How to travel smart and save
If you’ve not done so already, you may be looking at booking summer travel plans. Be aware though that there are a few more variable costs out there. For instance, you can be sitting on a plane next to a guy who paid half the price you did for the same seat, or staying in a hotel room next to a guest who paid more than you did for the same room.
Bottom line: to keep your summer travel on budget, travel smart and shop around.
“Everyone needs a vacation, but your vacation should provide relaxation, not add to your debt load,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada. “Coming home to extra bills will make you forget that vacation fun in a hurry. Reduce your overall spending by saving up extra cash before you leave and by doing some extra legwork when you are booking travel. The savings can be substantial.”
Flights: Timing is everything
Flights prices can vary widely. The cheapest days to fly are typically Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, so if you can modify travel plans, it is well worth the savings.
Did you know that there are actually cheaper times of day to book flights as well? Generally speaking, booking late at night (like around midnight) actually offers you the best prices. Reason enough to brew some coffee and burn the midnight oil while doing your online searching.
Speaking of searching online, booking your travel on the internet is cheaper than dealing with a call centre. Did you know that many travel services and carriers charge an extra fee to book over the phone? Reason enough to DIY for travel plans.
Unless you are lucky enough to have friends or relatives in your destination of choice, paying for your accommodations is going to be a major cost centre for your trip. Reduce this cost by shopping around.
Use multiple travel search sites to find the best prices. If you find a room that is significantly cheaper on one site, do a little more digging. Sometimes advertised prices are lower, but you pay more in fees to the travel site.
Often times, this is a situation where calling up the hotel directly can result in savings (don’t go through 1-800 call centres. Dial the front desk directly). Hotels will almost always match (and sometimes beat) internet hotel site prices. You can negotiate with them as well. Do they offer discounts for multiple night stays or for groups (multiple rooms)?
Travellers gotta eat
For extra savings, try to find a hotel room that has breakfast included (bonus) or has kitchen facilities (or at the very least a fridge). If you can make a meal or two in your room, you can save a lot of money.
Eating out while travelling is likely your biggest threat to your budget. Research your destination in advance for local coupons or groupons for restaurants. Check out the airport when you land too- there is almost always a coupon book to be found (usually located somewhere near the rental car desks).
Summer travel and credit use often go hand in hand. Make sure you’re not overloading yourself with debt in order to take a vacation. Call one of our trained credit counsellors at 1-888-294-3130 or check out our free online debt analysis tool to get started.