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How Do You Save Money on Vacations and Travel?

Posted by on Apr. 11, 2016 at 9:56 AM
  • 10 Replies

6 Vacation Deal Mistakes That Can Cost You Money

Tanvier Peart

Lost couple of tourists searching location in a guide and smart phone with a port in the background

Are you in the process of planning what will hopefully be a dreamy getaway? Or, maybe you're contemplating jet-setting to a faraway destination full of warm sunshine and endless umbrella drinks? Hopefully, your answer is yes as everyone needs to put up the "on vacation" sign from time to time. Just make sure you read the fine print before you say yes to any money-saving deals.

Sure, your vacation package might look pretty -- a little too pretty -- and yes, you might be able to save a coin or two. But what happens if your trip turns out to be a dud, and you're unable to get your money back? (Did you get travel insurance?)

Yeah, you might want to take a look at these tips before you commit to any vacation deals.

1. Do your research. "It may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people do not do any research before booking a vacation," notes Greg Geronemus, travel expert and co-CEO of smarTours. Before you send any money, or sign any contract, it's important to put your Nancy Drew skills to the test by finding out all there is to know about the deal in question and the company providing it.

2. Beware of scams. Greg also advises travel hopefuls to keep their eyes peeled for scams. Sadly, there are cruel people in this world who aren't afraid to dupe you -- and take your hard-earned money. "We're hearing more and more about people who show up at a vacation rental home, for example, and find someone else there (double-booked) -- or worse, the home doesn't exist at all!" warns Geronemus.

Yeah ... Google is your friend. (Don't be afraid to use that lifeline.)

3. Don't be afraid to go old school. "One way to assure that great deal is legit is to travel with a reputable company," suggests Geronemus. As convenient as booking online can be, there's nothing wrong in dealing with a real-life human -- aka travel agent. Plus, it never hurts to get quotes from multiple sources.

4. Phone a friend. Should you decide, however, that the Internet is the way to go, always check the booking company's reviews (e.g. Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor). It also doesn't hurt to inquire to buddies about their personal experiences with using Internet deals for vacation.

5. Factor in transportation. Now that you've decided on a vacation, everything is good, right? Wrong. One big mistake many people make is not thinking about getting all the way to your destination. "One of the things that often slips through the cracks is the cost of transportation from the airport, and getting to your resort," mentions J.R. Duren, personal finance expert at HighYa. "Depending on where your resort is located, you could be looking at a $100 charge for a round trip to and from the property," says Duren.

6. Don't assume everything is included. Did you find a flash vacation deal you really want to take? How sweet. Before you click Buy, J.R. strongly recommends that you take a look at the fine print -- specifically if you're planning to travel to an all-inclusive resort. "When you're looking at dozens of vacation deals in an area where all-inclusive is common, you could easily fall into the trap of booking a resort you assumed was all-inclusive -- simply because most nearby packages include that perk," informs Duren.

Here's to finding the your dream vacation (and dream deal!).

How do you save money on vacations or travel?

by on Apr. 11, 2016 at 9:56 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Bronze Member on Apr. 11, 2016 at 10:34 PM
By having certain memberships with reciprocal privileges, we can get the most bang for our buck year round (e.g. Zoo, technology museums, botanical gardens). This way we can enjoy local venues more often, and discover new places when we travel.
by Member on Apr. 11, 2016 at 10:39 PM
Leaving from Detroit metro to Orlando using a travel agent was almost twice as expensive as using a website and planning online. One thing I wanted was a straight through flight, she told me that was not possible, it is possible
by Silver Member on Apr. 12, 2016 at 3:24 PM
1 mom liked this
We drive a lot because of the saving , always ask for the seniors discount if they have one. If we are driving pack a cooler with drinks , luncheon meat. Bring a lot of chips etc so we don't have to stop for every meal along the way.
by Member on Apr. 13, 2016 at 10:44 AM

We bring food as well. I always book a motel "suite" so we can all stay in one room, with a mini-kitchen and fridge.  We plan at least one meal a day in the room - usually lunch - or get a pizza and have it in the motel snack bar area.  If breakfast is included, even better, but we still bring bagels in case the food isn't appealing.

I always book a motel with a nice pool.  During the day we do our sightseeing, museums, aquariums, etc., and then the kids can swim before dinner and have the fun time as well. Works for us.

by Member on Apr. 13, 2016 at 10:49 AM
We are part of a global travel club, we get wholesale prices on our trips. Anywhere from 20-70% off. In fact I just got an airline ticket for my mom at no expense to me, I used the free "bucks" I earned from booking other things and from shopping.

We have a timeshare, thought it would be perfect, but it's more expensive and I regret to this day getting that thing.
by Bronze Member on Apr. 13, 2016 at 10:59 AM

 We don't vacation alot but when we do I just make sure we have enough money to enjoy ourselves.

by Bronze Member on Apr. 13, 2016 at 12:29 PM

Make sure our car is in good working order before taking off. Nothing worse then getting stuck on the road with a major emergency and having to pay top dollar to get it fixed.

I also search ahead of time for deals. We were able to get Kings Island tickets for 1/2 the cost if we bought them before Christmas (which we wanted as presents for our kids). I'm sure they are hoping a few people lose them before summer but ours are in the safe.

by Rhonda on Apr. 14, 2016 at 12:00 PM

We are Farm Bureau members and can take advantage of several lodging/entertainment deals.  We also pack our own food for lunches when possible.

by Bronze Member on Apr. 15, 2016 at 8:35 AM

Basically we just don't go. Last year was the first in about 11 we could swing plane fare to visit family in Florida over Christmas. However, since that doesn't fit your situation, there are some great hacks using credit cards to get miles and perks. I sugest you look at posts on the blog "Club Thrifty". They are masters of that kind of thing. 

by Member on Apr. 15, 2016 at 8:44 AM
Food can be such a huge expense. We always make sure to have at least a refrigerator, but ideally also a microwave in our room.
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