Tips for low-cost travel in 2010

By: Jill Maxwell
By: Jill Maxwell

 

I know it’s only January, but you should start thinking about vacations and travel now. Whether you’ll be traveling for business or pleasure, there are some things you can do to save money on future trips.
 
First, join the various reward programs being offered by hotels. Just about every hotel chain has them. You earn points for staying which can be redeemed for free hotel stays in the future. We did this in 2009 and actually stayed in Savannah at very nice hotels on two different trips! Since we didn’t have to pay a penny for the hotels, we didn’t feel guilty if we spent a little more on dinner… or took that inshore fishing trip!
 
A few of the chains that offer the rewards programs are Holiday Inn Priority Club, Marriott Rewards, Best Western Rewards, Choice Hotels Rewards (includes Comfort Inn/Suites, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn, Clarion and EconoLodge to name a few), Hilton HHonors, or Wyndham Rewards. While some of these names are higher end hotels, they also have hotels that are in other price ranges, like Microtel (Wyndham), Candlewood (Holiday Inn), or Hampton Inns (Hilton).
 
Most of the travel gurus are predicting plane fares will remain the same for 2010. They’ve reduced the number of flights but will keep the fares high. Your best bet is to check the sites that monitor all flights. There are even some that notify you when a good price comes up.  Check out www.sidestep.com, www.travelzoo.com and www.kayak.com.
 
Rental cars will also be pricey.   To get the best prices, use the ones with off-airport locations or use the lesser known chains like Payless or Advantage.
 
By the looks of it, all-inclusive packages or vacation packages are going to have the best prices. Shop around or try using an agency like AAA Travel to find good packages. It doesn’t cost to research your trips.
 
If you want to take a special trip, try setting up a special savings account for it. Figure out how much you want to spend on the vacation and try putting money away each pay period towards that goal.
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