02 Aug

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – How to Save on Summer Travel

Want to Save on Summer Travel?

The way we look at it Fall starts on September 22nd, so you have 51 days left of summer to take a summer trip. We’re determined to save you money on the different modes of transportation you’ll use to get there. In no particular order, here are ways to make your money go further when booking a flight, taking a train and reserving a rental car.

Planes –

It used to be all about waiting until the last minute to find deals. But with all of the low cost carriers and an increase in the number of people flying, you’re better off booking in advance. We recommend Kayak and Skyscanner. Both are comparison websites that perform all of the data digging to get you the best deal and tell you whether to buy now or wait. According to Kayak’s blog, “The lowest average domestic airfares are found 21 days prior to departure while international airfares are at their lowest point 34 days out.”

  • Fly on unpopular days: Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday.
  • Sign up for email alerts from airlines you fly regularly. Consider creating an email address or a filter for emails like this so as to not clog up your regular email account.
  • After you book, watch the fare – remember that you have 24 hours to cancel with most airlines. Some airlines like Southwest will let you cancel and rebook anytime before you check in.
  • Be willing to fly out of a regional airport. Bonus: Sometimes the parking is free, or at least cheaper, which helps to balance out the gas money you used driving there.
  • Fly Southwest – they are the only airline that allows a free checked bag, two in fact.

Trains –

Why would you book a train ride when air travel is so much faster?

Maybe it’s because the prices are more stable than airfare, you’ve saved up more vacation days so scrambling back is unnecessary, and it’s a more scenic way to see this great country. Any of the headaches that air travel gives you (long security lines and cancelled flights) are avoided with train travel.

Check out Amtrak SmartFares. There are new rail deals every week, available for travel Tuesday through Friday.

Trains have great discounts. Military personnel and their families and AAA members save 10%. Students save 15% no matter if they are full or part-time, undergraduate or graduate. If you are a veteran, you can save 15% with a card. Have little ones? Kids always pay half of an adult fare.

Sign up for Amtrak alerts to be in the know about new deals.

Automobiles –

Once you book a rental car, recheck rates after booking. There’s no fee to cancel or change a reservation with any major car-rental company. To make this task easier, book with AutoSlash.

Be willing to take a chance on the smaller guys: Payless and Fox are two examples. Find their fares on CarRentals.com and CarRentalExpress.com. They typically cost 15 to 30 percent less than rentals from Hertz, Enterprise, etc.

Pay upfront. There is often a pay now or pay later option when you book online. If you fork over the cash when you book, you may save up to 20%.

When you’ve reached your destination, know where our partner ATMs are by checking here. There are 30,000 ATMs so we’re pretty sure you’ll be able to withdraw money and not pay any fees, no matter where you vacation. If this is the trip of a lifetime, consider whether a personal loan might be just the vehicle you need to get there.

So get out there (at least online) and book your end of summer escape. Before you know it we’ll be hearing words like “Thundersnow” again from our local meteorologists.

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