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Three Ways to Get Travel Discounts

Every year middle class American families put off traveling because they’re too busy or too tired or they just don’t have enough money. And, in some ways, they’re right. Traveling can be expensive. But by taking the time to learn about discounts readily available to everyone through the internet, newspapers, and even the yellow pages, more families can venture off on vacations that will recharge their batteries, stimulate their minds, and create memories to last a lifetime. Airfare can be one of the most costly and unavoidable aspects of travel. Air travelers are constantly in search of a good deal. Numerous methods exist to get discounts on your next ticket. First, leave or return in the middle of the week—Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday—and stay at least seven days to get reduced price fares. Check out alternate airports for departure or arrival to see if they offer cheaper prices, and if your plans are flexible, consider letting yourself get bumped for a cash reward or free ticket. Search discount travel sites online, which seek out bargains for you in a variety of ways, and check fares on budget airlines, not just the major commercial carriers. You can also use reverse bidding sites like Priceline to find a deal. Finally, start earning frequent flier miles without even flying by filling out surveys, staying in certain hotels, or simply using a specific credit card. Another expensive part of traveling is ground transportation. Whether you travel by bus, train or automobile, there are ways to save money. You can find deals on rental cars online, but make sure you have a discussion with the rental car companies about insurance, road side assistance, and other pertinent matters beforehand if you are unclear. You can also rent Recreational Vehicles at surprisingly low prices, especially when you consider that you won’t have to spend money on a hotel. Experienced riders can find deals on motorcycles online as well. If you plan to use mass transportation, buses are a surprisingly inexpensive, if time-consuming option, and deals can be found on subways, trains, and ferries online. Rail passes in Europe and North America can be purchased before your trip to save money if you plan to stop in multiple destinations. Finally, once you’ve flown, driven, or sailed to your destination, you’ll need a place to stay. Extended stays at hotels at weekly rates are one affordable option. Timeshares, home exchanges, house sitting, and hostels are other bargain options. Motel coupons can be found online, while a cheap bed and breakfast that doesn’t have a presence online can be found in the yellow pages. Some universities offer discount lodging in their dormitories. Retreat centers and monasteries also offer inexpensive ways for travelers to find rest and relaxation under certain guidelines. For more intrepid travelers, staying in national parks in tents, cabins, or RVs can be an inexpensive travel option, and if you plan to stay frequently or for an extended period of time, you can purchase a park pass to save money. RV travelers can also stay in free campgrounds across the country and can buy a pass to save money on RV parks. Finally, some travelers who face a serious lack of funds sleep for free in airports, although rules regarding this lodging option have changed since September 11, 200

1. One of the best ways to find travel discounts on all of the aforementioned aspects of travel—from airfare to lodging—is through memberships in a variety of organizations. Have your kids ever roped you into buying one of those Entertainment books that cost anywhere from $20 to $50 but offer a variety of coupons and discounts? Well, the next time you’re offered one, buy it. Not only will your money go to a good cause, you can benefit from the discounts on everything from airplane flights to hotels to rental cars. Without even realizing it, you may also already have memberships that could save you money on your next trip. AARP, Costco, and the military are a few of the organizations that offer bargains. Even a student or teacher’s ID can lead you to discounts. Use the resources you already possess to seek out the discounts necessary to make your next vacation a memorable and affordable event.


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