Research More Thoroughly
The biggest part of planning a trip is research. You want to know where you are going, and what is the best fit in terms of place, price and activities that interest you. When
researching, compare apples to apples, using the same parameters. Be sure to include hotel costs, airfare, taxes and fees in your search. You are more likely to get a deal if you book at least 21 days prior to your trip and if you travel off-season.
Don’t Be Afraid of Opaque Sites
On “opaque” or bidding sites, the name of the hotel, airline, etc., remains hidden until after you buy. Don’t let this scare you. These sites can offer tremendous savings, especially if have done your homework and know a destination’s going rates before bidding. The
downsides are that you won’t have the flexibility to change your travel plans, and you will have to pay in advance.
Look Into Package Deals
Not only can packages — which include airfare, accommodations, and sometimes, a car — save you big bucks, but some also have perks like a free extra night at a hotel. Packages work best if you’re traveling with two or more people to a big city or a resort area for at least three days.
Use a Travel Consolidator
Consolidators buy tickets from airlines in bulk and resell them at prices generally way below published fares. For years, they just sold to travel agents, but the Internet has changed that. And these discounted tickets are for regular flights on major lines — not stand-by flights or those on charter lines.
Book Through a Travel Agent
What’s old can be new again. If you don’t have the time or the temperament for research, consider booking your vacation through a travel agency. Travel agents are often destination experts, knowledgeable about deals and logistics. Plus, with one vacation booking e-mail or call, you can sort out everything. And, if you have any problems, your agent will generally help you with issues.
Don’t forget to pick up a Founders Visa® Prepaid Card before you leave on your next journey. This reloadable prepaid debit card is accepted anywhere Visa Debit Cards are accepted at any ATM worldwide and can be reloaded from your Founders Checking Account or Credit Card.
Portions of this article are from aarp.com.
It was published in the Founders FCU's Springtimers Newsletter (March 2012).