Mar 252015

Are you getting ready to plan your summer vacation? When you want to have a great time and still save money, it helps to plan your trip as early as you can. When you give yourself time to comparison shop for accommodation prices and find affordable attractions to see, you will be able to have a guilt-free vacation. Here are some easy-to-use tips on saving money on your next trip.

Know the Best Time to Buy Airfare

Airfare can be expensive. Anyone who has purchased a last-minute flight will tell you that planning can help you save a lot of money. Ideally, you will want to book your flight at least 50-60 days before your departure date. This is the time when you will find the cheapest fares for any domestic flight. If you are flying internationally, you can book as early as 100 days before your departure and find a great rate. 

Some research has also been conducted on what day of the week is the best time to buy tickets, and Tuesdays are often the days that have the best deals when it comes to airfare. However, prices change often and it is best to check frequently on prices before you book to get the lowest rate. 

Always Comparison Shop for Hotel Rooms

Like airfare, the price of hotel rooms fluctuate on a daily basis. To get the best deal, booking earlier can benefit your budget. Along with booking early, you should always compare prices because different websites can have wide-ranging prices. Websites such as Hipmunk can help you compare prices across the board and book the price that best fits your budget. You can also note the lowest price found on hotels during your planned stay and see if the hotel can match or reduce that rate. If the hotel needs to book the room, they will work with you to get you closer to your preferred price. 

It is also important to consider the amenities that come with your room. You may be able to find a better deal on hotels with lots of amenities if you research the cheapest time to visit your planned destination and look for upgrade options with loyalty programs. These programs may offer you more amenities based on the frequency in which you stay at their hotels or if you plan a long stay during your vacation. 

Consider Free and Cheap Attractions

Every major city has a wide range of attractions for both its local population and its tourists. These attractions may have fees, but you can easily find inexpensive entertainment options and attractions to explore while you are on vacation. The key to finding these free places to check out is to connect with locals who know the city inside and out. They can be the most helpful when you want to save money and live like a local during your stay. 

Planning ahead can save you time and money when you are ready to depart for your vacation destination. Along with your early planning, you should always maintain some flexibility in your vacation plans to maximize your savings if a last-minute deal comes up.

This article was contributed by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, a complete travel platform that allows you to do everything from comparing charter flights and train rides, to finding the best resort hotels and Airbnb rentals.

Do you have any tips on saving money on airfare or hotels?  Please share them with us.

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