Even with summer vaycay season in full swing, you can still get the best deals on a much needed trip. Whether you're flying or driving, this list of 7 travel tips will save you cash on airfare, hotels, and attractions - meaning more cash for fun and "All I Got Was this Lame T-shirt" souvenirs.
1. Take Your PTO at the Right Time
When it comes to flying, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays are the cheapest days to fly. So don't schedule your time off from work from a Sunday to the next Sunday - you'd be leaving on Monday which is the most expensive day to fly. Instead, schedule your time off during the week, which will put you in an airline seat on a day your guaranteed to pay less.
2. Don't Road Trip Without a Buddy
GasBuddy.com, that is. This site lets you see what gas prices will be like around the country so you can plan your gas stops and budget before you hit the road. You can type in your starting point and destination, and see how much your trip will cost and how much you can save by showing you the best places to fill up along the way.
3. Sightsee the Smart Way
If you're a Bank of America debit/credit cardholder, you can gain one free general admission ticket to any participating museum one weekend a month. All you have to do is show your card and a photo ID. See all of the places you can visit for free here.
Otherwise, make sure to research which attractions are discounted during your vacation stay. Some museums or attractions have particular days where admission is discounted or even free (Fridays tend to be the most popular). And don't forget your military or student IDs at home! You can use them for extra discounts at a lot of different places.
4. Explore for Food
Food near your hotel or a major attraction might be tempting, but often times, those restaurants' food prices are doubled because they know visitors will think it's easier to go there than look for food further away.
Find food outside of your tourist spot radius - think at least 4-6 blocks away. Use Google Maps or Yelp! to find less congested, local areas and get ratings on the restaurants in those areas. Not only will food prices be cheaper, you'll also avoid big crowds and lagging service due to diner volumes.
5. Eat Lunch Out
While we're on the food subject, buying food to make at your hotel for breakfast or dinner at least twice can save you a ton, but feel free to eat lunch out on the town. Eateries expect to be a little slower during the 1 pm - Happy Hour times of the day and often offer lunch specials to draw crowds.
If you're road tripping for your vacation, look to stop for food at Early Bird or Happy Hour special times - doing so will help you get a good amount of food for less, the whole trip long.
6. Mine for Golden Deals on Twitter
Twitter can be an awesome place to find deals, without even having to try. Follow airlines you fly and hotels you like to stay up to date on their deals and offers. And tweet them about your experiences! Airlines are happy to reward frequent flyers and are usually willing to accommodate you somehow for a poor experience with them.
Also find discounts by searching "travel deals" and the city you're flying to. You'll find not only airfare deals, but hotel deals, and accounts that look for savings in your particular city. Searching the hashtag #traveldeals will also give you a leg up on finding vaycay discounts.
7. Leave Some Plans for the Last Minute
Don't feel like you need to book a hotel a month in advance - start checking about 3 weeks before your arrival date and book about 2 weeks prior if you aren't seeing prices decrease any more.
Try using HotelTonight, an app that specializes in last minute bookings at more than 300 hotels. By 12 pm each day, you can find the 3 best hotel deals in a city with discounts of up to 70% and at rates that can be 20-40% lower than other hotel sites!
Airbnb also lets you book a little late by using their "Help! I need a place tonight!" or Standby options - these features will let local homeowners know you're looking for a place and gets them to send offers your way, which includes lower rates for what you might usually find a place for.
Where's your favorite place to visit with your vaycay time? Join the conversation on our Facebook page, @TheListShowTV