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Savvy Saver: Ways to Save On Vacation (Part 1: Transportation)

Online resources offer unmatched savings on vacation transportation options.

Vacation expenses can add up fast when going the traditional route of booking flights, hotels, and rental cars directly through major transportation corporations.

Over the next few weeks, we will offer some tips on how to enjoy a great vacation the “Savvy Saver” way.

This week, we’ll focus on transportation.

  • Use online websites to book airfare and rental cars.

A great resource for all of these is www.kayak.com. Kayak searches all of the major travel sites such as Expedia.com, Orbitz.com, and Priceline.com to compare prices on car rentals, hotel rooms, and airfare.

Prices tend to fluctuate, so plan well in advance to find the best prices possible. From experience, I’ve found mid-week booking to be the best – specifically a Wednesday at midnight.

  • Be flexible with your travel dates. Sometimes weekend departures are more costly, so flying on an ‘off-day’ will dramatically decrease your overall airfare expenses.
  • Consider flying out of other local airports. In our area, Lehigh Valley International (ABE) Airport is the first preference because if it’s proximity. However, it’s also often more costly in comparison to Philadelphia, Newark and JFK. That extra hour of driving might save you several hundred dollars in the long run.
  • Use coupon books such as the Entertainment book to get free upgrades on rental cars or other discounts. If you don’t have a copy of one of these coupon books, ask your friends or family. Most people don’t use the rental car coupons and will have several companies from which you can choose.
  • Consider using a credit card that will accumulate points for rewards such as gift certificates for rental cars, airfare and hotel stays. There are many out there, so do your research to see which is the best fit for your family.
  • Always ask for an upgrade. When you get to the counter of the rental car agency, hotel, or airline, it never hurts to ask if they have any free upgrades. Don’t count on it, but you might be surprised if they do!
  • Join AAA for additional discounts on ALL things “travel.” Not only does this service give you security on the road in the case of an emergency, they also offer amazing discounts on all lodging (most places participate with AAA and will offer at least a 10% discount on all rates), coupons for entertainment and activities, and travel insurance in the case of a major mishap.

Start with these steps when planning your next vacation and you’ll find you have money left over for other parts of the trip. Watch for next week’s column on how to save on lodging.

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