Four Resources To Help You Save Money During Holiday Travel
With surcharges on airfares for holiday travel rising once again, everyone is going to be looking for every possible way to cut costs in their travel budgets over the next few months. Here are four tips to help you do just that.
1. Phone Travel Guides: While I do prefer to tote a travel guide along with me when I travel somewhere new, it can be both heavy and pricey each time. One way to save space and money is downloading travel guides to your smartphone. There are plenty for free in the iTunes store, and some more detailed guides by Not For Tourists (NFT) for $4.99 and Lonely Planet (available on iPhone, Blackberry and Sony Ericsson) for $9.99.
2. Widgets/In-Flight Magazines: A lot of airlines have their own guides, either online or in their in-flight magazines for FREE. Sometimes the in-flight mag won’t help much if it doesn’t have your destination in the current issue, but it might be useful to hang on to for the future. Also, some airlines generally have information about their major hubs on their websites. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has city guides to major Scandinavian capitals as well as features on some of their other major ports including Dubai, Bangkok and Chicago. Air France, for example, now has a free widget you can download to your computer with guides to major French metropolises and a reservation application.
3. Search Engines: Airfares are going to be expensive no matter what this winter, but you can try to find the best possible deal by scouting out several different fare search engines. And I mean, several. Not just one or two. Bing is typically reliable for predicting when you should purchase a particular airfare (usually only between major cities). Kayak is generally regarded as the best aggregator for finding airfares from many different airlines at once, although SideStep has been reviewed as being very helpful in as well. On both of these sites, you can check boxes at the bottom to simultaneously search Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and Airfare.com as well. And if you’re under 26, do not forget about checking online with STA Travel, even if you’re not a student anymore. You can still qualify for some youth prices.
4. Tourism Offices: If you’re on a budget, either time or money (or both), the first place you should visit after arriving in a new city and getting settled wherever you’re lodging is the city’s tourism office. Not only can you get free maps and usually pick up some coupons and other discount cards, but local experts can also provide you with some of the best tips and knowledge suited to your needs. I find it almost always easier to discuss plans and ideas with someone in person over any other resource.