Five Tips to Know before Booking your Next Vacation

Photo credit: Margalit Sturm Francus / Autism TravelingMom

Traveling with your family doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg if you know how to use Internet resources and budget correctly. In many cases, by following five simple tips you might discover that you will minimize your costs while maximizing the value you get.

1. Accrue miles or points by shopping

Many travelers don’t know that they can earn miles or points to use for free flights or hotel stays by shopping online in virtual malls affiliated with airlines or hotel chains.After registering in a specific airline or hotel loyalty program you can start shopping in their malls and accrue points or miles. All you have to do is enter the mall website and click on the store you want to shop in .You will be redirected to the store of your choice where you can get 2-10 points for every dollar you spend no matter how you chose to pay (PayPal, gift card, credit card or debit card). Bear in mind it can  take anywhere between 6-8 weeks to post  the points to your account once you make the purchase.

2. Compare pricing when booking travel

Contrary to common belief, web prices aren’t necessary the best deal you can find for your next vacation so you need to shop around. Before you book you should call the airline, cruise line or hotel directly and ask what special deals they are able to offer. Sometimes you can find a cheaper price or at least a deal that includes upgrades like free breakfast or parking.

Five Tips to Know before Booking your Next Vacation

Photo credit: Margalit Sturm Francus / Autism TravelingMom

3. Membership pays

Before booking your next hotel stay or cruise vacation, check whether there is a discount  offered by any organizations you belong to or are affiliated with, such as AAA or Costco. Many airlines, chain hotels,cruise lines, local attractions and even chain restaurants offer discounts or cash backs for their members.

4. Follow travel companies on social media

Most airlines, cruise lines, hotels and restaurants encourage travelers to follow them on Facebook and Twitter by posting discounts and coupons on their page. Once you decide upon a destination to visit in the next couple months, you might want to start following local attractions, hotels and restaurants in that area to be notified about upcoming deals.

5. Use the cash and points option

Five Tips to Know before Booking your Next Vacation

Photo credit: Margalit Sturm Francus / Autism TravelingMom

Some airlines and hotel chains allow you to use a combination of points and cash that might prove advantageous when traveling with family members and don’t have enough miles or points in their accounts to cover multiple reward tickets or hotel stays. This option available on companies websites offers an attractive option of using 30-50% of the usual points required for the full award in addition to a cash payment that can vary from company to company.

Have you saved on your airline, cruise or hotel booking? Share your tips in the comments!