Eight Ways to Save Money on Last-Minute Summer Trips
One of the good things about booking a last-minute holiday, there are deals to be had. Just look at London. There were predictions of packed hotels and restaurants yet recent news stories reported that booked nights and restaurant earnings are down. Hotels have been slashing prices to put bodies in beds, cab drivers have seen revenues drop and the shopping districts are empty.
This is an opportunity for any Anglophile to stay cheap in a normally expensive city, but what if you're not interested in staying in London? How can you save money on a last minute holiday?
Look for Packages
Hotels are trying to lure travellers during the summer months. Bob Diener, founder of Getaroom.com says that especially since business travel is low during this time of year, hotels tend to offer lower rates and include things like breakfast and free Internet. Yes, some hotels still charge for Internet.
Avoid Holidays and Festival Dates
If you've ever tried to cross the border on holiday long weekends, you know that it takes more time and prices increase because hotels know that people are traveling. Special events fall into this category as well - if a music festival is happening, try to avoid travelling to that location.
I signed up for Porter emails and get them regularly. As a result I know when there are deals and can predict when the next deal is coming. Diener's Getaroom.com and other similar sites such as Hotwire.com or tripcentral.ca offer last minute deals that are very budget-friendly.
Go Off the Usual Track
There are the usual places then there's the other places. Want to go to a European beach? Then try Croatia instead of the South of France or Spain. Prices vary but going off the beaten track can save you money.
Don't Book a Hotel
Hotels are expensive. Yes, you get spoilt with fresh towels every day and someone to make up your bed but that all adds up. Try renting a flat and shopping the local markets. Airbnb offers flats and rooms around the world for travellers who can stay with locals. You may not get fresh towels every day but you can save some serious cash.
They do have to be mentioned because people collect Aeroplan points, Airmiles and other travel incentives. If you have points and aren't subject to blackout periods, then use them for rooms and trips. Keep in mind that most plans prevent you from using them during peak times.
Memberships If you are a Canadian Automobile Association (or an American Automobile Association) member, you can use that to save money on rooms and, of course, rental cars.
Only Carry Carryons
It may not sound like a lot but that $15 dollars for checked luggage could get you a fabulous souvenir or pay for a meal depending on where you go. Realistically, most of us don't wear half of what we carry on vacation, so make a list and plan your outfits before you go so you don't get stuck having to lug a heavy suitcase and pay check-in fees.