Travel Savvy for Spendthrifts
Who doesn’t love to get away in the summertime? Travelling can be enormously expensive, but can fit within your budget with some savvy and a little sleuthing.
It is often more budget-friendly to be flexible both in your travel dates and in your destination. If you are flying, Monday through Wednesday are typically the cheapest days of the week to travel. If you include a Saturday stay over, the price tends to drop even further.
If you are willing to switch departure and destination airports, you can seriously slash your airfare. Depending on where you are going, a quick trip across the border to fly out of a smaller airport down there can save you sometimes half to two-thirds of the full fare at some local airports.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that late Tuesday or early Wednesday are the best days to shop for airfares, as that is just following when many airlines launch their sales.
Talk to a Real Person
Although travel sites often get you the best hotel rates, calling the hotel directly can sometimes yield better results, depending on the season. Hotels are becoming more competitive in terms of trying to offer similar rates to discount travel sites, but you won’t know unless you ask directly. Also, you can often negotiate extra perks, like early check-in and/or late check-out, meals or local attraction passes by dealing with the hotel directly.
Subscribe to Travel Site Newsletters
While you may be averse to filling up your inbox with more mail, these newsletters and deal alerts from travel sites are often worth looking at. A quick scroll through often reveals headlines that may pique your interest and represent huge savings. Be aware though, that often these deals are time-limited, and there are usually only a few rooms or seats left at the advertised price. Be prepared to act quickly.
Read the Fine Print
Sometimes, you really, truly do score an incredible travel deal. More often than not, travel prices that are attractive have hidden costs, taxes or fees that are levied on checkout or when you fly. Sometimes an advertised deal is good only for certain days or times, and full rates can sneak their way into your total bill if the days don’t match up.
Be sure to read all the way through when booking, or ask the person you are dealing with to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Home Away from Home
One major cost centre when traveling is eating out. More and more hotels are offering complimentary breakfast included with the room rate. If not, a number of hotels have refrigerators in the rooms (many times you simply just have to request them) which means you can breakfast in your room with cereal and milk. It is often worthwhile to upgrade your room to a kitchenette (which often includes a microwave and a cook top), which means you can cook in, and save some money for touring.
Last-Minute or Plan Ahead?
From a budget standpoint, there is merit to both planning ahead and waiting until the last minute. Planning long range often gives you the best selection, and prices are often low to entice you to commit now for the future. Waiting to the last minute can be a little nerve wracking, but if you are prepared for disappointment if things are booked up, the saving can be substantial. Similarly, you often have a stronger stance for negotiating price and perks if you are travelling last minute. Travel operators and hotels are having to choose between and empty room or seat and you, and may be willing to get anything they can at that point.