Whether you’re a frequent flyer or sometimes traveler, these useful travel tips will help you save money on flights, hotels and rental cars and travel more safely on the road or in the air.
- Booking hotels for the weekend is all business. Hotels that cater to vacationers generally raise rates on weekends, while hotels designed for business travelers tend to lower their weekend rates. By booking where business travelers stay, you may be able to save a good chunk of change, especially in the larger cities.
- Sign up for flight status notifications. To know if your flight is delayed or on time before you get to the airport, go to FlightStats.com or TripIt.com and sign up to receive email and/or text notices.
- Know the skinny on your seat. Seatguru.com is a site that provides information and ratings on various airlines’ in-flight amenities and seating, such as legroom, so you can make an informed decision about the seat you choose. Tip: JetBlue earned above average for seat comfort in a Consumer reports survey.
- How to cut corners on a rental car. Rental car rates are going up. To save money, look on Autoslash.com for coupons and discounts and rent from an off-airport location. Also, beware of additional offers from the rental car company – you may already have accident insurance through your own car insurance or credit card. And you may want to pass on the prepaid gas offer – you’ll likely overpay, especially if you return the car with gas left in the tank.
- Know the safety rating of your rental car. Vehicles vary in their head-on collision and side, rear and rollover impact ratings. Find out the safety rating of the car you’ll be driving at sites such as safercar.gov or IIHS.org/ratings.
- Take advantage of free apps. Go to gateguruapp.com for an app that gives you a heads up about a given airport’s food, shopping and service options. The Flysmart and goHow apps give information on airport restaurants, shops, ATMs, restrooms and other amenities inside each airport as well as arrival and departure times.
- Get e-mail alerts for sales and specials. Follow your favorite airline on Twitter for special rates and deals and sign up for e-mail alerts at Orbitz.com, SmarterTravel.com and TripAdvisor.com. Also, the best time to book is Tuesday at 3 p.m. EST since most airline sales campaigns start late Monday night.
- Other helpful travel sites: Inside-Trip.com rates airline “TripQuality” based on 12 factors, including leg room, aircraft age and on-time performance. Gogobot.com offers trip advice from real people on Facebook and Twitter. Tripit.com turns your hotel, flight and other travel confirmation emails into mobile itineraries for your phone or PDS. Jetsetter.com is a beautiful site that offers its members deep discounts on exotic vacations. Room77.com ranks hotel rooms on various criteria such as price and room view.