10 Cool Ways to Cut Travel Costs

Looking for ways to save on travel expenses without taking a lame vacation? With a little bit of legwork, you can still have fun without breaking the bank. Here’s how.

Cheeps and Twitters
If you’ve been avoiding social media sites such as Twitter, you may want to think again. Many companies now use these networks to market to customers. Jet Blue, for example, “Cheeps” exclusive deals and last minute discounts on Tuesday mornings. Other companies using Twitter to advertise great deals include United Airlines, American Airlines, Travelocity, FareCompare.com, and many more.

Newsletters and Email Alerts
Signing up for newsletters is an easy way to keep an eye on travel bargains.

• Smarter Travel.com offers Editor’s Picks, Travel Guides and Advice, Deals, Price Comparison, and more.
• Frommer’s is a well designed site that covers travel around the globe. Their current newsletter contains Smart Deals of the Week, a photo slideshow of 35 Places to Take the Kids, a reader’s account of their first trip to Jamaica, a photo contest, and much more.
• Travelocity allows you to sign up for email alerts that keeps you informed on Fare Sales and other great discounts.

Fare Compare
Comparing rates for airlines, car rentals, hotel rooms and the like has never been easier.

• ITASoftware.com lets users scan airline fares for the entire month. To use the service, log in as a guest and click “month-long search.” If you’re travel dates are flexible, you can find the cheapest rates and book them using Kayak.com.
• FareCompare.com’s Fare Compare Lab has an easy to use search engine that searches across sites such as HotWire.com and PriceLine.
• Yapta not only allows you to comparison shop before buying airline tickets, it also offers the nifty service of airline refunds, so if you buy before the prices drop, you can get the difference back!

Bucket Shop
Bucket Shops, such as Airbrokers International, offer deeply discounted international airfare. These companies buy blocks of tickets from the airlines, then resell them to individuals and travel agencies. Before buying from a Bucket Shop, verify that they are reputable.

Go Rental
If you’re going to be vacationing for a week or more, consider renting a vacation home instead of staying in a hotel. In many places, you can rent a home at a weekly rate for less than you’d spend on hotels. Plus, you have the added bonus of being able to cook, which means you won’t be spending gobs of money on dining out.

Clear Cache
Who would have thought that clearing your internet browser records could save you money? Well, according to National Geographic Traveler, it can! Apparently, websites you surf and spend money at track your purchases and will actually charge you more based on your spending history. Clearing your cached sites in Internet Explorer is easy. Click on Tools, Internet Options, and select Delete Browsing History.

Smart Packing
With airlines charging you baggage fees, it’s smart to take crash course in Smart Packing. There are plenty of hints and tips online, in addition to the following:

• Stuff socks and other small items into shoes.
• Pack neutral go-with-everything items.
• Leave enough room in your baggage for items you purchase.
• Pack an extra duffle bag in case your luggage is too heavy, or you buy extra items on your trip.

Find Freebies
Finding free events is easier than you think. Plenty of museums offer free admission on certain days, and many cities and towns hold free admission events during holidays and the summer months. Freebies in New York City include Museum of the American Indian, Central Park, and the Queens Botanical Garden. In Los Angeles, check out the Santa Monica pier, the Griffith Park Observatory, or the La Brea Tar Pits. If you’re in Washington D.C., keep in mind that many of the historical monuments, and many of the museums, are free. And while not exactly free, you can buy an Annual Pass that allows you access to thousands of National Parks and federally managed recreations sites for about $80.

Do Your Homework
Spend some time researching the place you’re traveling to well before you go. Don’t just rely on hotel room brochures or what you can find in the phone book. Knowing the top inexpensive restaurants, hotels, recreation, transportation options, etc. is valuable. Not to mention, it can save you a ton of money.

Write It Off
Business travelers, don’t forget to take a tax write-off for allowable expenses. And keep those receipts in case you get audited.

Sources:

“57 Ways to Cut Vacation Costs”
via National Geographic Traveler

“10 Ways to Cut Your Travel Costs This Year”
via New York Times