6 basic travel tips to save you money:
by Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
1. Choose to be flexible with your trip, in order to find the best deals-
If you want to save the most money on travel, you may have to do something many people either can't or won't do — don't pick a specific travel destination or date. The opportunity to be flexible will really come in handy when you’re choosing to plan your trips. The more flexibility you have about when and where you desire to go, the more likely you will find a really great deal. Escape Destinations Travel is a super great site for comparing fares. We have a search engine on our main page, or simply pick up the phone and give us a call or shoot us an email. If you have any flexibility in your plans, you can use our handy Flexible Search option to indicate how many days "before" or "after" your ideal date you'd be willing to travel. You'll see a list of fares for each destination, and you'll notice that it can vary widely from day to day. Flexibility rules in saving money!
2. Let that great deal drive you to the destination-
The key is to buy the deal and then figure out why you want to go there. That's always been my travel philosophy. If you found a great price on a trip to Vegas, then be willing to discover someplace new! Let the deal drive the trip instead of picking one place, and time, and trying to find an airfare deal/vacation package to get you there.
3. Fly on a discount airlines-
It is true, you can save some sweet mula when you book with the discount airlines! You will get a much better experience on the discounters than the full-fare airlines, regardless of the price. Our nation's discounters include: Alaska, Allegiant, Frontier, JetBlue, Hawaiian, Southwest, Spirit and Virgin Air, among others. We recently flew Spirit airlines and it as good! Basic no-frills type airline (think like Southwest) and you've got it. It was definitely worth us saving some additional dough for our trip!
4. Avoid baggage fees by not checking a bag-
It is really ridiculous if you ask me, but now, there’s only two discount airlines — JetBlue and Southwest — that allow you to check a bag without paying a fee. Your first bag is free on JetBlue. Southwest, meanwhile, allows up to two checked bags absolutely free. Some charge you for your carry on as well, spirit airlines began doing this recently…so pack lightly! And do the math, those bags can add up quickly (especially on round-trip airfare).
Of course, not everyone lives in a market served by JetBlue or Southwest and we understand the frustration with not being able to get low cost fares. There's still one other way to avoid baggage fees no matter which carrier you're flying: Don't check a bag! I purpose to travel only with what an airline permits free as a single carry-on — usually a 22x14x8 piece of luggage. Another plus is I never worry about the airline losing my baggage. No more being in a strange land without a fresh pair of undies on!
5. Track airfares online and then get a refund if the price drops-
Have you heard of airfare envy? That's when you buy a ticket and find the same itinerary for less money afterward. The good news is that there are a handful of airlines that will give you a voucher for the difference if you ask. These include Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest, United, US Airways and others. Ask your friendly travel agent at Escape Destinations Travel for further details. WQ
But unless you religiously follow airfares after you've made your purchase, you may not even know that you overpaid. That's where Yapta.com comes in handy. After completing the free registration, Yapta will then e-mail you when your flight goes down in price and help you get a refund for the difference.
One warning though…some airlines will charge super big fees if you cancel your plans after booking your flight. United and US Air both charge a whopping $150. So make sure it's worth your while before you get involved.
6. Know when to purchase trip insurance-
Travel insurance policies are designed to protect the consumers by giving them refunds in the event of illness to the traveler or immediate family member. Also it will provide a refund in the case of company, cruise line, tour operator or airline default.
These policies should always be purchased when you are taking a cruise, a tour or traveling on a trip that requires pre-payment of thousands of dollars. Consider purchasing a policy independent of the cruise and always use your travel agent, as they can check with multiple companies to get you a good price. It’s always good to comparison shop for policies.
You can expect a policy to cost right around 6% of the total cost of the trip. Of course, it's possible to run that number way up.
So there you have it, some terrific ideas to help you get started on saving money on your next dream trip!
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