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How to save money buying travel online and get the best deal
By Jolana Klobouk
Want to save some money when booking your travel online? Here are some tips to help you do just that. You at home have access to thousands of travel deals with the click of a mouse.
1. Sign up for travel e-newsletters
Many airlines, tour operators, online travel agencies and travel sites have newsletters that they will send you via email; these usually include their latest travel deals.
2. Shop around
Check various travel sites and make sure you are comparing apples to apples, know what is included. That great cruise deal may not include airfare to the port! Also check in with a travel agent to compare prices. They may in fact have a better travel deal for you.
3. Consider all possible discounts
Do you have Air Miles or frequent flyer miles you can cash in? AAA/CAA membership or other affiliations? Ask about child or senior discounts. Do they have family rates or group rates? Don't be afraid to ask.
4. Make the travel web sites do the work
Some of them will let you specify the dates of travel and vacation you are looking for and will send you an email when the price reaches your limit.
5. Travel in off-season.
Off-season will vary depending on where you are travelling so do your research and find out when that is. Off-season includes winter for Europe, summer and fall for the Caribbean, and when the kids are in school for theme parks like Disney and so on.
6. Traveling during the week can save you money
Saturday and flights during the week are less crowded and therfore more likely to have last minute discounting. Some companies charge a bit less for vacation package that leave mid-week. Many business hotels may also charge less on weekends.
7. Read your newspaper's travel section
The Saturday travel sections in most newspapers are still a good source for travel news, tips and last minute travel deals, departing from your city. Read them religiously.
8. Do some negotiating of your own.
Just ask for a deal or a better price! This will usually work if you are dealing with a hotel or car rental company directly. It may also work with some travel agents.
9. Book last minute
When looking for a last minute travel deal, start shopping around about 6 weeks prior to your departure to get a good idea for prices and availability. Narrow down where you want to go and compare some prices. About 3 weeks prior to departure is probably your best time to book. When you notice packages begin to sell out, you want to book before you miss out on that travel deal. The prices only go so low and sometimes sell out before they really drop in price.
10. Book early
Some of the best deals may be had booking early. Most tour operators and cruise companies offer discounts for early booking. If there is a specific date you want to travel and or you have a specific resort or destination in mind, you are better off to book early and secure your vacation than to risk waiting for a last minute travel deal that may or may not happen.
Keep in mind the cheaper is not always better. If you save a few hundred dollars by adding lots of stops to your flight or staying in a hotel you are not happy with, it won't be worth it. Save some money but don't compromise too much with what you really want and need.
About the author: Jolana Klobouk is the webmaster of Best Family Beach Vacations. A parent and former travel agent, she has travelled extensively for work and vacations with her family.