Posts Tagged ‘vacation’

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 FareCompare.com, 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 MoneySavingExpert.com 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 Get Free Gasoline! Gas & Travel Savings Perks

No matter what we “hear” on the news and in reports, the price of gas has remained high in the U.S. for several years, and that’s most likely how it’s going to remain. The gas price-crunch is a discouraging situation for those planning vacation travel that includes any driving. But there is some good news: there are ways to find deals and save some money when filling your car’s gas tank. One resource for savings is our own SpendLessTV.com’s Car & Gasoline Channel which is loaded with videos giving tons of tips on ways you can get better gas mileage and find the best prices at gas stations. Another way to receive some fuel tank savings AND enjoy your vacation at the same time, is through hotel promotions. Hotels are feeling the travel pinch too, and in an effort to entice visitors, hotels are appealing to traveler’s gas pump price woes! Here is an excerpt from the July 15, 2011 edition one of our favorite resources, the Bottom Line Personal Newsletter, which lists some current hotel promotions via USA Today:

Hotels are offering gas discounts.  Many US hotels are promoting fuel-related discounts this summer to entice travelers. Promotions include free gas gift cards, discounts on rooms when you provide gas receipts and special deals for people who carpool or take mass transit.
Examples: At Affinia Manhattan in New York City, guests can get a $20 gas gift card if they show a mass transit ticket and receipt.  Napa Old World Inn in Napa, California, gives guests who carpool a two-bedroom suite for the price of a standard room through July.  At the Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach, south Carolina, guests can receive a $50 gas gift card and free night if they book a seven-night stay and check in on a Saturday.

We did a Google search using the term: travel and gas promotions 2011. We found tons of current deals listed… worth taking a few moments to do an online search, or place a call, to see if your destination may be offering a special.

More travel and gas savings tips in these posts:
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Road Trip Money Saving Travel Tips

ROAD TRIP!! There is something about the allure of the road;the freedom to be spontaneous, to take that side road just because you decided in the spur of the moment that you couldn’t possibly miss the world’s biggest ball of string or the museum of gum wrappers, or you just have to taste some local barbecue or explore that hidden waterfall. The opportunity to view the world and enjoy the scenery close and up front is often irresistible.  But even though it may seem like a more affordable mode of travel, a road trip can still be more pricey than what you had anticipated, especially with gas prices on the rise.  Well, we can’t steer you clear of potholes, but we can help you avoid some of the steep prices with these tips on how to save money while keeping your eyes on the road.

Off season. Just as it is with any other mode of travel or vacation planning, traveling during the “off season” will be a big money-saver on everything from lodging to renting a vehicle to park admissions and tourist attractions.

Book Early. Especially during the “on season.” This applies to hotels, parks, camp grounds, etc. It also applies to renting an RV. The earlier you book, the better deal you may be able to secure.

Consider a travel agent. Travel agents often have special promotional packages available to them that you cannot find elsewhere.

Go for smaller when renting a vehicle. Consider the size of your party and the amenities you’ll need, then determine the smallest vehicle you can rent to accommodate that. The smaller the vehicle, the more you’ll save on rental costs and fuel costs.

Rent RV time in bulk. Check the rental packages for buying your time in bulk, they are often better rates.

Check the RV or car rental company’s terms on mileage. Know before you go. There may be limits and penalties. Some discounts may apply to in-state only travel. Ask if any mileage discounts or specials may apply to the trip you are planning.

Avoid Purchasing Extra Equipment. Unless you are going to be doing this type of travel often, it may not be worth it to purchase extra equipment like bike racks and camping equipment. Check with your RV or car rental dealer to see if they offer packages which may include such equipment. You may be able to find good deals on this type of gear from other sports and camping equipment rental companies as well.

Rent an RV direct from an owner. You may be able to save mark-up fees and extra charges by renting a vehicle directly from the owner. One site which does this: 2RVGuys.com. Another which may also have mobile homes available is homeexchange.com which specializes in swapping homes, apartments, boats, and sometimes recreational vehicles.

Be sure you’re getting the most out of your vehicle. Before you leave and frequently during the trip, make sure your vehicle is in good condition, some estimates indicate that a poorly tuned engine uses up to 50-percent more fuel than one which is running well. Make sure your tire pressure is correct; low air pressure can be a considerable gas waster.

Easy does it. You’ll save wear and tear on your vehicle, and save on fuel costs (and traffic tickets) if you keep your speeds under 60 mph; make your accelerations easy and smooth, and ease into stops. Heavy on the pedal and blasting quickly from traffic signal to traffic signal burns up the fuel fast!

Overpacking the car can be a real fuel drain.  The heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it requires, so keep it light.

Food and snack shopping at pricey service stations and convenience stores add up; shop from farmer’s markets or grocery stores to create your own light meals, snacks and drinks.

Watch out when using your debit card at gas stations, they may withdraw more than the amount of your purchase to hold on deposit until after the transaction is completed by the bank.

Use the proper grade fuel for your vehicle. It’s not worth using a supreme-grade fuel if the manufacturer doesn’t specifically require it  or if the car is performing well on regular-grade fuel without engine knocks or lugging.

