It’s that time of year again: Summer Travel Season. It is enjoyable, but it can also be expensive!
Here are a few tips to get you on your way to saving you some serious cash:
Be flexible: if you’re not determined to go to a set destination, you can save a lot of cash by going to a city with less expensive hotels, less expensive airfare, meals, etc. And if you are willing to fly on an “off” day or early morning time you can often get even cheaper tickets.
Join & use Customer Loyalty programs: Use hotel rewards, airline miles, and loyal customer perks which can save you money on hotel rooms, airline tickets and even breakfast in the morning.
Investigate off-peak adventures: Some destinations are less expensive at certain times of the year, for example, cruises can be less expensive in the middle of the summer.
Transportation: Just getting there can take a huge bite out of your travel budget.
Airfare: Online websites are going to be helpful here. From hot-wire to airline websites, you can save up to 20% just by using the website instead of calling in or using a travel agent.
Car Rental: You can save here by bundling the rental car with your airfare; also, members of AAA and various other clubs can save big on car rental expenses.
Don’t limit your transportation options to just flying or driving. Depending on the distance, day of the week and time of the year, it may be more cost-effective to take a train.
Once you get there:
Take public transportation. Rental cars and cabs are expensive, but public transportation is a steal. For example, in New Orleans a cab ride across town runs about $22.00, but a streetcar will take you the same distance for $1.25. Major cities post their transportation routes.
Don’t pay for overseas phone service. The hotel will let you use their phone to make calls internationally, but you will pay a hefty premium for it. Make sure your hotel has Internet access and set up a Skype or Google voice account before you leave on vacation. Also, some wireless providers will set you up with temporary international calling ability.
Try to reserve a hotel room with a kitchen, buy food locally, and cook in your room. Buy essentials so you don’t have to rely on the hotel. For example, hotels charge a lot for bottled water; buy it in bulk at a local grocery store and keep it in your room.
Make note of these tips while making travel plans and you will be well on your way to saving money and enjoying your trip!
Black Enterprise Columnist Jennifer Streaks is a Financial Columnist, Author and Pundit. Continue the conversation by following her on twitter @ JStreaks or visiting her website www.JenniferStreaks.com.