We all love vacations, don’t we? Except you Type A folks out there who need one more than the rest of us combined. But you can spend a fortune on them, especially if you need to eat and sleep on your trip. Here are 10 tips for saving money:
- Book early. There is no benefit for waiting until the last minute to book, unless there’s a huge cancellation fee involved. Nowadays, hotel computer systems use “dynamic pricing” to raise the price of rooms as the availability declines, so the same room you thought about reserving on Wednesday might cost more when you get around to actually doing it on Sunday. Now, you do want to check cancellation policies. Personally, I will not book any room that is nonrefundable, even if it means I would have saved a few bucks. Most chains will let you cancel for free within a day of your arrival, so there’s no reason not to book early.
- Do the opposite. If you’re traveling over a holiday that caters to families, stay at a business hotel. It will be empty and offer special rates. Go to Palm Springs in the summer, when it’s hot but the prices are super cheap. Go to Disneyland resort in January, when the kids are back in school. Personally, I love Europe in the winter. I wear my coat, feel invigorated and mingle with locals, not tourists.
- Don’t park at the hotel. Hotel parking lots are notoriously expensive, so look around for cheaper overnight parking at nearby lots. This worked for us in the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, we saved a bundle by parking in the “Park It On Market” garage for $15 a night, and walking a short distance to our lodging. (However, make sure you’re not arriving before a Padres game, when they jack the price up substantially. If so, give them a call and find out what to do.) The last time I stayed at the Riverside Mission Inn, I was just about to pull into the pricey valet parking when I noticed an empty street stall right in front. I pulled in, then ran around and talked to people, to make sure I…