Service stations in the U.S. change prices between 10:00 am and noon. So keep in the know on price trends; if prices are on the rise, get there before 10:00 am, and if prices are dropping get there after noon.

Gas prices usually rise on the weekends. If you can, try for weekdays to fill your tank.

Use gas finding apps to locate cheaper stations nearby, andkeep in mind if you’re driving a heavier vehicle like a camper or RV, it may not be worth driving too far out of your way.

Gas discounts can be had from various sources. For example, some super market shopper loyalty programs have partnered with gas companies and your accumulated grocery shopping reward points are good toward fuel discounts at those stations. Another discount resource: save an easy 10% off your fuel bill if you purchase gas gift cards in advance from a discount gift card site like ShopAtHome.com or GiftCardGranny.com.

Lodging. Even though you might be staying in your vehicle you may still need to secure a reservation in a campsite, trailer park, hotel or motel along the way. Try to plan ahead for those, particularly during the traditionally busier times of year as parks can often be booked several years in advance.  Check the internet, or road assistance groups like AAA, for coupons and special discounts.

Make sure you have a good road-side assistance program. The small monthly premiums of these programs can save you thousands of dollars in towing and repair fees, and can be well worth it for the convenience alone.

Insurance. Check with your car and homeowners or home renter’s insurance company to find out specifically what you and your vehicle will be covered for. Depending on your existing coverage, you may or may not need an additional Traveler’s policy for the trip.

Anytime you are making a reservation for anything – ask, ask, ask. Ask if that’s the best they can do for you, and if there are any special offers or discounts that are being offered which you may not be aware of.

More road trip travel money saving tips in these videos:

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The Best All Around Never Fail Money Saving Tips for Travel

The price of travel continues to rise. But you can have a wonderful time enjoying your travel and all the adventure it brings from museums and historical sights to just lounging and relaxing without paying astronomical prices to do it. Use these all around great travel money saving pointers assembled from the best experts in the field, on everything — lodging, touring, shopping, dining, and transportation, you name it… you’ll be surprised at how much savings and value add you will receive.

Always, always, always… ASK. We can’t stress or repeat this tip often enough. It’s our Number One money saving tip, and it will never fail to bring you some savings, more value, or both. Be friendly, courteous, polite, and ask:

  • Is there a special offer or promotion going on that I might not be aware of? Do you accept loyalty, membership discount or award programs like AAA or AARP or ____?
  • Is there any possibility that an upgrade might be available?
  • Is there anything else like parking which you can offer?
  • If you are using more than one room, ask if they would permit a break for a multi-room booking.
  • Is there a break if I pay with cash?
  • If you are not a member of their specific loyalty club, you can usually sign up right then and there during check-in, which is especially nice if it is free to join.

When asking for perks or discounts in person, please ask quietly, often the staff at the desk may be able to accommodate you, but they may not want the entire lobby to know it.  And keep in mind that asking at for “extras” like parking compensation or to have internet charges waived is often easier to facilitate at checkout; agents may be more able to credit you than to wave the fees initially.

When thinking about potential discount opportunities, think about anythingthat might apply, use your imagination, the sky’s the limit… ask if they give a discount for it or if they could provide consideration for it. Examples:

  • Local residency
  • Public service and/or emergency workers
  • Union membership
  • Senior discounts or Youth or Student discounts
  • Convention rates
  • Group rates
  • A university or college in town you are visiting
  • A local major business or industry you may be associated with
  • A specific holiday or event in town
  • A specific event in your life like honeymoon, anniversary, birthday
  • Membership in their loyalty program or any other loyalty programs
  • Airline frequent flyer memberships
  • Remind them if you are a returning customer

Always, always, always… check online first.

  • Check several booking and price comparison sites like orbitz.commomondo.com, hotelscombined.com, hotels.com, and tripadvisor.com for lodging, transportation, airfare.
  • Do internet searches that include terms like: coupon, discount, promotion, promo, deal.
  • After you’ve searched for prices elsewhere, check the hotel, resort, theme park and airline’s own websites so you can compare prices, and then call them directly so you can negotiate.
  • Check their facebook page and twitter page.
  • Sign up for email newsletters so you can be alerted to special member deals.

Travel to a destination during the “off season.” Off season works two ways:  you can benefit from traveling during YOUR off season, OR during the off season of your destination. For example, the southern hemisphers’s “summer” is the northern hemisphere’s “winter.”  So, here are examples using New York City: Travel from NYC to Rio, Brazil during the NYC winter months and you will be hitting Rio’s “ON” warmer season, so rates may be high. But travel from NYC to Rio between May and October and you’ll be hitting Rio’s “OFF” season, because it’s their winter your stay may cost less.

Other than hurricane season, there is no real “OFF” season for a Caribbean destination, however: Dec. – April is considered an”ON” season because there are so many folks in the north who want to get away from the cold, so prices from NYC to the Caribbean will be pretty steep. But travel from NYC to the Caribbean during the NY warmer summer months, June through Sept., and you’ll find fare and hotel packages in the Caribbean to be considerably lower.

