How I Save on Travel

Southwest Airlines Fare Map Fun

So maybe only travel geeks would find a fare map fun?  I have a couple of times searched for a weekend away on the Southwest Airlines Getaway Finder.  The map lets you enter your starting airport, dates and price range.

Voila! The locations under $236 round trip from Minn/ St Paul airport.  Philly at $176 looks like a great getaway!

You can play with the map here: http://getawayfinder.southwest.com/flights?clk=GSUBNAV-AIR-MAP

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Categories: How I Save on Travel, Saving Money | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

DC Trip Final Plans

We are in the final planning stretch for our DC trip.  Trying to keep it was low cost as possible!

Fairfield Inn DTW $119 + tax including 8 nights parking

Frontier Flights $85 each

Radisson Reagan Hotel 38,000 points total for 2 nights

Country Inn and Suites Dulles (booked on the app for an extra 3,000 points) $75 AAA rate.

Groupon for lunch at white apron $15.

Restaurant.com certificate for $15 off $30 at a pizza shop.

Capital City Bike tour with a AAA discount.

Uber and Lyft $25 new user credits with each company.

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Do NOT pay for magazines!

Here is a picture of the magazines I received in the mail last week.

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I do not purchase magazines by mail.  (Bored in the airport because I read everything I took is another sad story.)  These magazines subscriptions I received by either Mercury Magazines, Freebiz magazines or recycle bank.

A little time online and a fake email address will save you money and get you free reading material.

https://www.recyclebank.com/

http://tradepub.freebizmag.com/special-deals/

http://cdn.mercurymagazines.com/121-12118592/index.html

Categories: Discounts, How I Save on Travel | Tags: , , | 13 Comments

Chase Lounge Open at Epcot During Food and Wine Festival

This is a great perk for Chase card holders:

Chase is offering their debit and credit cardholders (including, but not limited to Disney Visa cardholders), access to the Chase Lounge at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival from September 19th – November 10th, 2014.
The lounge is located on the third floor of the American Adventure Pavilion within the Epcot World Showcase and offers a place to relax, complimentary beverages, and charging stations for your devices.
Each card member may bring up to nine guests. The Chase Lounge will be available from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday during the Festival. Do keep in mind that the lounge often reaches capacity, and when it does, will move to a one person out-one person in system.
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Check if Hotel Reservation Price has Lowered to Save

IF I have time prior to my trip I reprice my hotel reservation.  Meaning I go to the hotel website and pretend to make a reservation.  I had the Country Inn and Suites Washington Dulles booked for one night at the AAA rate of $81.  I was happy enough at that price.  But I just made another reservation for the same room style and date for $10 less.  $70.34 plus tax.

Always make sure you can cancel the higher cost reservation with no penalty. (I book refundable rates because I lose nothing if my plans change.)  Then I finish out the lower priced reservation and get a confirmation number before I go back in and cancel the higher priced reservation.

You do not always find a lower rate, sometimes you get lucky like I did today.  And I will check it one more time before I leave because it takes me less than five minutes to save some money.

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Saving points for a “rainy day” or to drag your Mom across the state on 48 hours notice

My parents are good sports.  They put up with my desire to travel and sometimes they are even willing to come along.  To be able to travel on a whim I try to keep some points available because I usually have more points than money to spend.

I was reading my Facebook updates when I saw that Kristen from “We are that family” was going to be at a women’s conference on the other side of the state.  I was so excited!  I had stalked her blog for years, reading it daily and here she was going to be with in driving distance.  I HAD to go!!!!

This was a Wednesday I think and the conference was bright and early Saturday morning in March 2013.  The conference was free, even better!!!!   So I went thru my mental list of people who might be able to come with me, it was a short list.  My sister had to work, others had their kids and it was short notice.  Called up my Mom who was game and I went to work on hotel options. There were not very many hotels out there.  And to make things more interesting in March I usually have very little extra money in the budget to do fun stuff.   So I had to use hotel points to make this work easily.

This is why I collect points, IF some opportunity knocks I can still go. I don’t have to say I don’t have the money right now for a $125 hotel room.

I booked with my priority club points at the Holiday Inn Express.  Upon arrival we received an awesome upgrade to a two queen room suite.  Perfect since it was my Mom, Daughter and her friend.  We had plenty of room to sprawl out for the night.  The girls swam in the pool for a couple of hours, dinner was Little Caesar’s that I picked up around the corner from the hotel. Breakfast was at the hotel and $7 for the lunch at the free conference.

So our sudden crazy trip was $0 for the hotel, $8 for Little Caesar’s and $14 for lunch. The kids were able to eat free at the conference.  And gas to drive 3 and a half hours each way.  This is why I keep hotel points around in a few programs, you never know when you get an opportunity!

