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Saturday, October 1, 2022

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6 Tips to Travel on the Cheap

As a mom, I find it labor-intensive to travel since I am the one who gathers and packs most of the things. While I am the one who packs everything from snacks to socks, my husband is actually the one who gets us out of the house and onto our destination. He loads the car, makes flight reservations, and books our stay at a hotel, Airbnb or Vrbo. It’s a nice arrangement that works well for our family.

My husband planned our next vacation with his sister. She was focused on a warm-weather destination since she is coming with her family from New Hampshire in March for their spring break. They looked at Miami first and while the flights into Miami and Fort Lauderdale were comparable, the cost to stay near the beach in Miami was considerably more money. So they chose Fort Lauderdale.

How we are able to travel on the cheap:

Use Credit Cards to Your Benefit – For our flights, we used Southwest RR points received after signing up for two Southwest Airlines credit cards pre-pandemic and used our Capital One rewards miles to pay for the security fees.  For our hotel, we used Chase rewards bonus points from a Chase credit card we signed up for last year.

Don’t Eat Out Every Meal – Stay at a hotel with a mini-fridge or better yet one that has a kitchenette. If you shop for breakfast, lunch, and snack items at a grocery store, you’ll save lots of money by not eating those meals out. When we do eat out, we pay with our credit card and can get rewards points toward future travel.

Bring Refillable Water Bottles –Bring your empty water bottle and fill it after you go through airport security rather than buying an expensive bottle of water inside the terminal and refill it throughout your trip.  Most airports now have bottle filling stations near the restrooms inside the terminal.

Take the Hotel Shuttle – Use the complimentary hotel shuttle to/from the airport to avoid having to rent a car and paying expensive parking fees at the hotel. If that isn’t an option, consider using Lyft or Uber.  Remember, the most desirable destinations usually also charge an arm and a leg for parking in addition to the car rental fees you will be paying.

Couponing – Don’t be shy about asking for discounts and be sure to pick up a local coupon book. My kids love these! Not only will it guide you around the town but you’ll find local restaurants and entertainment that you might have overlooked otherwise.

Delete Search History/Cookies – I also found in my research a hack that is often overlooked, deleting search history and cookies, but is the best way to get updated flight/hotel information. If you search the same flights/room rates, again and again, the prices will skyrocket. The airlines/hotels are purposefully doing this to get you to buy when you see an increase in price. By deleting your history and cookies gives you updated flights/room rates usually at the same price or at a reduced price.

We always try to keep costs manageable when we take a trip since we travel fairly often. Our next vacation will be no different. Using miles and rewards points from credit cards we got our flights and hotel for free with just a little bit of extra effort on our part

Nikki Ducas
Nikki Ducas
Nikki Ducas is a freelance writer and for the past 8+ years writes the money column for Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine. She has lived in Fredericksburg for 16 years with her husband and is a homeschooling mom to their two boys. Nikki enjoys hiking, knitting and her other side hustles of pet sitting and event management.

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