Last Updated on February 4, 2021 by Jim Ferri
By Jim Ferri
Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
51) Board a Repositioning Cruise
To relocate in different seasons – a cruise ship in Alaska will head to a milder climate once fall arrives up north, for example – ships must take one-way voyages to new ports of departure. You can save big on these voyages since they are often deeply discounted.
Cruisers usually save money by booking a cruise during hurricane season, specifically June 1 – November 1 in the Caribbean and Atlantic. Be warned however that if your ship is forced to reroute due to a storm and you’re forced to pay for extra hotel nights or changes in your itinerary, you likely won’t be reimbursed by the cruise company. If the cruise is canceled, however, you will be given a refund or credit towards a future cruise. Cover your bases, however, by buying travel insurance through a company such as Travel Guard.
53) Try an All-Inclusive
With the cruise lines now nickel-and-diming passengers almost as much as the airlines, you’ll sometimes find that all-inclusive cruises can sometimes be a better deal (do the math first though). On an all inclusive, a luxury cruise may also be a better bargain since luxury ships often include other amenities, such as excursions and gratuities in the package price.
Cruise ships are on a vigorous schedule and must sail regardless of how many cabins remain unsold. As you may have guessed, they’re willing to offer last-minute deals to fill those cabins. You might snag one of them by waiting until the last minute; just be aware that you might not get a stateroom with a good view or find that shore excursion you wanted is already fully booked.
55) À La Carte Pricing Can Make Sense
If you’re looking to cut costs, it’s always worthwhile to price a package à la carte and see where you may save a few dollars. For example, can you do better on the cost of airfare or use frequent flier points to fly to your port of departure? Or get a better rate on your hotel room prior to departure? Or maybe skip a shore excursion and tour on your own.
56) Find That Discount
Car rental companies provide an amazing number of discounts to an amazing number of organizations and companies. If you are a member of AAA, you’re entitled to one, as you are if you are a member of AARP. But it doesn’t stop there. There are plenty of other organizations that also qualify, ranging from Costco and BJ’s to the American Bar Association as well as many airline frequent-flier programs. Also don’t overlook your insurance company – USAA members, for example, receive a good price break from all of the major rental companies.
57) Inspect That Rental Carefully
Just like the airlines and cruise lines, car rental companies are also determined to get as much money from their customers as possible. It’s especially true in some areas of Europe. One easy way for them to do this is to inspect cars that are being returned for any little nicks or scratches. (Some rental agents will even look underneath the car). So it pays to take a good look before you drive out of the parking lot and bring even the most insignificant scratch to the attendant’s attention. Have him/her note it on the paperwork and then also take a photo of it with the car rental office in the background.
You can also substantially by looking beyond Hertz, Avis and National at smaller brands. Many times these companies will give you a rate 20-30% lower than the big boys. Research websites such as carrentalexpress.com and carrentals.com to find these companies. In exchange for the savings, however, you’ll often have to put up with the inconvenience of traveling off the airport property to get your rental.
59)Book Your Rental for “Extra Time”
It’s a guerilla tactic that often works: if you need to rent a car for a week or a few days at the end of the week, extend your rental to part of the weekend – even though you plan to bring it back earlier. You will become part of the less-expensive weekend promotion, and your hourly rate will then drop. You’ll often be charged the lower weekend rate even though you’ve returned it during the week.
Following the lead of the hotel companies that give you a discount when you prepay your hotel room, car rental companies now do the same if you prepay your rental in advance. The discount can be substantial, sometimes ranging up to about 20%.
61) Look Online for Coupons and Discounts
Car rental companies often allow you to combine discount codes (such as those provided to members of the organizations noted above) with coupons for a rental. Go online and Google the name of the car-rental company with the words ”coupon code” to see if you can dig up additional savings.
62) Check Autoslash.com
Autoslash.com is a company that continually checks for lower rates as well as coupons until the date of your rental. You can book directly through the site, which will then automatically apply any savings it finds, or just track the price of a rental you may have booked elsewhere. Be aware, however, that major rental companies no longer allow their inventory to be listed with AutoSlash.
63) Don’t Assume You’re Covered
Many people erroneously believe that their rental car is also covered by the insurance they have on their private automobile. It isn’t always the case, however, and definitely not the case in some foreign countries. It pays to make a call to your auto insurer to ascertain your coverage, or lack of it, prior to departure. Alternatively, you can just plow through the fine print of your auto insurance policy yourself.
