Cheap Travel

How do you get great deals on airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages?

One way is to check multi-site search engines like Kayak checks many sites including Hotwire, Vayama, Priceline, Expedia and Travelocity. Another way is to travel in the off season. If you want to get away at Easter, Christmas or school breaks, you are going to pay a premium. If you are flexible on your destination, check the last minute vaction package deals. Just make sure they include airfare. Check some of the ads on our site, they may have just the deal you're looking for.

Quite often you'll see low advertised airline fares to Europe and other travel destinations. Read the fine print. Quite often these are one way fares. Add in the fuel surchages, luggage charge, taxes, security fees and airport fees, and the cost rises significantly. Most likely, you'll want (need) to come home after your vacation, so the cost doubles. On return flights, check the one way and return price with several airlines. You may find that flying there with one airline and returning with another, is cheaper than a return flight with either airline.

Try to book a non-stop flight. Every time you change planes, there is another airport/security fee. One of our writers summed it up this way, "every time I go through London, it costs me a dollar a minute". (London charges a flat rate). On her last flight, the return ticket was $600 but the extra charges added $400 to the cost of ticket. Or as one reader commented "40% of your vacation costs are so you can be poked, prodded and have your luggage take a more exotic vacation than you do".

Government, provinces and cities spend millions on websites and brochures enticing you to come. Once you are there, they need to recoup this money with hotel fees and road taxes (if you rent a car), etc. They treat you like an ATM (Automatic Tax Machine). Make sure you ask the hotel or car rental company if that is the total price, including all taxes.

Cruise ships and "all inclusive resorts" are less prone to price surprises. However, cruise ships suggest that you tip $10 per day, per person. With cruises make sure you read the fine print about port charges, etc. Add up all the costs before you spend your hard earned money.

The bottom line is that once you add up all the costs, you can compare various package deals and choose the vacation that best suits your lifestyle and pocket book.

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