Go to just about any travel website or blog and you’ll find them. There’s tons of great money-saving advice for travel that are well-known such as searching for the lowest airfare at various online sources or packing light to avoid extra baggage fees. However, there several useful tips for saving money while traveling still go unnoticed each year. This is unfortunate because these small things could add up to big bucks in savings.
Here are just a few of them that you can start taking advantage of today.
Enroll Children in Frequent Flier Programs:
For those who travel often with their children, enrolling them in a frequent flier program can help them build miles they can use at later dates. If you do not travel often with your children, be aware that some mileage programs erase anything earned if the account remains inactive for a year or more. If this is the case, you can donate the miles to charity for a tax deduction at the end of the year.
Choose a Credit Card with Travel Benefits:
One often overlooked way to save money on travel is through credit cards that offer travel benefits. Cards such those that offer travel benefits, including points on dining and the ability to transfer points to frequent travel programs. Cards like these can also offer additional travel benefits, including no baggage fees, no blackout dates and direct access to specialists.
There are several ways to save money when taking the family on a cruise.
Often, families complain that it is difficult to afford staterooms that sleep more than four people, and adjoining rooms require them to purchase two rooms at the same category.
One tip for saving money on the stateroom is to book a higher-value cabin for the parents and a cabin of lesser value close to the parent’s stateroom. Bring a baby monitor so that parents can deal with any issues the children may have when they are in the separate rooms. Not only will you get more privacy for the family, but the additional bathroom and closet space come in handy.
Spa services are often less expensive when the cruise ship is docked, so while one parent takes the kids on an excursion, the other can save money by booking a massage at the same time.
Save on Baggage Fees:
If you do not have a credit card that may offer free baggage checks, consider mailing bulky items to the hotel or rental property in advance. This tip is especially beneficial for trips to winter locations, such as ski resorts, where there will be a need for heavy jackets and sweaters. If the items will be shipped to a hotel or timeshare, attach a note to the outside of the box requesting that the staff hold it for your arrival.
Many discount and membership stores, such as Costco or Sam’s Club, offer member discounts for theme parks and other tourist attractions. However, there are often more options available at the store’s website than there are within the store, so begin searching far in advance of the trip. You can have the tickets mailed to your home, but be sure to allow enough time for delivery before you leave. If you purchase the items with a travel rewards card, you will earn additional points towards travel as well.
Road Trip Food:
One of the most expensive items when traveling by car is stopping for fast food or eating in restaurants. One tip to save money on food while on a road trip is to visit the deli counter at a local grocery store. They offer hot and cold options, including rotisserie chicken and side dishes, which allow families many different options for meals during their travels. Another option is to keep chain-restaurant coupons in the car in order to save money on meals.
Renting a car from an agency located in an airport is often more expensive than renting from an off-site location. Many off-site rental companies offer free pick-up and drop-off services at the airport. At off-site agencies, the costs can be as much as $50 less than their airport counterparts.
House and Condo Rentals:
Many times, renting a house or condo is far less expensive than a hotel room. Often, these types of rentals can be found for relatively little at the last minute. Because houses and condos offer full kitchens, you can also save money on food by cooking some of the meals yourself. For those traveling with small children, the ability to cook meals instead of visiting a restaurant is not only a money saver, but it is less stressful as well.
Although many people are aware of common methods for saving money while traveling, few are aware of these simple tips that can lead to significant savings. By booking travel, purchasing meals or buying theme park tickets with a travel credit card, families can earn points that lead to even more savings.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr – Jason Mrachina