February 22, 2011

Five Budget-Friendly Travel Planning Tips

We're kicking off Travel Week with our favorite travel blogger Shereen from Shereen Travels Cheap. She gives her tips on how to get the vacation you want, without breaking the bank!

Planning a vacation doesn't have to be daunting, and saving money doesn't automatically mean you have to go camping or stay in shady hotels. Here are some ways to stretch your travel dollars and get the most for your money.

offseasonTravel In The Off Season. If you aren't restricted to Summer travel, you can save big by vacationing during the rest of the year. Prices on hotels and airfare drop dramatically after summer months and destinations are notably less crowded. Spring can be a great time to travel to beach destinations, if they are on your wish list. You can find big discounts and the weather isn't too hot to enjoy.

packlightPack Light. With airlines charging for everything from a sandwich to Internet access, it's hard to avoid fees if you're not prepared. One of the biggest is checked bag fees. You could pay $25 or more (each way) for your bag to travel under the plane. There are many stylish and versatile travel clothing brands now that people wouldn't even know were made for travel. With breathable and wrinkle-free fabrics, a few key pieces can be mixed and matched to create a whole week of outfits and take up half the space. Wear a pair of shoes on the plane and pack a pair in your bag. Bring jewelry and other accessories to dress up an outfit for a night out.

bookonlineCheck Prices On Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The new rates for airfare are published on Tuesday/Wednesday and then again on Saturday, for those that wait to book things on the weekend. Tuesday and Wednesday will almost always have the cheapest rates, but if you have some time before you have to book, get up bright and early and check prices on Saturday. Every so often you will find a super cheap rate that was put into the system incorrectly that you can snatch up before the error is caught. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's a total bargain for you.

citypassBuy A City Pass. Most tourist cities have a card you can buy for attractions they have to offer. You pay one discounted price and then skip the ticket lines everywhere you go on the list of participating attractions. These can include aquariums, museums, theme parks, and more.

publictransportationTake Public Transportation. While it doesn't always seem fun to take the bus or subway, it can be a cheap mode of transportation and a great way to see a city. Taxis and rental cars can really break the bank, so if other reliable options are available, look for them. I find public transit to be much more enjoyable when I don't have to take it to work or be anywhere at a particular time. It gets you out in the fresh air and lets you get some exercise by having to walk more. 

As you can see, saving money can actually allow you to do more on your vacation and see more of the city, while slowing down and being able to enjoy it. Remember to check Ebates for even more savings, because they offer cash back on many of the best Travel Stores online!

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