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VOL. 130 | NO. 97 | Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Wiedower

Lance Wiedower

Five Ways to Save Money on Summer Travel

LANCE WIEDOWER | Special to The Daily News

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Memorial Day signals the start of the summer travel season, when an estimated 37.2 million Americans will travel over the weekend. The 16-week summer travel season from Memorial Day to Labor Day sees Americans make some 650 million trips.

With the traditional school schedule giving children a break, summer is an obvious season for travel. And that also makes it an expensive time, as everyone from airlines to hotels can increase prices knowing mom and dad have this tight window of time to get in an annual vacation.

These five ways to save money on summer travel provide a good way to get more bang for your buck during this busy vacation season.

1. Don’t check bags. I know, I know, if you fly much you’re by now aware of baggage fees. And those fees can add up for traveling families. If you’re flying Southwest Airlines there is nothing to worry about; bags fly free, remember? But if you’re flying with other airlines, just learn to pack light and get it all in your carry-on bag.

2. Take a one-tank car trip. Not everyone is flying this summer. And if you already have a trip planned to the beach, well, I can’t help you. But if you don’t have a trip planned, maybe consider something just a couple hours away, a trip that will only take one tank of gas.

3. Avoid hotel fees. I’ve been known to use Priceline to book a deal on a hotel room, and have found some great deals. The problem is while I’ve saved on my accommodation it almost always ends up giving me a hotel that charges $30 a night or more for valet parking. Those parking fees can be tough to avoid, but if you will have a car, check the fine print to see if your hotel will charge for parking. Also consider joining a hotel’s loyalty program, which often will give access to free amenities such as wireless Internet. Those free breakfasts also come in handy, especially when traveling with children who don’t care about eating a fabulous omelet at that brunch spot in the neighborhood.

4. Book an apartment. On a trip to Paris we saved more than $100 a night renting an apartment instead of a hotel in the same neighborhood. Apartment rentals often can be found in more unique neighborhoods and at a lower price than nice hotels.

5. Fly low cost. Speaking of overseas travel, on that same trip to Europe we flew low-cost carrier EasyJet from Paris to Edinburgh and saved hundreds on comparable flights on major carriers. There are tight restrictions on those carriers; go over a pound on the luggage allowance and it will cost a pretty penny. And it’s not just in Europe, as the U.S. has its own version of lower-cost carriers such as Allegiant, Frontier and Southwest.

Lance Wiedower can be reached at tripsbylance.com.

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