Budget Travel Tips the Pros Use

Budget Travel Tips the Pros Use

02/17/2020

Book Vacation Packages Through Costco or BJs

If you’re a member, Costco and BJs offer great deals on travel. “Costco negotiates exclusive savings on travel packages, and BJs offers discounts and rebates on hotel bookings, car rentals and more,” says Amanda Norcross, lead editor of Family Vacation Critic.

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Skip the Pricey Park Hopper Pass at Disney

“You really don’t need one unless you are a hardcore user,” says Summer Hull, The Points Guy Family Travel Columnist. If you’re going with little kids or you have lots of time on your trip, it’s cheaper to just visit one park each day.

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Know the Best Time to Book Flights

“For domestic travel, the best fares tend to be available 1-2 months before your trip,” says Christine Sarkis, deputy executive editor at SmarterTravel. For international flights, you’ll want to start searching 3-4 months in advance. 

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Know this Trick for the Best Hotel Rates

Not always. Once you’ve searched for the best price, call the hotel directly to ask for a better deal, says Norcross. It’s worth the effort: According to a survey by Consumer Reports, bargaining with a hotel led to a better price or upgraded room 78 percent of the time.

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Avoid Tourist-Focused Restaurants

“Avoid restaurants where the menu is mostly pictures or is translated into a bunch of languages. They’re targeted at tourists and will have higher prices for lower quality,” says Sarkis.

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Book a Cruise During This Season

Right now is one of the best times to find a deal for 2021. During “wave season” (January to March), many cruise lines roll out sales and upgrade promotions, according to Sarkis. If you miss that window, try to book by the end of April. It’s a slow month for bookings, so companies often offer extra perks. 

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Let an App Find You the Cheapest Flight

“There’s no magic day or time — but to find the best rate, set up airfare alerts,” says Norcross. Try Google Flights, Hopper, Momondo or AirfareWatchdog: Enter your destination and dates, and receive notifications when fares drop. When you see a good price, don’t wait—the better the fare, the faster it will disappear. To give yourself the best chance for a cheap ticket, start monitoring prices about two to three months before your departure date. 

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Build Your Own Snack Box  for the Plane

Airline offerings can set you back $9 to $12 per box. Pack your own for a fraction of the cost.

Mediterranean Box: 2 oz. hummus, 1 oz. pita chips, 1 oz. grape tomatoes, 1 oz. baby carrots, 1 oz. cucumber, 1 oz. olives = $2.15

Charcuterie Box: 3 slices Colby jack cheese, 1 stick mozzarella string cheese, 1 soft mini cheese wheel, 2 oz. sliced salami, 2 oz. crackers, 1 oz. dried cranberries = $4.91

Salty & Sweet Treat Box: 4 mini chocolate chip cookies, 2 cups buttered popcorn, 1 granola-and nut bar, 1 oz. gummy bears = $3.54

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