Seasoned bargain hunters know how to stretch a dollar and still enjoy the finer things in life. When it comes to travel season, we believe a key ingredient to a good time is not necessarily the amount of money you spend on your trip, but how much you save.
Ready to save some time and money? Here are some travel tricks and tips we’ve collected over the years.
9 travel tips & tricks to help save you money
1. When should you book that flight?
Conventional wisdom used to say that Wednesday or Thursday was the best day of the week to find affordable airfare. But a new study reveals a different answer.
The lowest average ticket price for both economy and premium airfares can generally be found on Sundays, according to the ARC 2018 Air Travel Outlook Report. There are also some other factors to consider.
2. Make the company keep its public promise
A lot of times, customers can get what they want by making a company stand by what it has written in black in white. As travel blogger Christopher Elliott points out, “Too often, customers forget that they can lean on the public promises, the “customer commitments” and the advertising slogans when they’re up against a rigorous legal contract. For example, did you know Delta Air Lines promises to offer you “the lowest fare available”? That Avis pledges a “stress-free car rental experience” in its corporate mission statement? And that Carnival Cruises even assures it will do “everything it can to give our guests a lifetime of memories”?
3. How to avoid the airlines’ carry-on baggage fee
The major airlines are cracking down on passengers who try to flout their carry-on baggage fees. But before you start throwing out of your suitcase many of the must-have items you want to take on your trip, there may be a way to pack what you want and keep the flight affordable at the same time. The key is in a technique called “bundle wrapping,” which allows you to fold your clothes in the most efficient way possible.
4. Here’s one thing you should NEVER put on social media
Cybersecurity experts say untold numbers of travelers are going on social media and taking pictures of their boarding passes. If you search the hashtag #boardingpass on any social networking, you see people posting sensitive info on their boarding passes, including flight number, date and barcode.
The travel site Tripzilla says this about the faux pas: “More often than not, the information that is obtained by decoding your boarding pass barcode is enough for one to log on to your profile on the airline’s website and obtain your flight information. Beyond that, the stranger with a decoder can even cancel your flight, change your seats, get your home address and based on your frequent flyer number, even track your past and future flight records.”
5. Google is your (travel) friend
Whenever you’re searching online for cheap flights, always use certain words that could yield savings. Google terms like “discount” “coupon” and “code” when looking for a city to travel to — you might be surprised what you’ll find.
6. What the pros use to find cheap flights
Sites like Google Flights, Orbitz and Kayak use the software created by a Massachusetts company that has partnered with Google. It’s legacy site, matrix.itasoftware.com, is still up and running, though, complete with easy-to-use interface to find the cheapest fares out there.
7. Trick the airline sites to get cheaper fares
If you prefer to buy plane tickets straight from the airline, it’s always good to access the site in incognito mode or delete cookies on your computer or device. Airlines have been known to generally bump up fares if you search for the same route on the same computer or electronic device. Here’s how to delete cookies on your computer.
8. Only buy this type of travel insurance
Travel insurance is designed to protect the consumer in the event that a company, tour operator or airline defaults. But when it comes to weather, different companies vary widely on what they’ll cover.
“You really have to survey the marketplace to see if your particular weather circumstance will be covered,” money expert Clark Howard says. “A lot of the insurance policies offer false hope on that front. That’s why you have to read the policy before you buy it.”
Also, you want to always buy travel insurance that is independent of the company you’re traveling with. Oftentimes, the trip insurance sold by the trip organizer is skewed to protect them — not you.
9. Travel takes two (documents)
You may be pretty good about keeping your most sensitive documents with you when abroad, but Murphy’s Law is international. That means you’re better off if you have a duplicate of any documents you travel with. The U.S. State Department website says: “Make two copies of all of your travel documents in case of emergency, and leave one with a trusted friend or relative.”
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