Save Money on Your Next Vacation

There are hundreds of ways to cut costs while traveling. Save a dollar here and there and pretty soon you've saved enough for a second vacation! If only you had the time, right? Here some simple (and some secret) ways to save a few bucks on your next vacation.

Transportation Tips

Traveling by Airplane: If you're planning to travel by air, shop online for seats that have been reserved but not paid for. They're cheaper. Try this right after midnight-the time when airlines usually update their computer databases.

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Purchase e-tickets to avoid the extra fee airlines charge for printing and mailing paper tickets.

Traveling by Car: Before you head out on the open road, have you car mechanically inspected and serviced. Car repairs done at home are cheaper than having them done on the road where options are limited.

Auto dealers (and individuals) often need cars delivered from one city to another. In some cases, you only need to have a valid license, insurance and a clean driving record to qualify. For a list of U.S. and overseas agencies arranging car transport, visit www.movecars.com/toc/find/index.htm Count on paying for your own gas.

Utilize Public & Non-Motorized Transportation: Taking the bus, the subway or the trolley can often be an adventure in and of itself. Still, public transportation is cheap, saves on parking fees at ramps and attractions and lets someone else navigate unfamiliar streets while you sit back and enjoy the ride. Bikes and walking tours are another inexpensive and healthy way to become acquainted with your destination. Some cities even offer tours on Segway scooters.

Lodging Tips

Alternatives to the Mainstream: If you're willing to try some unusual accommodations you can expect to save 20-30% on lodging costs. Check with the visitor's bureau to find local university dorms, hostels or convents. The same is true if you are willing to stay in a hotel 20 or more miles away from your destination.

Beware of Hotel "Extras": Some hotels charge a fee just to open the guest room's mini bar. If you remove anything you don't use, make sure to replace it before leaving for the day or housekeeping may charge you for the missing items. Some hotels also charge a fee for using the guest phone, even if your call is toll-free. Use prepaid calling cards while traveling and bring your calling card in case of emergencies.

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Food Tips

Bring Your Own: The easiest way to save money on food while traveling is to bring your own. If you're driving, pack a cooler and purchase food and liquor along the way. Picnics provide you with time to sit, relax, and enjoy the surroundings and give the kids time to run off extra energy. It's also a great time to clean up and organize the car.

Eat Lunch for Dinner: You can save a lot for money at restaurants by eating there for lunch. The dinner menu is sometimes more extensive, but often more expensive.

Eat With the Locals: Find out where the local crowd does to eat. The food is likely to be more authentic, less expensive and you'll get a taste of the local flavor.

Ask Ahead for Coupons: Ask the visitor's bureau or chamber of commerce to send you free maps, coupons and a list of special events. If no visitor coupon books are available, ask if area schools are selling coupon books locally and how you can buy one. Even if you have to pay $10-$15 dollars to purchase a local "happenings" book, you'll save big on hotels, restaurants, attractions and local shopping.

Other Ways to Save

Whether an airline ticket or a hotel room, never take the first price your quoted. Always attempt to negotiate for a better price. Ask about any available discounts (senior citizen, auto clubs, late arrival, extended stay, public radio member, etc.)

Skip the souvenirs and start a postcard or refrigerator magnet collection.

Be a flexible traveler. If you're willing to give up your seats on a flight for someone flying standby, you'll be rewarded with a free ticket. Set aside the dates you want to travel and then watch for last minute deals.

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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September 23, 20050 found this helpful

We save our change from one year to the next, then wrap it up and take to the bank for bills. Then we go on vacation to piegeforge Tennessee Dollywood for christmas. We also give our grand sons 50.00 for christmas. We have enough to pay our hotel, eat out, and go to the shows. Every time we buy something we make sure we get some change to put away for this. We end up having around a thousand dollars saved.

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ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
April 15, 20130 found this helpful

Just a clarification on buying unpaid for seats on the airline? How would we know this? Or are you saying purchase your tickets right after midnight to get the best deal?

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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