If you’re a traveler who’s interested in maximizing savings while on the road, you need to have the right credit card and use it whenever you can. The first thing to do is identify the benefits you seek. For example, are you looking to accrue enough points on a specific airline to get a free ticket? Or are you a points fanatic looking to work the system to get airline awards and hotel nights with several airlines and hotel groups? Or do you just like to get VIP treatment and other perks when traveling? It pays to follow sites such as The Points Guy or One Mile at a Time to see which cards are best suited to your needs.
65) Transfer Your Points to Foreign Carriers
In today’s travel world, some international airlines provide more value for your credit-card points than American carriers. Although British Airways and American Airlines are codeshare partners, BA provides better value on short-haul routes on American Airlines flights than does American itself. For a flight between Miami and Montreal, for example, BA charges 10,000 points and AA 12,500 for the same seat on the same flight.
It no longer makes sense to accrue points with a single airline. It’s now best to earn your points with a credit card that allows you to transfer accrued points to many entities. American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guests all allow you to use your reward points with a variety of difference airlines and hotels.
67) Find a Card That Fulfills Your Needs
Co-branded credit cards – those issued by a bank on behalf of an airline, hotel or other entity – sometimes come with excellent perks. Many of the airline cards will provide free checked bags and priority boarding, some (albeit more expensive) access to their airport lounges. While the ones with lower annual fees, of around $100 or so per year, pay for themselves relatively quickly (oftentimes with the fee for the first year waived), the more expensive ones (such as the AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard and the American Express Platinum Card) come with a hefty fee of up to $450 annually.
But they do provide some exceptional perks. The American Express Platinum card will pay for your Global Entry application of $100, and reimburses you for up to $200 in ancillary airline expenses each year. The AAdvantage card provides similar perks and also access to its airport lounges worldwide.
68) Find Value With Alaska Airlines
One of the perks provided to holders of the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card ($75 annual fee) is that it provides you with a $122 companion certificate (economy) each year. Points accrued in Alaska’s frequent-flyer program can also be use on a variety of carriers including American, Delta, Air France, Quantas, Emirates, etc.
Some credit cards have stopped charging foreign transaction fees that can amount to 1 to 3% additional for each purchase. If your bank still charges these fees, perhaps it’s time to look for a new card. But make certain that your new card has a chip embedded that will facilitate using it overseas (by October 2015 all cards will be required to use chip technology). You do not, however, want to use a PIN with these cards since some banks will treat it as a cash advance with a high-interest rate.
70) Celebrate Your Anniversary
Some cards reward you with “anniversary gifts” that provide even more value, even those with a low annual fee. The IHG Rewards Club Select Card ($49 annual fee) from the IHG group (Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels) will give you a free night certificate every year for use at any one of their hotels regardless of the category.
The Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature card ($75 annual fee) will give you 40,000 extra points on your annual account anniversary each year enough to cover a free night at most of its properties. Marriott’s Rewards Premier Credit Card ($85 annual fee) also provides you a free night on your anniversary, although it’s not valid at their high-end properties.
71) Connect for Free
Let’s face it, in today’s world most of us use Wi-Fi constantly, even when we travel. And to stay connected overseas can cost you a good amount if you’re not careful. Although the American Express Platinum Card is pricey with its $450 annual fee, one of its several good benefits is that it provides you a free subscription to all of Boingo’s 1 million hotspots worldwide. It also provides ten complimentary Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi passes annually.
72) Carry Your Own Mobile Hotspot
Another way around high Wi-Fi fees is to carry your own portable hotspot. AT&T’s Unite Mobile Hotspot provides a 4G Internet connection for you and ten other travelers. Travel with it and say goodbye to those high hotel Wi-Fi fees.
73) Change Your Settings
If you’ve ever received hundreds of emails while overseas on a trip you know how expensive it is. You can avoid that altogether by changing the settings on your phone and turning data roaming off. Then check your emails only when you find a spot that provides free Wi-Fi coverage.
74) Use Skype
Another way to beat the phone company at their own game is to find a Wi-Fi hotspot (or carry your own, as suggested above) and then use a service such as Skype, Google Hangouts or Viper so you can speak, text or place video calls to others for free.
75) Have Home Call You
Having someone at home call you, rather than you calling them, will not totally eliminate any charges on your mobile but it will diminish the financial pain. Plus the person calling you will be paying the same charges as if you were still at home.
76) Ditch Your Carrier
Another option is to change carriers totally. T-Mobile’s service plans allow you to phone back to your area code in the USA for 20¢ per minute from over 120 countries around the world, a rate much lower than its competitors. The same rate does not apply to data charges, however. The carrier will even pay all of the charges and fees that are involved in breaking the contract with your present mobile carrier.
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