In 2016 I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel a lot more than I have in pretty much the past 5 years all together. And although I definitely do not consider myself a jetsetter of any sort, I have picked up a couple things on my recent little adventures that could help you save some money on your next vacation or business trip whether this summer or down the road.
- Price Comparison & Research: I feel like in every single one of my “Tips” or “Tricks” posts I make, I always emphasize one thing: RESEARCH! I’m sorry, but I am a law school student, so research is kinda like my bread and butter ya know?
Anyway, when I mean research and comparison, I don’t mean just looking at multiple websites and picking the cheapest flight, I mean breaking down and comparing “all-inclusive” packages versus multiple one-way tickets to and from your destination, versus separate hotel and flights. Still not understanding me? Okay, story time.
So for my recent trip to Myrtle Beach, I kept seeing “all-inclusive” packages popping up everywhere. Like the name suggests, these are packages that you can buy for a set price and it usually includes your hotel for the length of your stay, and roundtrip airfare. I say usually because sometimes, these packages can have fine print that modifies the deal, but I digress.
It was taking me a long time to compare just flights, then just hotels so I found a package I liked and just figured it was the best deal since it included everything. The nerd in me though wasn’t satisfied, so I decided to see how much it would cost me with the same flights and hotels, but purchasing them separately, not as a package.
Boy am I glad I did! I was able to book the exact same hotel on the hotel’s website and exact same flights where I saw the all-inclusive deal and save $200 just by booking them separately and not as a package. Moral of the story, though it is tedious and time consuming, take that extra 30 minutes to research and compare your travel plans, because you could end up saving yourself some money or pocketing extra spending cash.
- Stay within Walking Distance: If you have family where you are traveling to or good friends who can lend you some transportation, you can feel free to fast forward, but if you are visiting an area where you won’t have readily accessible modes of transportation, listen up.
Try to book your lodging near the “downtown” area or near the event center location. I know, I know, that sometimes to stay near the place where you are going to be at can cost extra, but if you book your lodging 15-20 minutes away from where you need to be and have to pay a taxi or Uber to drop you off there then take you back, those $50-$100 you saved on “lodging” are still being spent. And if you enjoyed the event or downtown area so much and want to go back once more, you will have to spend even more money to travel there.
A lot of the time, touristy areas have buses, bikes, mopeds, or go-carts you can rent or even use for free within a couple miles of the downtown area. Also, because it is a touristy area, most of the times, all of the coolest attractions or restaurants are very close to each other so getting around and walking, is even easier.
- Load up on (Hotel) Perks: This kind of goes with the research aspect (what else is new) but when you’re looking at hotels or lodging, pay special attention to the “Amenities” section to see if the hotel offers anything extra to beef up your stay.
The 2 biggest things I look for are “free breakfast” and “airport shuttle”. If I’m in a touristy area, I also see if the Hotel offers free water park or amusement park tickets somewhere with your stay. And no, I am not afraid to admit that. Most of the time when I travel I don’t want to stock up on groceries and make something at the hotel because I know the majority will go to waste, so all’s left is to eat out. But eating out multiple times a day for what could be multiple days is expensive, so why not take advantage of a free continental breakfast if they offer it? If you’re staying 3 days, that’s 3 meals you didn’t have to (directly) pay for.
When I travel, I also don’t always rent a car, especially if it’s only 1 or 2 days. So if all I need is to get to my hotel then back to the airport, why would I pay for a taxi when some hotels offer a shuttle? Same goes for the water park and amusement park passes. If you know you will be going to one of these while on your vacation visit, why not see if you can get them discounted or even for free? That could be between $30-70 you don’t have to (directly) spend. You’d be surprised to know that this isn’t just an ultra-luxurious hotel thing either. I’ve stayed at hotels less than $100 a night with free shuttle and free breakfast.
- Clip n’ Save: Much like taking full advantage of the benefits that could come with your hotel, don’t be afraid to clip them coupons! Almost all of the places I have traveled to offer some sort of coupon somewhere. Whether it’s at your hotel, at the airport, or other locations. Whether it’s for a free airport ride, free appetizer, free entrée, free carriage ride, a % off your admission tickets or free keychain, ESPECIALLY if you are in a “tourist destination” you can find some sort of coupon.
In tourist destinations you can easily pick up a coupon book at the hotel lobby or gas station. If not, check out the area nearby online and print off e-coupons before you leave. I always say that coupons are worth it. At first, $2 off your entrée may not seem worth it, but when you saved $2 here, 10% of your theme park wristband, got one free drink, and one free appetizer 2 days later, the savings really can add up.
*This is not a sponsored post. Picture from publicdomainpictures.net.0