32. Save $1,000 per year – Save money on vacations

This article describes ways for you to save money on vacations.

Get the grandparents or parents involved when going on vacation so they pay part of your bill, order earlier, book direct/online like on websites venere.com, go to cheap countries, or spent only 1 week instead of 2 weeks vacation (like 1 week on vacation abroad, and stay 1 week at home), book your vacation months upfront also saves you money.

Book flights and hotels separately (for best deals and dates) instead of packaged vacation deal from tour operator also saves money. Check out the hotel the tour-operator is offering, try to book the hotel online yourself, you can even visit the hotel itself on the internet.
Also, they make most money by having you pay the hotel room twice, how? If you can stay in a shared hotel room (thus for 2 adults), they charge you for 2 persons thus 2 rooms rather than 1 at the travel agency, that’s their secret. Call the hotel and ask them how much it costs, a shared hotel room for 2 persons, you will pay half, while you skip the half pension or full pension for both of you, you only pay for the hotel room and eat outside the hotel, you can half the cost of the vacation. Your 2 children can also stay in a shared room. So you only end up paying for 1-2 rooms. The flight tickets must be purchased individually.

When you are about to organize a trip, you need to compare the costs of different booking sites. There is no need to waste your time making comparison charts; BookingBuddy.com enables you to find the best deal within minutes.

Plan vacations ahead of time: Vacations are a necessary part of saving our sanity in the busy lives that we lead. But vacations are also a huge drain on the family finances. You can cut the cost of a vacation significantly by planning and booking ahead of time. Bookmark travel sites for finding inexpensive airfare, hotel etc., and book at least two weeks in advance.

Cut down on your vacation spending. Instead of going on a big, extravagant trip, pack up the car and see some of America some years for vacation. One of the best vacations I’ve ever taken was when my son was an infant – we just packed up the car and drove around Minnesota, eventually camping for a few days along the north shore of Lake Superior. For a week long relaxing vacation, it was incredibly cheap and quite memorable, too.

Book your own 'package' holiday online. The popularity of travel agents is waning as more and more people warm to the benefits of researching and putting together their own holidays on the internet. If your holiday consists of flights, accommodation, transfers and possibly car hire, then take this test. Order a brochure from a leading holiday company and work out the price of your holiday including all the complicated supplements. Now go online and, starting with the flights, try to put the same package together.

Consolidation in the airline industry, coupled with rising fuel prices, makes finding cheap flights quite the challenge these days. I’m planning a trip to Las Vegas this August, and I’m already using all the smart travel-booking websites - but although FareCompare tells me now is the optimum time to book my plane ticket, a search on Kayak shows me that the least expensive direct flight from New York will cost me a whopping $600 round trip. Ouch.
But travelers will find there’s far more room to save on lodging, food and other related travel expenses. Here are four ways to lower your expenses, as well as some new Web sites that can help.

If you're going to buy travel insurance, make sure you only get coverages you need, like trip cancellation coverage. Policies insuring your luggage are normally so riddled with exceptions that they're virtually useless.

You can lower the price of a roundtrip air fare by as much as two-thirds by making certain your trip includes a Saturday evening stayover, and by purchasing the ticket 14 days in advance.

Since car rental rates can vary greatly, shop around for the best basic rates and special offers. Rental car companies offer various insurance and waiver options. Check with your insurance agent and credit card company in advance to avoid duplicating any coverage you may already have.

Compare low-cost carriers with major carriers that fly to your destination. Remember, the best fares may not be out of the airport closest to you. To get the best deal possible, be sure to check prices on flights from two or more airports in your area. The savings may surprise you and be well worth the little extra driving time.

Even if you are using a travel agent, check airline and Internet travel sites, and look for special deals. If you call, always ask for the lowest fare to your  estination.

Comparison shop online to find the best fare and then visit the airline Web site directly. You'll save the booking fee charged by the online agency.
Purchase tickets on the airline's Web site. Many airlines will slash 10 percent off ticket prices to customers who purchase them online.

Fly on smaller airlines. It often means lower fares and you're not compromising on safety or comfort.

Whatever ticket price you're quoted, make sure it includes taxes and fees. They can bump up a ticket price by $100 or more. Some ads for low fares don't include taxes and fees.

Cut airfare costs by traveling offpeak days such as Saturday and Tuesday through Thursday.

Traveling at offhours may save you money. The lessfilled 6 a.m. flight can be a bargain.

Join the frequentflier program of each airline that you fly to earn free tickets.

Use an airlinereward credit card to make monthly purchases and pay that balance off every month. You'll accrue air miles faster. Cash them in for ticket upgrades and free travel.

Travel to destinations during their offseason: Europe in the winter; the Caribbean in September and October; Hawaii in May or September. Do your research.

You can book a rental car in the low season for less, even if you'll be using it in the peak season.

Rent the smallest car practical for your use. Not only will you save on the rental, but on gas, too. When you're at the rental counter, ask for a free upgrade.

If you are visiting a large city, use public transportation instead of renting a car.

