Thursday, February 9, 2017

9 Tips to Save You Hundreds While Traveling This Summer

The temperatures are rising, the rain clouds are dissipating and clothes are getting shorter, smaller and thinner by the day-summer is finally upon us. Every year tens of millions of Americans pull the suitcases out of the closets and basements and start packing them, reading themselves for the annual rite of passage-the summer vacation or road trip. For decades this these multi week, mid year sabbaticals have taken place upon great anticipation with increasing sophistication as the years go by.

Initially, these vacations consisted of nothing more that a station wagon, a road map and a car full of people but as technology has advanced, gone are the days of a Woody driving down an empty stretch of Route 66 and upon us are the times of travel websites, passenger planes and rental cars.


Although the internet can be used for nefarious activities, its initial creation and greatest use is for the transfer and sharing of information. It is because of this that you must realize that the internet is your best friend and within its bowels are millions of useful tips on how to keep hundreds of your dollars where they belong which is in your pocket.


With the recent economic events taking place around the globe and especially in America, most people think the days of summer vacations are gone but I’m here to show you how to not only have a memorable summer vacation but how to do it in style and without emptying your wallet. The economy is bad and everyone realizes it but what most people don’t realize is that travel companies realize this too and are hungry for your business. Because of this a few extra steps taken by you could lead to a few hundred dollars saved. In the following article I will offer a few tips on how to the internet as well as some old fashioned charm to help save hundred if not thousands on summer trips this season.


Tip#1- Do your research on the areas you plan to visit. Get online and see if any hotels, rental car agencies or businesses in the area are offering discounts that might be valuable to you.


Tip #2- Sign up for a few loyalty programs offered by different hotels. Almost every hotel chain nowadays offers some sort of discount program for customers and membership is usually free. This can help you in a few ways. By participating in these programs you can usually receive 10% off hotel rates, free upgrades or services or “points” that can be used for gift cards, flier miles, or anything else under the sun. A way to maximize this opportunity is to sign up for two competing hotel chain memberships. If you go to a hotel chain and mention that you are a member of a rival hotel chain’s loyalty program, the hotel will usually give you an even deeper discount of 15% or more as well as “double points” in order to “steal” your business away from their rivals.


Tip #3- Don’t use travel booking websites like Expedia, Travelocity, hotwire, etc… as you can usually find deals even better than theirs on your own with a little research and save yourself the “cut” that website would have taken out of the price you pay for your hotel. These websites usually pay 25-30% less than the BAR (Best Available Rate) as it is known in the hotel industry at hotels and then charge you a 10-15% premium for their services. You can bypass this middleman by calling the hotel yourself and talking to the front desk or sales agent. If hotels are experiencing low occupancy they will generally be willing to drop the rate by upwards of 15-20% if you drive a hard bargain and will usually upgrade you to a suite as well. A little more haggling can get you an early check, late check out or discount coupons for local restaurants.


Tip #4- For those who are renting vehicles to travel in instead of flying or taking your own vehicle, the best thing you can do before renting a vehicle is browsing competing rental agencies for deals. Car rental agencies often offer discounts on their websites that aren’t offered at the physical locations unless you mention them yourself.


Tip #5- Go to Google.com and type in “car rental discount codes” and see what pops up. Car rental and hotel websites are like adult video games in the sense that if you insert certain codes into their website at the checkout stage, the codes will trigger “cheats” that drop rates, offer incentives, etc… For instance, Hertz is currently offering a waiver of the fee they charge for drivers under age 25. This fee can easily surpass 20 dollars a day and if you are renting a vehicle for a week, this discount alone saves you at least $100 bucks. All you have to do is insert the listed code into the code field at the checkout screen and there you go. Other codes found on google.com drop the rate by 25% a day, upgrade the trim level of the vehicle, offer free tanks of gas or add in free insurance. To make this even better, a lot of these codes can be doubled up to add even better value.


Tip #6- For those who are flying and taking the quicker route to your destination, try to book your flight as far in advance as you can. Southwest airlines is offering flights for as cheap as $35 one way and the only requirement is that you book the flight at least 25 days in advance.


Tip #7-For those of you who are driving their own vehicles, it could save you a lot of money to visit a few mechanic shops and take advantage of free services they offer. You can get free A/c checks at a lot of places during the summer as well as free brake checks, fluid checks, and discounted diagnostic tests. Meineke offers free A/C and brake checks, Autozone will scan your car’s ECU for trouble codes and check engine light problems for free, and a lot of places are offering discounted tune-ups.


Tip #8- For those do-it-yourselfers out there, websites like Associatedcontent.com, Youtube.com and Google.com can be godsends. For instance, associatedcontent.com offers free articles on how to turn your gas guzzler into a gas sipper. Google.com can take you to websites that tell you how to give your car a tuneup and Youtube.com gives you video tutorials on how to change your own oil, brakes, spark plugs, etc…Did you know that adding Seafoam to your engine manifold can clean your fuel injectors and boost horsepower and fuel mileage? Or that adding 3 ounces of 100% pure acetone to your gas tank can boost your MPG by up to 5 miles per gallon?


Tip #9- If you have internet access while on your trip, whether it be via an iphone or other web enabled phone, a laptop using McDonald’s free wifi, or other means, you can check on Mapquest.com for the cheapest gas in your area as well as best routes to take to get to your destination.


All in all, there are many ways that you can save yourself hundreds of dollars and all you have to do is take a few minutes out of your day. The internet is your friend and is a wealth of information and using this to your advantage can be extremely advantageous to your wallet. So when you take that trip this summer, implement some of these tips and watch as your wallet stays bloated and your credit card balance stays slim. Happy vacationing!


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