Here’s another collection of Money Saving Travel Tips, collected from personal experience, friends, co-workers, and a little old-fashioned research.
• Many resorts add on “resort fees” or surcharges. When making your reservation, inquire in there are any additional charges or fees, and make a note of what you were told and by whom. Once you check-in, if you find there are additional fees, ask to have them waived, relying on the information that you were provided at the time of booking. If the front desk personnel are unable to accomplish this for you, ask to speak with the manager on duty.
• When planning your vacation budget, add in another 10% for unexpected contingencies. While you can never plan for everything, knowing that you have a little financial cushion will allow you to be able to say “yes” to a special restaurant, buying a one-of-a-kind piece of local art, fluctuating currency rates, or choosing to upgrade your hotel room.
• When cruising, you can save money at the ship’s spa with in-port specials. When the ship is in port, most passengers get off to explore, so the spa will usually offer discounted services. While I would never recommend skipping some great adventure for a manicure, if you must have a spa service, you may want to delay leaving the ship, or return from port early, to take advantage of the discount.
• Code sharing between airlines is a pretty standard airline marketing strategy. Use the strategy to your advantage by checking out the fares for each partner airline. Since each carrier sets its own fare for the specific route, you can frequently find a discounted fare on one that may not be available on the other. For example: Airline A travels to your destination city and has an available fare of $1000. You then determine that Airline A code shares with Airline B on that same route. Checking the available fares on Airline B, you determine that the best available fare is $850, resulting in a substantial savings.
• If you book a hotel package, print out the complete details and bring the information along with you. If there is any dispute about what is, or isn’t included, you’ll have proof of what you paid for. (NOTE: Many times this is simply a matter of a hotel clerk not knowing every package out there, rather than a deliberate attempt to over charge you.)
• When booking travel reservations of any kind, always ask: “Is that the best price you have available?” Many times there are other discounted rates, and you’ve now asked your reservationist to go looking for them. For example, there may be special group rates available for certain membership groups (AAA, convention attendees, professional groups, etc.). Never be embarrassed to ask for a better rate — the very best rate that can be offered you.
• Dress nicely. Mom always told us that first impressions were important, and that’s true in traveling as well. When choices need to be made about upgrades, a first impression will be important. When it’s a discretionary upgrade, you can bet that it will go to someone who is well groomed, neatly dressed, and polite.