Here are a few of my favorite budget travel tips:
Old downtown hotels in many cities frequently offer lower weekend rates. That's the word from Melissa Gracey, a bank marketing specialist.
For work and for pleasure, Gracey is frequently on the road and while traveling, she's learned to conserve dollars. For instance, for weekend trips, Gracey typically books elegant rooms in grand old hotels in the downtown districts of the cities on her itinerary. Her rationale is simple.
"Nothing goes on downtown on the weekends. You can always get cheaper rates on weekends," Gracey says.
From Washington, D.C., to Denver, business districts are often ghost towns on weekends, therefore, the operators of many upscale and historical hotels will significantly cut room rates to fill vacancies.
Consider the evidence. One summer, Gracey and her siblings took their father, Gene, for his 60th birthday, to Milwaukee to visit the Harley-Davidson factory. Gracey booked downtown quarters in The Pfister, a 150-year-old historic hotel. The family paid a weekend rate of $120 per room, a considerable savings from the weekday rate of $400-plus, Gracey says.
Likewise, in Denver, Gracey has enjoyed handsome savings at The Brown Palace, another historic hotel with weekend bargains. And in Memphis, The Peabody also offers steep discounts on weekends. Gracey also saves money on airline tickets. She conserves cash by always comparing flights that leave from either Miami International Airport or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International.
Sometimes a flight to the same destination will be $50 cheaper, depending on the airport. "You can never tell which airport will be cheaper. I always check both," Gracey says.
Her routine also includes a price check at Southwest Airlines. That's because Gracey, as a frequent traveler, has discovered that Southwest is constantly adding new destinations with rates as low as $59 a ticket. The airlines also offers various specials through Internet sales, she adds.
Family vacations can present many opportunities for parents to educate children about finance, says Jessica Cecere, president of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Palm Beach.
"Vacations and weekend getaways are something to look forward to and with careful planning, they can fit into your budget," Cecere says. "Showing children you can have fun without spending hundreds of dollars is an important lesson in their financial literacy education."
Compare prices for transportation and lodging options, searching for special Internet-only offers and discounts, and identifying fun and affordable events and attractions. source for the tips below: Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Palm Beach
* Enroll in frequent flier, hotel rewards and preferred customer programs. They offer future savings and usually have no membership fee.
* Book lodgings with amenities. If you're among the 55 percent of U.S. residents who stay in hotels, motels or a bed-and-breakfast when traveling, choose lodging with free breakfasts, swimming pools and fitness centers.
* Consider driving. A family can save hundreds of dollars otherwise spent on airline tickets and destination rental cars by driving. Traveling by car, truck, camper/RV and rental car accounts for 79 percent of domestic trips.
* Pack food and snacks. Packing sandwiches, fruit and beverages rather than eating in a restaurant can save a family of four almost $50 per meal.
* Research airline options. Be flexible with your air travel plans. Layover flights are often less expensive than nonstops. If several airports are within an hour of your destination, compare ticket prices. Staying over a Saturday night and purchasing your ticket in advance could reduce your airfare by two-thirds.
* Book cruises months ahead. Rates are typically cheaper with advanced purchase. Remember to budget for drinks, tips, side trips and souvenirs.
* Go out for lunch rather than dinner. Restaurants charge less for lunch.
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