How to save money when you book a trip

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As the holidays quickly approach and children ages 5 and older are finally getting vaccinated, more and more Americans are planning vacations. But it is more and more difficult to find an agreement.

Planning a trip can be expensive with flights, accommodations, tours, excursions, meals and more.

Still, there are deals to be made if you know where to look. Start by subscribing to travel partner emails and follow them on social media to be the first to learn about flash sales and special savings opportunities. Being flexible with travel dates and traveling outside of peak hours are also easy ways to save.

Are you looking for other ways to reduce your travel budget? Here are five tips you can’t miss.

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1. Be flexible with airport choices

If you are always departing from a major city airport closest to you, you may want to explore other options. This airport may have the most flights, the most carriers, and the widest range of departure times, but the rates may not be the best.

While it’s always easy to do what you’re familiar with, forcing yourself to fly from another airport can save you hundreds of dollars.

For example, if you are traveling from Philadelphia to Fort Lauderdale, use Google Flights to find other airport options like nearby Trenton to Philadelphia. Of course, you might not have that many carriers or choice of flights, but the fares can be considerably lower. The savings can be huge, especially during peak hours or if you are traveling with others.

Also, consider an airport that is a short drive from your destination. In the example above, you might want to swap Palm Beach International Airport for Fort Lauderdale. It may add a bit of travel time, but it could generate substantial savings.

2. Understand airline search algorithms

If you are traveling with multiple people, you may find that the enticing flight deal you want disappears when you add additional passengers to your itinerary.

“This happens because airline tickets are sold in different classes called ‘fare categories’, which are basically groups of fares that are priced similarly based on certain rules and restrictions,” says Willis Orlando, Senior Specialist of product operations at Cheap flights from Scott.

Instead of having a fixed price, airlines are offering different prices for the exact same product, with the goal of selling as many tickets to as many people as possible for as high a price as possible, Orlando says.

“Airlines do this to maximize the amount of revenue they can get for each flight,” he continues.

“When the price goes up, reduce the number of passengers and buy a lower price ticket, with any additional tickets purchased at the higher price in the next fare category,” Orlando said.

If you find that you can get better fares by purchasing your tickets separately, buy one at a time, then call the airline afterwards to “tie” your routes, he says.

3. Consider bundling hotels and flights

It is easy to use sites like Expedia or Kayak to book trips on a single platform, grouping both flights and rooms. But take the time to do your research to make sure the rates are really better than if you had booked the trip on your own.

“Vacation packages can save you $ 500 or more,” confirms Steve Oliverez, CEO of InsanelyCheapFlights.com. “If you plan to stay in a hotel during your trip, always check to see if a package is cheaper. Brands are generally more willing to offer discounts when they are less transparent, such as in a package.”

And if you can be a little spontaneous, you can get an even better deal. “Unlike flights, packages are often discounted when booked at the last minute,” says Oliverez.

In addition to the booking sites you may be familiar with, many airlines like American, Delta, and JetBlue also offer vacation packages. For example, you can save money on a getaway through JetBlue Vacations by using promo codes to save up to $ 500 on packages to Aruba, Cancun, Montego Bay, and Punta Cana. JetBlue Vacations is offering this offer to promote its Insider Experience, which has local concierge services included at no additional cost.

Four different offers are available, each with an associated promo code:

  • Get $ 50 off with promo code INSIDER50
  • Get $ 100 off when you spend $ 2,000 with promo code INSIDER100
  • Get $ 250 off when you spend $ 4,000 with promo code INSIDER250
  • Get $ 500 off when you spend $ 7,000 with promo code INSIDER500

This JetBlue Vacations promotional code offer is valid until December 31, 2021, for travel through March 2022.

4. Consider different accommodation options

You can access the best booking resorts through timeshare markets and get direct prices from the owner on platforms such as Red Week.

According to RedWeek, here are some current price comparisons that would save a traveler $ 500 or more on a trip:

  • Marriott’s Aruba Surf Club, 7 nights for only $ 1,650 vs. $ 2,152 elsewhere (savings of $ 502)
  • Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, 7-night stays in January for only $ 3,500 vs. $ 4,183 elsewhere (savings of $ 683)
  • Marriott’s Newport Coast Villas, 5 night stays in November for only $ 995 vs. $ 1,632 elsewhere (savings of $ 637)

RedWeek is a timeshare rental platform that allows any traveler to book travel with a timeshare owner who is not using it. Don’t worry, you’re not joining a timeshare – you’re just booking your vacation, the same way an owner might rent a pad on Airbnb, but in the case of RedWeek you’re actually staying at a hotel or resort. . Timeshares typically offer more space, cooking and laundry facilities, along with other perks like free parking and on-site shopping.

5. Sign up for a travel credit card with a big welcome bonus

More and more card issuers are offering generous welcome bonuses that can be cashed out for travel purchases.

Chase offers high welcome bonuses on select Chase co-branded airline credit cards: new cardholders signing up for the British Airways Visa Signature® card, the Iberia Visa Signature® card or the Aer Lingus Visa Signature card ® can earn 100,000 Avios points after spending $ 5,000 on purchases within three months of opening the account. Avios can be transferred to American Airlines among other transportation and cashed for domestic travel.

If you travel frequently with Southwest, all three Southwest consumer credit cards (Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card) now have the same welcome offer. massive.

You can earn up to 100,000 Rapid Rewards points: Earn 50,000 points after spending $ 2,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months of opening your account, plus an additional 50,000 points after spending $ 12,000 on qualifying purchases. eligible purchases during the first 12 months from the opening account.

Southwest Points are worth around 1.4 cents each, which means the 100,000 bonus points alone are worth around $ 1,400 for Southwest flights.

If you are more interested in a general travel card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card currently offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 points if you spend $ 4,000 on purchases within three months of opening the account, which is worth $ 750 if you spend it on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.

It may be a bit of work to maximize your points to cash in on free travel, but it’s worth it. Check out our guides on using the Amex Travel Portal, the Chase Ultimate Rewards® Travel Portal, and how to get the most out of your Avios Points for some ideas on how to get started.

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Editorial note: Any opinions, analysis, criticism or recommendations expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.

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