If you’re like most people in the U.S. you’re watching what you spend, especially when you travel. Why splurge on the sportiest rental car on the lot or that suite with the epic ocean view when you can have all this and more just by using a little bit of traveler’s ingenuity? You can get those great perks without making your credit card want to cut itself in half by following some of these budget travel tips.
1. TIMING IS EVERYTHING. A big part of getting an upgrade has to do with availability. In most cases availability is a good thing, right? You want what you want and it had better be there when you go to get it. Well, not this time. Car rental companies will bump you up to something fancier if the car you reserved isn’t in stock. An article from CNN.com suggests booking a midsize vehicle for pick up on Friday night or Monday morning. Midsize cars are the most popular type and lots are generally picked over from all the travel traffic during these times. That means what you reserved will might be unavailable and you’ll get bumped up to a better model at the initial midsize rate.
2. GET WITH THE PROGRAM. When it comes to traveling smart, it’s all about racking up frequent flyer miles. Lifehacker has an article on making the most of whatever loyalty program you belong to. If you don’t belong to an airline loyalty program, sign up for one as soon as possible. Those miles are travel money being built up for a rainy day and isn’t that exactly when you want to fly somewhere tropical for free? Also, many airlines let you collect miles for any flights that occurred in the 12-months previous to joining their program, so be sure to mention trips you’ve taken on their airline in the past year.
3. ACT IMPORTANT. Why? Because you are. As the customer, whether it’s for business travel or a long-awaited vacation, there are countless choices on where you spend your travel budget. Mention to the hotel’s front desk agent if you are celebrating a special occasion and politely ask if they can upgrade your hotel room. You’d be surprised by how many places will if they can. If there’s nothing available right then, ask them to keep you in mind if anything opens up during your stay. Remain calm and polite and your phone just might ring on your second night with an offer for something better at no additional cost.
What tips have you found help you get ahead when you’re traveling?