Paris Hotels Articles

May 17, 2010

Travel budget: How to save money on vacation

I am far from rich, but I travel at least twice a year. I have traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and the Caribbean. How do I do it? I plan ahead. Let me share some of my secrets.

1. Airfare – If you are going somewhere you have to fly to, there are several online sites to check. First off, always check the airline sites. Sometimes I have found better deals there than if I use a travel site. Next, check the travel sites – Expedia, cheaptickets.com, Orbitz to name just a few. If the price is still too high and if you don’t have to be there or home at a certain time, use discount sites such as Priceline or Hotwire. You can get great deals using these sites. On a trip to Paris, we used Priceline for our airfare and paid under $400.

2. Driving – If you are close enough to drive, do it. Gas may be $3.00 per gallon here, but it will still save you money, especially if there are several of you who are traveling.

3. Hotels – Again, check out the hotel sites online. You might be able to save a few dollars. If not, use hotels.com, Expedia, Orbitz or any other travel site. My favorite thing to do is use Priceline for hotels. You can save 50% or more if you plan ahead and you are not insistent on what hotel you stay in. I never pay full price for a hotel. Another site to use, but can be a bit risky, is ratestogo.com. This is a last minute hotel site. We booked a hotel in Paris on our own and then canceled it after getting a much better deal on the ratestogo site and saved over $100. If possible, get a hotel that offers a free breakfast. If they don’t offer breakfast, take your own. Most hotels/motels have small refrigerators in the rooms. You can purchase milk and cereal. If the entire family is traveling, that will save you a great deal of money.

4. Attractions – By researching the city you are going to be visiting, you can plan what you want to see and do while there. Go to the websites of the places you want to see and purchase your tickets beforehand. While visiting Paris, France, we bought “Museum Passes”. These passes allowed us access to many museums and monuments in Paris for a fraction of the cost had we paid for each one separately. Not only did we save money, we saved time. We didn’t have to wait in any long lines to purchase tickets. Also when researching the area you are going to be visiting, check for free things to do.

5. Food – Pack your own or find a local grocery store and buy some once you get there. Buy your breakfast foods, snacks, lunches, and drinks. There is no reason to go to a restaurant every meal. On a recent road trip to Colorado, we packed an ice chest with lunch meats, snacks and drinks. We weren’t buying snacks everytime we stopped for gas and if we were on the road during lunch, we made sandwiches while driving.

6. Seasons – Travel off season. You can save a ton of money on hotels if you travel before or after busy season.

It’s best to start planning your trips at least 6 months in advance. Research, plan and budget!

Bon Voyage!

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