If you get a chance please check out “We are That Family”.  Kristen and Mercy House are doing some incredible work over in Kenya with pregnant girls living in extreme poverty.

http://mercyhousekenya.org
http://wearethatfamily.com

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Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay Priceline Stay

We needed a hotel in Tampa prior to a cruise.  Not being much at all into points or miles at the time I just wanted to save some money.  So I looked into Priceline.   It took a little research on bidding for travel and better bidding to figure out how everything worked before I tried a bid.

My first bid was too low so I rebid in a couple of days with success.  I won the Grand Hyatt Tampa bay for $47.  I was very happy with the reviews and we only needed the hotel for one night!

The hotel shuttle took us from the airport to the hotel for the night even though it was pretty late when we flew in.  It was nice to not have to pay for a taxi.

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Check in was very friendly and we were given a basic king sized room in the main tower building.

Continue reading

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Making Disney Vacations Less Painful by Paying Monthly or Weekly

Did you know you can make payments on your Disney trip?  Its a great option that we have used on most of our trips.  Generally I book well in advance, more like nine or ten months out.  Pay the deposit to get the trip booked, either by booking online or by calling Disney.  Then each time I was paid I would log in to the Disney website and make a payment on my balance.

This enabled us to pay for our trips with “cash”  and make the cost burden seem lighter.  It either left me with no balance due at 45 days out or a small balance so it seemed less painful.  Also being booked early let us snag dining reservations at the opening booking window.

And Disney does not penalize you if a discount comes along. Call Disney reservations and ask them to apply the new offer to your reservation. I have done this several times when I was booked and a later free dining offer came out.  Note: sometimes there is not availability at the resort you booked at for the promo.  Twice I was booked at Port Orleans French Quarter but then changed resorts to get the free dining offer.  Not a big deal for us, we are not resort specific when a deal is involved.

Making payments online only works for packages. IF you have a room only reservation you will pay for the first night upon booking and the balance at the hotel.  We are usually package people unless we have an annual pass, then I put the money in an envelope each week towards the room costs.

Call (407) 939-7675 or visit the My Disney Experience section of the website.

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Categories: Disney, How I Save on Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 13 Comments

Staying at the Comfort Suites Paradise Island to Visit Atlantis

There is a work around for those wanting to visit Atlantis in the Bahamas but not pay that high Atlantis price. Stay at the Comfort Suite Paradise Island instead.

The Comfort Suites is located across the street from the Atlantis complex. A family of four is $136 in two double beds. Less than half of the cheapest Atlantis room a night.  (Or 25,000 Choice Points a night instead of cash.)

You will need to visit the Atlantis  Royal Tower for your Atlantis wristbands after you check in at Comfort Suites.  Along with full access to Atlantis, you also get a card from Comfort Suites that allows you to charge food and beverages at Atlantis to your room at Comfort Suites.

Breakfast is included at the Comfort Suites, the usual eggs, bacon, waffles and cereal. Basic but free.  The rooms come with a refrigerator so you have the option to purchase water nearby and keep it in your room.  If you wish to be closer to Atlantis please request the 2nd floor near the Atlantis exit.

If you are on a cruise you can also book a room for 1 day, this will get you Atlantis access much cheaper than the cruise ship excursions. Just taxi over to the Comfort Suites to check in with them and then head to Atlantis.

 

More information on the Comfort Suites can be found here: http://www.comfortsuitespi.com/

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Categories: Discounts, How I Save on Travel | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Savings on Disney Cruises

I am a book it myself type of girl.  I rarely use a travel agent unless I am traveling with others and then its just easier if someone else collects the payments, yada, yada…

But when it comes to a Disney cruise a travel agent is the easiest way to not only save money and make requests but they also offer on board credit.  We usually use the on board credit to pay our tips and buy photos.

In the past I have used Beth at Dreams Unlimited.  I get nothing from them, she has just done a good job for me in the past.  So please if you are looking at a Disney cruise use a travel agent that can get you some on board credit!!!! Even if you already booked with Disney often they can take over the reservation and get you some credit.

The current offer is if the cruise is $1,000 – $1,999 you get $50. $2,000 – $2,999 get $100, $3,000 – 3,999 get $150 and up from there.  And this can be combined with other offers like the Disney Visa $50 on board credit offer.  Just use your Disney Visa to book your cruise.

If there is a sale offering they can book those same prices for you and you get the on board credit also.

So please if booking a Disney cruise find a travel agent that will give you on board credit for the cruise and book through them.  And use them to make server requests or to ask them any questions you might have.

You can find out more information here: http://www.dreamsunlimitedtravel.com/cruise/specials.htm#sbc

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