If you haven’t already done so, you need to book your holiday travel.  Many flights and hotels are already full for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays.  There aren’t a whole lot of bargains to be found at this time, and if they are out there, you’ll need to be doing a lot of research and digging deep to find them.

If, however, you’ve got a hankering to travel, fall many be a bargain filled time to do so.  It’s known as a soft travel time — after the summer is over, and the schools and universities are back in session, and before the rush of the holidays.  It’s a time when those of us who are in the travel business predict that we’ll FINALLY be able to get on a flight and enjoy our own travel plans.

Here are a few additional tips to make your fall travels value added:

  1. It may be easy to opt for valet parking at your hotel, but that convenience has a hefty price tag.  Even the charge for self-parking at hotels can be pretty pricey.  Look for a neighborhood lot, and you’ll save a bundle.  In fact, sometimes the lot directly across the street from the hotel can save you half.
  2. When visiting attractions, museums, or special events, look online to see if there are discounts available.  These frequently offset the service charge that many places not charge.  AND, since time is money, buying tickets in advance frequently means you can bypass long lines.
  3. Members of travel loyalty programs getter better stuff!  Better and faster service, perks, upgrades, etc.  Join the loyalty program before you book a flight, hotel, or rental car, even if you think your booking will be a one-time occurrence.  It pays.
  4. Subscribe to “last minute deals” e-newsletters from airlines, hotels, and various travel companies.  Sometimes they truly are last minute, and you’ll need to act quickly.  Other times, the window for usage is broad enough to allow a little planning.
  5. Don’t accept the first price you are quoted for anything!  Shop online, call the airline or hotel directly, and always look for a better deal.  When talking with a reservation agent, ask about special group and affinity rates.
  6. When working with a reservation agent, politeness can really count.  Before accepting any price quote I ask, “Is this the best that you can do for me?”  If I’ve been friendly and accommodating, I’ve found that agents are more inclined to do one last deep check to make it work for me.  It doesn’t always work, but it works often enough that I use this technique EVERY time.
  7. Even though a price quote is firm, don’t overlook extras that could be thrown in to make the price a value.  Extras could mean comped breakfasts, parking, concierge floor access, fitness fee waiver, etc.  Be sure that the “extra” is reflected in your reservation, though, and that you get it in writing.
  8. If you’re one of the lucky ones who’ll be traveling for a month or longer, and will not be using your vehicles, call your auto insurance agent to see if you are eligible for a rebate. 
  9. Charges for exchanging currency can add up, and if it’s only a small amount of money, it hardly seems worth the effort.  The night before departing your hotel, use up all your extra local currency by applying it to your hotel charges.  (Be sure to keep out what you’ll need for tips and/or a taxi the following day.)  Then settle the remainder of your bill using your credit card.
  10. Know when spending a little more money is really adding a lot more value to your travels.  If you’ll be wishing you’d spent the money to experience something a month later (and sometimes years later), loosen the purse strings and enjoy. 

More money saving travel tips next month!


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