When it comes to planning a summer vacation, there are usually two types of people: Those who plan and book more than a year in advance, and those who decide to wing it and find themselves at the mercy of not being able to shop around. While last-minute travel deals are sometimes great finds, you can also run the risk of being locked out, especially in the peak summer travel season.
Time is on your side for finding great deals, and planning your summer trip in such a way that you can save big.
Here are some summer vacation savings strategies to add to your itinerary:
Sign up now for local deal alerts in the area you’ll be visiting so you can score restaurant, event and attraction tickets at deep discounts. Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial allow you to choose the city for which you want to see deals. You might be able to get cheap museum or show tickets if you keep a close eye.
Go slightly off course. When shopping for airfare, consider researching another area airport you might not normally use and be open to flying at times that aren’t necessarily ideal, such as really early or really late at night.
Don’t forget about your memberships and affiliations. Are you a member or AAA? Does your company have a discount program you can use when renting a car or staying at a specific hotel chain? Are you traveling with AARP members who could net you a senior discount? What about your professional organizations? Think about the affiliations you have, and see if there are any travel and entertainment perks. It’s good to read up on these offers from time to time since you might be entitled to savings throughout the year on local entertainment.
Cash in on credit. If you book the most expensive parts of your trip early, or recently made a major purchase using your credit card, you might be able to redeem earned rewards points for things related to your trip. And while airline miles come to mind, there are other options to consider, from spa treatments to dining to gift cards that’ll help you purchase a vacation wardrobe.
Follow vacation vendors on social media to stay abreast of deals, special offers and secret contest for fans (you never know!). Along those lines, if you’re planning a sightseeing trip, follow the city’s tourist board to spot offers and bundle packages to save on transportation and attraction pricing.
It’s not only the super-organized vacation planners who score the best deals. Start now, and you can “spring forward” into some great deals.
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