There are many ways to save when you travel and sometimes the discounts are big, but even the small ones can add up the more you use them.
I like having an AAA membership for roadside assistance and guides, but I also like using my membership card to get discounts on attractions, like theme parks, museums, zoos and city tours. If you are 50 or older, you can join AARP and show your card to get discounts at home and when you travel.
I like to use coupon sites like Groupon and LivingSocial when I’m at home and I also check these sites for deals to my upcoming travel destinations. I’ve been able to get some great meals, city tours and attractions for half off. We have found deals like half off a two-night stay at an all-inclusive four-star beach resort in Antigua, half off a river rafting trip through the Grand Canyon and half off zip-lining through the rainforest in Puerto Rico.
I use the Entertainment coupon books in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and I also buy them for the destinations I’m traveling to. I like to use the coupons to save on dining out and for activities and attractions. Remember that there may be more than one book that will fit your destination. For example, when I go to Clearwater Florida, I use both the Clearwater and the Tampa Entertainment Books because I go to places in both cities. Visit www.entertainment.com.
Off season is a great time to get discounts and freebies on vacation packages because travel companies offer perks to fill empty seats and empty rooms. For example, you can stay at the 5-star Ritz Carlton in Montego Bay, Jamaica for a great price this fall, plus receive $150 in resort credits, which can be used for dining, golf or other resort amenities. If you went over Christmas or New Years, you would pay more than the fall package price for two just for the hotel room alone. Destinations like St.Croix, St. Thomas and Nassau have offered travel credits during slow seasons, like fall. If you book an air/hotel package to Nassau, Bahamas, you can receive an instant savings of $350 for stays of six nights or longer or $200 on a four- or five-night stay. The offer is valid for stays at select hotels and resorts through December 26 and packages must be purchased by August 20. Click here for more details.
We’ve also seen government subsidies offered in the past for tourism during the fall from Mexico, Grand Cayman, the Bahamas and the U.S. Virgin Islands, so these are also destinations to look at for fall travel. As long as you are buying a travel package, you can get these discounts and the best thing about them is they are straight discounts off the price, so there is no minimum purchase price to qualify. These deals come and go and at Bestfares.com, we cover them as we see them.
Another deal we see a few times a year is my favorite Las Vegas offer, which gives you two free show tickets when you buy an air/hotel package with stays at participating MGM properties. Show ticket options have included Cirque du Soleil’s Beatles Love, which can cost more than $150 per ticket.
Another place to look to find discounts is the convention and visitors bureau for your destination. Just do a search online and you can find discounts on lodging, dining, attractions and more. The mission of the convention and visitors bureau is to get you to visit and these bureaus have negotiated discounts with local restaurants, attractions and especially hotels in an effort to get you there.
Some destinations do a better job than others and cities like San Diego, San Antonio, Las Vegas always have good offers. Orlando has a number of discounts and also offers the free Orlando Magicard with discounts on attractions, restaurants, shopping and more. Don’t overlook international destinations like cities in Canada, where I’ve seen hotel discounts of 50 percent off.
Sometimes age pays and select Starwood properties are offering a Pay Your Birth Year promotion for stays up to three nights. You pay the regular rack rate for the first night, then your birth year rate on the second and third night. For example, if you were born in 1960, you would pay $60 each night for the second and third night. One thing to note is that some luxury properties charge $100 plus your birth year for the second and third night. The offer is valid for stays through December 31. Get more details here.
Don’t forget, if you’ve got a Smartphone, many of these companies, such as Groupon, have mobile apps, so you can easily carry your discounts with you on your phone. Even though the app is a great option, make sure your apps are updated or your coupons may not work.
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