Those who gamble were dreaming of a win that would have rendered a desire to save on travel useless. Sure, it would have been nice to win a half-billion in Wednesday’s Powerball lottery drawing. Instead, we’re left with worthless lottery tickets, unfulfilled lotto-dreams and a life that must go on as normal. No doubt, travel will be part of that life, albeit without the gold Rolls Royce for each of our friends. Here then are five quick ways to save on travel.
Airline Tickets- Sign up for every airline’s email notifications of sales, discounts or values. Use a price-watching service like AirfareWatchdog. Sign up for frequent-flier programs and try to be loyal to a favorite airline or airline alliance group. Bump up miles by using an airline credit card for all purchases. Better yet: drive rather than fly if the numbers work out in favor of a road trip vs. an airline ticket.
Cruise Vacations- As long as they are still in the game, use a travel agent who will have access to the best values and can be your advocate for savings throughout the life of your booking. Time is running out as cruise lines try to push consumers to book direct, without representation.Hotel Reservations- Like airlines, sign up for major hotel email notifications, newsletters and past-guest loyalty programs. If possible, book far in advance but check pricing on a regular basis all the way up to the date of stay. Prices can and do change frequently and being on top of it can make a huge difference. Also, avoid discount online sites that charge a cancelation penalty.
Car Rentals- First, check with your personal auto insurance carrier to see if you are covered for rental cars. If so, skip the car company insurance. Next, check the gas mileage possible with different classes of automobiles if not exact makes and models. At the rental counter, that free upgrade to a full-size SUV might cost a whole lot more in fuel than it is worth on a long haul.
Bring Your Own Entertainment- Hotel movie rentals and last-minute, full-price admissions to amusement parks and attractions can be expensive. Bring CDs, DVDs, books on tablets and other small items that will not take up space/weight in luggage if flying. Road trip? Board games to play at destinations work too.
Surely there are many more ways to save on travel but this short list will hopefully chase away the post-lotto depression. Don’t feel too bad though. Often called a tax on the poor or mathematically challenged, the odds of winning the lottery were staggeringly against us anyway.
[Image Credit- Flickr user Peter Gerdes]