Avoid renting a car at the airport. You'll find more competitive rates, plus avoid extra surcharges at car rental agencies away from the convenience of the airport.

Fill the rental car up yourself before returning it. But don't fill up at the gas station nearest the car rental return lot you'll pay more than at a station a couple of miles away.

If you're a member of any organization, such as AAA or AARP, ask about travel discounts.

Hotels in cities are usually cheaper on the weekends when business travelers aren't staying there, but hotels in resort areas or other places that are popular with leisure travelers are often cheaper during the week.

Research places of interest to visit before your trip or visit the local visitors' center. By traveling off the beaten track, you'll avoid the expensive tourist traps.

Travel with a cooler so you're not purchasing drinks and snacks at every rest stop.

Sample local fare from a farmer's market and enjoy a picnic dinner at a peaceful stop along the way.

Tourist spots sell everything from film to sunscreen, bottled water and aspirin for prolonging your fun at a higher cost. Purchase these items before and save.

Other ways you can save money:

1. Dine with Locals
Rather than pay hundreds of dollars on restaurant fare, you may be able to find free local, home-cooked meals on your next trip via InnerDinner.com. The Web site connects local hosts all over the country with travelers looking for a more unique experience. You may be asked to bring the wine or dessert - but even if not, you should offer to anyway. It’s just good manners.

2. Skip the Hotel
Locals are not only opening up their kitchens to travelers - they’re also offering their homes as an alternative, more affordable place to stay. Find guest rooms in local homes and apartments through Web sites likes AirBnB.com (currently listing an apartment in central Paris for $89 a night) and OneFineStay.com (exclusively for London travelers). You can search on Craigslist, too.

3. Vote for a Good Deal
TripAlertz.com is a new Web site getting a lot of buzz as a Groupon-like site for travel deals. The site announces new hotel deals and getaways each day. If you like the trip, vote for it. If enough votes are given, TripAlertz puts the trip on sale. At most you pay the Web site’s already discounted price for the deal, but the more people book the deal, the lower the price becomes for everyone. Deals go live every Tuesday and last for 14 days.

4. Swap Timeshares
If you’re a timeshare owner (or have access to a family membership) and want to minimize your costs, know that you don’t have to pay a third-party agency to help you find a swap. Rather than pay hundreds of dollars year in exchange fees, timeshare owners can now communicate and arrange swaps directly at BarterQuest.com and TimeShareJuice.com.

5. Go off-season. You can save 10 to 60%. In general, the best travel deals will be found from November 1 to December 15.

6. Shop around. Airlines offer the most complicated fare structures ever devised. But the advantage is that there are often bargains to be found if you're willing to look. The Internet can be a big help. Most major airlines now offer last minute seat auctions, so check the web sites of the ones that serve your city. Name- your-own price websites like priceline.com can also save you money, as can auction websites like ebay.com or skyauction.com. If you travel a lot, a membership site like bestfares.com can quickly pay for itself with hundreds of bargains on air, rental car and hotel discounts.

7. Hotel high jinx. I never pay the asking price of hotels (well, unless everything in town is sold out.) Hotel rooms are like highly perishable food: if they're not used that day, they're wasted. You can almost always get a better deal just by asking, but do it with a nice smile face-to-face when you check in, or with friendly calls direct to the hotels you're considering. It won't work if you just call national 800 numbers, because they can't negotiate. So call area hotels and pit them against one another. (“Gee, Id rather stay at your place, but the Holiday Inn is $20 cheaper! Can't you match their rate? Pretty please?”) If nothing else, you can often get a free room upgrade just by flashing a winning smile.

8. Get hostel. A hostel is a budget travelers dream, especially if you're the social type. A hostel is a cross between a dormitory and a hotel, and you can find them in most major cities in the world. Quality of accommodations vary widely, but you can often find a place to lay your head for as little as $5. Drawbacks? Sometimes you could end up in communal sleeping and bath arrangements, with boys segregated from girls. Others are more private; you have to call to find out the particulars. You can find current hostel guides at the local library, or check Internet sites like hostels.com.

9. Bed and Breakfasts. These can sometimes save you money, but almost always offer more charm and personality than hotels. The more expensive the city you're visiting, the more money you're likely to save by staying at one. You can find B&B guides online at Internet sites like bedandbreakfast.com and at the library.

10. Use consolidators. Hotel and airline consolidators can save you serious money, since they buy in bulk. You can often find them in the travel section of the Sunday paper, or by doing an Internet search. Drawback? They may not offer as much flexibility in flight times or hotel locations.

11. Use travel agents. These guys can often get good deals, especially if you're in the market for a vacation package or cruise. When you plan a vacation, see what you can do on your own, but before you book, see if a local agent can beat the deal you found yourself.

12. Work in a hostel. Many hostels hire part-time workers in exchange for cheaper rates on rooms. Cleaning up after travelers may seem pretty disgusting, but it’s an opportunity for quick cash, a free bed and some new friends.

Also check out idea nr. 113: $ Save $100s per year – 9 ways to save money on travel insurance

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