to host as a tour guide for a reasonable price. Important to note: sharing a cab does not always mean a reduced rate. Many times the fare quoted is per person. Always check first.

Parking fees add up quickly. Ask if the hotel might wave your fees. For parking around town, there are often coupons and discounts, available. Check with your hosts, hotel, visitor’s bureau, and check online.

Bicycle. There are alternative modes of transportation that could be fun as well as less costly.  Bike tours include the bike rental in the cost of the tour.  A typical bike-only rental in the NYC metro area starts at $7 an hour on up to $40 for 24-hours with helmet included.

  • More tips in this video:

Rental Cars. There are ways to save on car rentals. In our previous post, Cheap Car Rentals, Money Saving How-to Tips, we list 22 ways to save money and/or get more for your money on a car rental.

Public busses, subway, inner city rail and light rail are good options for getting around within the town and to nearby areas. You can often purchase discounted multi-use passes for busses, mass transit and railways, some of which allow for multiple or unlimited use over a designated time period. Many do a “continuous loop” around town and offer points to jump on and off at anytime throughout the day or night. These are usually offered as a 24-hour pass, a multi-day pass, or for a week. Another option for either city-to-city or around town travel are privately owned bus or tour companies.

Country to Country Rail. Just like with airline tickets, there may be discounts available for rail. They can differ from one source to another, so do a little price checking online first, or seek assistance from a travel agency, who is privy to insider international travel offers.  And in addition, you can often purchase discounted passes for busses, mass transit and railways, some of which allow for multiple or unlimited use over a designated time period. Check these sites for more rail info: Canada: VIA Rail Canada. Europe: Eurail. U.S.A: AmtrakRailServe is a comprehensive world-wide search directory for all things rail.

Across the board, for just about anything: Don’t forget to ask about group discounts – sometimes even just a party of two can constitute a “group.”

Google maps has a feature where you can map routes for  bus, train, bicycle or by foot between 448 cities throughout the world.

  • More in this video:

More money saving travel posts:

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Select Money Saving Tips From Bottom Line Personal

  • Receive Even More College Financial Aid
  • Have Your Own Free Website
  • Airline Online Price Search Changes to Note
  • Free Online Books (and you don’t need an e-reader for them!)

We were reading the Feb 15, 2011 edition of Bottom Line Personal newsletter’s in-depth articles on common tax mistakes, divorce and social security, bond investing, DIY household repair, and vital health information, and we came across a couple of quick money savers from Bottom Line Personal’s arsenal of experts that were too good to keep to ourselves. We just had to get these tips out to viewers and readers right away. Here they are,  straight from Bottom Line Personal, “Home of America’s Top Experts in Everything:”

Receive even more college financial aid:  To get more college financial aid be prepared to show the school evidence that does not appear on the federal student-aid form, such as high medical bills. Or show a significant change in family circumstances, such as a job loss.  If you do not have major issues such as these: Look for something specific to request, such as a winter-clothing allowance if you live in a warm climate and the school is in a cold one. What to do: Write a two-to-three paragraph letter requesting additional aid. Send it as soon as possible — aid is often given on a first-come, first-served basis. If the aid appeal is rejected, look into options such as awards offered through specific college departments and private scholarships with later deadlines.
– From Consensus of college financial-aid administrators, reported at

Free Web pages: Have your own personal Web profile. Create a site all about you without having to know all the intricacies of Web page development. At or, you can create a free account and then create your site. You can use the site to tell people about your interests, job and other activities. You also can link the site to your social networks (Facebook, Twitter) recent photos or videos, blog posts, etc… and you can post ways for people to get in touch with you. The sites enable you to make great electronic business cards and signatures for e-mails.
– From Research Editor David Boyer, Bottom Line Personal’s resident computer guru.

Airline booking site changes: Consumers must now search more airfare sites to find the lowest prices, says travel expert George Hobica.  Fare-comparison Web sites and recently stopped carrying American Airlines listings amid growing tensions between airlines and travel sites.  Southwest Airlines refuses to list fares with third-party services, and Delta Airlines is no longer on several small comparison sites.  Self-defense: Visit individual airline sites, as well as such sites as, and, which don’t directly sell tickets but compile listings from other travel sites.  Also sign up for e-mails from airlines.
– George Hobica is president and founder of, a low-airfare alert and advice site, based in New York City.

Books for Free: A lifetime of reading:  The Online Books Page has more than one million books available for free downloading or reading online.

For further money-saving and informative tips on everything, visit  Bottom Line Personal online:

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7 Money Saving Winter Travel Tips

The winter travel season is a full one, containing Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, February/Winter school breaks, and Valentines Day – plenty of opportunities for travel. While any warm weather sunny destination would be a welcomed change from colder weather locations, a snowy spot with great skiing and winter sport activities is also a big draw. And don’t forget cruises, a year-round welcomed travel adventure. Wherever you may be thinking of venturing, these pointers on winter travel will make it less stressful and easier on your budget for smoother sailing, or skiing, or…

14 Tips to Save Money on Cruises –  14 top travel savings tips to get the most from your vacation budget while onboard cruise ships from travel advisor, Jason Cochran.

Ski Resort Savings – Budget friendly ways to save on winter getaways and vacations from Travel Insider, Jeanenne Diefendorf.

How to Afford a Winter Vacation – Title says it all!  A little planning will take you far toward making your winter vacation a reality. These 5 money saving pointers on budgeting & travel planning will get your where you want to go!

How to Plan a Winter Vacation – Booking a vacation over the holidays? Amy Ziff, Editor-at-Large, gives insider tips for getting the vacation and savings you really want.

Travel Planning Tips – Thinking about booking that vacation?  Bob Atkinson,’s travel expert, gives his top ten tips to make it easy and as easy on your budget as possible.

Avoid Hotel Money Traps – Did you know that your hotel is rigged with money traps? Christopher Elliott tells you the top 3 traps to watch out for so you can save money while traveling.

Use Credit Cards to Save in Bartering – Here’s an simple unconventional use of credit cards that could add up to big some money savings during vacation travel… or maybe anytime, from travel reporter, Peter Greenberg.

More travel money saving pointers in SLTV post:

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