Watch for crazy specials. You can often find quick deals and specials to honor holidays like Valentine’s Day. But also keep a watch out for unusual events like the Summer Solstice on June 21, or a total eclipse of the moon or sun. And think ahead to rare occurring dates, like 11/11/11. This would apply to airfare, cruises, lodging and even restaurants.

Use credit cards over debit cards. Carry cash for most daily transactions and tips. U.S. dollar bills generally are accepted most everywhere. Some countries don’t accept debit cards, so check ahead. Using credit cards for major purchases like tickets and lodging will offer more protection over debit cards. You can also put in a stop payment request should you need to. And a credit card can be a handy tool to use when bartering. When you make a transaction using your credit or debit card, the rate of exchange you receive will be calculated by those companies. Check with your specific credit or debit card company for their policy regarding their rate of exchange. Some credit and debit card companies may charge a foreign transaction fee which is an additional fee for using the card out of the country.  Find out if yours does. Bring the card with the lowest rates and fees.

Freebies and discounts do exist.

  • Don’t pass up the booklets and coupons featuring local merchant discounts on everything from food to flamingo dancing to fantasy theme parks. These are available from the local tourist bureau or visitor center, and often hotels carry them.
  • Ask your lodging hosts or the hotel concierge if they have additional coupons or vouchers to offer and what events might be going on nearby. However, when asking for a recommendation, keep in mind some concierges get kickbacks for sending you to pricy tourist traps so be sure to ask for their unbiased opinion and suggestions.
  • The local telephone book and newspapers often have activities and event listings along with specials and coupons.
  • Magazines like, Time Out Worldwide and the Entertainment Book are great resources for discounts and free event listings.
  • Do an online search. Enter your destination where the blank is when using the search term: free events ______. Or: free activities _____.

Travel Insurance. It’s up to you to consider if spending from $25 to $100 on travel insurance is worth it, but if tickets and sometimes non-refundable hotel or cruise deposits alone may be costing you a couple of thousand dollars, it may well be worth that little extra to be sure you aren’t left in a lurch should a circumstance change causing the trip to be cancelled.

Don’t be afraid to mention a problem.  If you didn’t receive what you should have, or conditions were unbearable, absolutely ask management for help in solving your problem. Again, we stress to be polite, courteous and willing to compromise. In a recent experience of our own, we accepted reimbursement for the hotel parking fees in lieu of the hotel cafe being closed on two mornings when it was supposed to have been open, their failure to deliver a room service order, and supplying us with frayed, torn and ragged towels; none of which is unbearable by any means, but they were a nuisance and not worthy of the service or the quality of the hotel or their prices. Management was grateful for our speaking up was happy to try to please us.

Tipping. Who to tip, when to tip, how much, how often, and in what currency…  We admit to often feeling insecure about that protocol.. so we’ll leave it up to the experts to advise …

  • More tips from the experts in this video:
  • Tipping Tips- Peter Greenberg

Volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to do something wonderful while being able to travel for less or in some cases, for free, and also receive a tax deduction.

More money saving travel posts: Money Saving Mobile & Cell Phone Travel Apps

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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 Orbitz.com 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, Travelocity.com 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, travelsupermarket.com’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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End Cabin Fever For Free

“There’s nothing to do!” Sound familiar?

From the mid-summer to the post-holiday  lull, finding fun ways to address the ”There’s nothing to do’s” and spend time together without spending a fortune is always a challenge.

In the winter months, once the intense activities surrounding the holidays has subsided The gift exchanges and parties are over, here’s no more shopping to do, holiday cookies have all been given out and and consumed, but…  you’ve still got family and friends visiting from out of town, kids home from school, and a few days off from work  – now what?  You can only play scrabble, read stories, and watch classic James Bond films on TV so many times.  Bowling or the movie theater is always an option, but those can get pretty pricey. Hang out at the mall, and you go over-board with the after-holiday sales.

Recently we spent a day visiting two local art galleries.  One featured an exhibit that was being judged by one of the world’s most well respected print gallery directors who gave a great talk and tour of the pieces. The other was an opening of a new gallery with a collection from modern artists, and they also served wine and food.  We got to enjoy feeling like we were on a little (much needed) vacation, AND the best part: both events were completely free!

We’re going to be on the look out for similar opportunities to stave off cabin fever over the next couple of weeks. There are free events and activities going on in every town all the time, the question is how do you find them?   Some simple tips:

  • Search on line: Put the city and state name, followed by the term: free events. Try also using the terms: free activities  or  free openings
  • Check local newspapers, yes, real newspapers, in addition to online newspapers, local cable TV stations, and local bulletin boards in stores and shops.
  • Sign up for notification: When you’re out doing errands stop in at nearby book or music stores, coffee shops, galleries, museums, colleges, or libraries and sign up to be notified of their events and openings.  Usually you can opt for the more ecological choice and get notified via email. You won’t have to worry about spam if you create an email account to be used specifically for this purpose.

 

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