Guest Post by Cheryl Maguire
You can save a significant amount of money when traveling by doing some research before you book your trip. Here are some tips to help you save money during your next weekend or week long getaway.
Ask Friends and Family Before you Book – The best way to find out information about an area you plan to visit is to ask people who have been there already. They can let you know what they liked or disliked about the hotels, sites or other relevant information. Compile a list of questions and ask as many people as possible.
Research Transportation – Options Most people would assume driving to your destination is the most economical way to travel and flying is the most expensive. However you should research your options before you make your final decision. For example you can find bus fares for as little as $1 from NY to Boston. Also if you are willing to fly as a courier you might be able to fly for free.
Travel Off Season – The day and time of you year you travel will influence the price of transportation, hotels and restaurants. Sometimes if you are able to travel on a Wednesday instead of a Saturday you can reduce your expenses. Even if you travel during the expensive season rates, these rates can vary according to the time of day, day of the week (weekend vs. weekday) or month (May vs July). Ask travel agents, hotel staff, or airline representatives when the least expensive rates are available. You can also do an on-line search with different dates to compare prices.
Purchase Souvenirs and Other Items Before you Travel – The more preparation and items you purchase before you travel, the more money you can save. Souvenirs and other items are expensive at tourist location. You can purchase souvenirs before you travel and you children will never know the difference. You can also purchase restaurant gift certificates and attraction fees prior to your travel to save money. Here are two websites which offer reduced fees for purchasing restaurant or attraction tickets Citypass and Restaurant.com.
BYO Drinks and Snacks – Even if you are traveling without children, when you bring your own snacks and drinks you will save both money and time. If you are driving, you will avoid the need to stop to purchase these items if you already have food and drinks in the car. Ideally bring food items which could be a snack or a meal such as cereal bars. If you have your own food you will also avoid the temptation to purchase the overpriced food in tourist locations.
Ask Your Hotel About Amenities -If you are staying at a hotel when you check in ask about the hotel amenities and if it is possible to get a free upgrade. Some hotels offer free Internet service, free movies, free childcare/children’s activities or free toiletries upon request. Also if you become sick ask if the hotel offers medical services or medicine before you purchase it.
Browse Local Guides and Newspapers – Local newspapers will list events or activities (which may be free) available while you are visiting. Both guides and newspapers also contain coupons for restaurants, activities or site-seeing.
Cheryl Maguire is the mother of boy/girl four-year-old twins and a baby girl. A stay-at-home mom, she runs a website called Swap Savers, which is a social network for frugal folks who love freebies, coupons and rewards.