Many Americans spend the whole year fantasizing about those precious few weeks of vacation, when they can escape corporate politicking and their tuna-fish-sandwich-eating office mate.
But if you want to truly unwind during your time off, don’t allow money worries to cloud your brain. Making the most of your travel dollars will give you peace of mind and set the stage for a relaxing vacation.
I often hear tales of people who snag free airfare with frequent flyer miles. But I give zero regard to an airline’s service or customer rating, which is why I use aggregators such as Mobissimo and Kayak.com to find the cheapest flights.
Use Manilla, a productivity tool that helps you organize frequent flyer numbers, among other things, in one location.
Additionally, get on the TravelZoo email list, and receive the week’s top 20 best travel deals (many of which include steep discounts on airfare) delivered directly to your inbox.
Admittedly, I’ve scored a number of decent hotel deals through Priceline and Expedia. But personally, I’m over hotels. Their rooms are usually cramped and overpriced. For affordable and spacious accommodations, check out HomeAway, 9flats.com, and, my personal fave, Airbnb.
With Autoslash, you reserve your car rental through their website at the regular price. After booking, without further action on your part, Autoslash applies available coupons and discounts to your reservation. The company automatically rebooks your car rental if the price declines prior to your pick-up time.
Forgo the headache and added expense of rental cars completely by lodging near the places you’ll likely visit on your trip. Input the address of your destination on Hipmunk and the site displays a map that includes nearby hotels along with their TripAdvisor review rating and nightly price.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hunt for the best airfare, hotel, and auto rental deals. But you might overlook an expense that can blow deep holes in your vacation budget: meals.
Stretch food dollars by planning where you’ll eat. UrbanSpoon.com allows you to search for restaurants by neighborhood, price, and cuisine.
And don’t forget to check-in on Foursquare for surprise specials.
By opting for lodging with a kitchen and eating in, true travel ninjas save even more money. Cooking at least some meals at home will free up cash to spend at fancier eating joints.
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