1. For the best airfare, look beyond the most known online travel sites like flybudget.com. You may know about JetBlue and Southwest, but how about Snowflake, Jet2, Metro-Jet or Zip? When flying in the US, some of the least expensive flights are available on the smaller airlines which are subsidiaries the major airlines.
2. Airlines usually reload their computers at midnight, so this is a good time to shop online for low cost seats that might have been reserved but not paid for.
3. When flying into New York City, be sure to compare prices for flying into nearby Newark, New Jersey instead.
4. When flying to Los Angeles, be sure to compare prices for flying into nearby Orange County, Burbank or Ontario (California) airports.
5. Frequent Flyer Miles- Have them? Use them!
6. Be flexible. Having a specific destination in mind means you may miss out on some big savings. Better to consider four or five locations that capture your imagination, and explore the possibilities for all of them.
7. Take advantage of overbooking. By volunteering your seat when a flight is overbooked you can earn free flights and often even cash from the airline. Monday morning and Friday afternoon flights are the most likely to be overbooked.
8. Exchange or swap houses or look into staying with a host family.
9. While on vacation, use public transportation and look into multi-day passes.
10. Book a stay with hotels that offer free passes to local attractions. They buy in bulk and pass on the savings to get your business.
11. Pre-purchase tickets to museums, sights and attractions.
12. Most museums offer one free or discounted day a week- check in advance and your visit just might be free.
13. Many sights and attractions offer AAA, senior, military, teacher and student discounts. Don’t forget to ask.
14. Look for guidebook and internet coupons.
15. Ask your hotel concierge if they have any coupons for local restaurants, attractions or museums.
16. Book a room at a hotel that includes a free breakfast.
17. Ask locals about the best happy hour in town. Instead of an expensive dinner- try some of the great restaurants at a discount price.
18. Buy bottled water, snacks and even lunch at the grocery store or a local farmers market.
19. Avoid pricey water parks by taking the kids to a city pool.
Most allow visitors and have water features and slides. (tip provided by contributor Marion Head)
20. Get a room with a refrigerator so you can buy groceries and eat some meals in. (tip provided by contributor Marion Head)
21. Most towns have a historic sites and local museums that are free. (tip provided by contributor Marion Head)
22. Pack a cooler with sandwich fixings for a cheap lunch on the road. (tip provided by contributor Marion Head)
23. Many Happy Hours offer free food. (tip provided by contributor Marion Head)
24. State parks are great values for swimming, hiking, fishing,and other recreation.
25. Finding lodging in Colorado during ski season is often a challenge. Visit www.vrbo.com which offers a number of options for vacation rentals in or near major Colorado resorts. (tip provided by contributor Diane Deering)
26. Many individuals that live in Colorado purchase a Colorado Ski pass for the season which is good at Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Beaver Creek. The ski passes have a perk which allows the owner of the ski pass to purchase up to four guest passes at $35 a piece. If you have friends…or feel bold enough to ask a local to hook you up this is a huge savings. For example, if you are going to Vail during peak ski season you are looking at a lift ticket price up to $92 per ticket. Slip the local a few bucks for their troubles. (tip provided by contributor Diane Deering)
27. Are you planning to catch a flight at the Denver International Airport after a weekend of skiing? Avoid the Sunday later afternoon/early evening traffic madness. Leave on a Tuesday or Wednesday when travel is at its minimum. (tip provided by contributor Diane Deering)
28. Check flights into airports at Aspen, Vail or Steamboat Springs if you are skiing at these resorts. Your driving time will be cut down drastically and you could take advantage of the local transportation systems in these areas versus having to rent a car for the week. The bus services are typically free. (tip provided by contributor Diane Deering)
29. Avoid ATM Fees– Hit the ATM as infrequently as possible. When you do, take out as much as you can to avoid going back.
30. If traveling abroad, check with your bank before leaving and ask if they will waive currency exchange fees before you leave.
31. Pack Light– Seriously! Airports will charge you excess-baggage fees, and each one has different weight restrictions. Budget travel pros pack a duffel bag to check that excess weight and avoid the fees.
32. Research your destination ahead of time. Spread out the maps, check travel websites, contact your local travel agent or even talk to your friends to research inexpensive vacation activities.
33. Limit Souvenirs-Try taking a special snapshot of a silly and fun objects or a memorable scene that you can present to the recipient on your return. You’ll lighten your load, and have inexpensive yet thoughtful reminders of your trip to share with as many loved ones as you wish.
34. Shop off the Beaten Path-Every city has it’s high-end shopping, instead avoid the chaos and the overcharge if you stick to lesser-known smaller areas that offer just as much of a shopping
adventure at a fraction of the cost.
35. Search out local farmers markets. A great way to eat healthy and stay within a food budget.
36. Pack a Picnic-Dining out can certainly add up-Find a local market and purchase some fresh produce, cheese and bread and enjoy your meal at a great park or other outdoor spot.
37. When filling up your car or truck early morning is best. The ground temperature is still cold. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening….your gallon is not exactly a gallon. In the
petroleum business, the specific gravity and the temperature of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role.
38. When you’re filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return.
39. One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL or HALF EMPTY. The reason for this is, the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine.
40. Two words: State Parks, which are cheap and offer swimming, hiking, biking, fishing, boating, camping and more. (tip provided by contributor Marion Head)
41. More Budget and Discounted Airfare can be found at a multitude of sites. Check out this link for an article that includes 30 ideas for Cheap Airline Tickets.
42. Stay in motels that offer free continental breakfast. Saves up to $20 right there is you don’t
have to go out to eat first thing in the mornng. (tip provided by David Reynolds with bookhotelscheaper.com)
43. To find motels that may be cheaper, look for Coupon Guides at fast food places
and convenience stores. May hotels and motels will honor a discount coupon if
you arrive early enough (4-6 pm) ((tip provided by David Reynolds with bookhotelscheaper.com)
44. If your room does not have a fridge, pack a collapsible ice cooler. Get in the
room, open it up and fill it and you can have cold drinks and food for days. (tip provided by David Reynolds with bookhotelscheaper.com)
We will be adding to our list as the month goes on, so please check back to see our latest budget travel ideas! And if you have an idea that hasn’t made the list please email us.
Hope these tips have been useful. Our goal is to make travel a fun, exciting and enjoyable experience. For more ideas about budget travel please check out our articles Lower Manhattan on a Budget and Chicago on a Shoestring.
Next month we will be sharing tips for traveling with children. If you have a tip you would like to share please email us. Your tip just might make the list!!