Keeping Your Budget In Check While Traveling
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Here’s yet another post where I’m asking all of you to help answer this frequently asked question… How do I travel and stay within my budget? Check out a couple of the emails I have recently received from readers…
Do you have any advice on how to find the best deals for planning a vacation? I would like to get a head start on organizing one for next year, but not sure where to begin with this (as I have not taken any sort of vacation in 10 years). I would love any advice or helpful hints you may have in regards to how I can save money in the process.
I have to make a trip to Houston, TX a week from today. I need to stay in a Hotel for two nights, and I am unsure of how to get the best deal possible. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you very much for your time!!
Here are my recommendations for cheap(er) travel…
(1) Check the discount travel sites before you book your hotel/flight/rental car (I also recommend that you call the hotel/airline/car rental office directly to be sure that they cannot offer you a lower price)
* Orbitz: Orbitz has a current promotion where you can receive a $300 travel voucher to be used for future flight/hotel reservations when you book a stay at a participating hotel; Also keep in mind that Orbitz has a low price guarantee: If you book a qualifying prepaid hotel rate on the Orbitz Web site, and then find the same room, in the same hotel, for the same dates, at a lower price online, before taxes and fees, they’ll refund the difference and give you a $50 discount on a future hotel booking. Orbitz also offers a low fare promise: If you book an airline ticket on Orbitz.com and then find a lower airfare for the same flights, dates, airline and travelers on another Web site, you may be entitled to a $50 coupon per ticket toward your next Orbitz booking.
* Travelocity: Currently hosting a FREE Summer Night’s Sale (Book 2 nights and Get 1 Free at select hotels); Offers a price and service guarantee similar to Orbitz.
* Expedia: Offers a Best Price Guarantee and a Thank You Rewards Program (Earn points when you book eligible travel and points can be redeemed for future travel or merchandise).
* Hotels.com: Currently offering up to a $100 rebate on hotel stays; Also offering a FREE flip camcorder if you book 4 or more consecutive nights at a select hotel (reservations must be made by July 27th; At booking enter coupon code FLIP5); Also offers a Welcome Rewards program: Get 1 free night for every 10 nights you book.
*Kayak.com: Quickly searches for the best airline, hotel and car deals all in one place!
(2) If you are planning to eat out while traveling, check out the restaurants available through Restaurant.com or check out group buying sites like Buy With Me or Groupon which provide big savings on restaurants, spas etc in large cities. For instance, if you are planning to travel to San Diego, consider registering through Buy With Me or Groupon and choosing San Diego as your city…you’ll then receive emails on the latest deals available in San Diego.
(3) Check out discount gift card/gift certificate sites like Plastic Jungle and/or City Deals. For example, if you’re planning to hit the movies/ice cream while traveling, consider purchasing a $25 AMC Theatres gift card on Plastic Jungle for only $22 (you save 12%…every little bit of savings helps, right?!) or a $50 Coldstone Creamery Gift Card for only $45 (you save 10%). Plus, you can use coupons along with these gift cards to save even more! Are you going to spend more than $500 on US Airways airline tickets? If so, you can save 6% by purchasing a $500 US Airways gift card for only $470! …And remember that Plastic Jungle ships all gift cards for FREE!
(4) Pack your own snacks: Some of my favorite travel-friendly snacks are apples, bananas, granola bars, dried fruit/nuts, pretzels and popcorn. This prevents you from dishing out $7 for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at the airport.
**Want some tips for traveling with kiddos? Check out this post here.
What are some of the ways you stay within budget while traveling?! Let us know in the comments below.