Money Monday: Save Money When Booking Your Next Trip

BET.com breaks down how to save money on your next trip. 

Posted: 03/05/2012 01:00 PM EST

The New Year has passed and summer isn’t here just yet. As some would say, this is the “in-between” weather, but it is also the time when the vacation bug comes scratching. If you’re looking to make plans to get away and you’re not sure where to start, BET.com offers some tips by answering some frequently asked questions.


When Is the Best Time to Book Travel?

According to economist Makoto Watanabe, if you are looking for the lowest prices, the cheapest time to book your flight is eight weeks before you’re traveling. Watanabe worked out a formula designed to calculate the best time to buy, and in addition to eight weeks before, he also suggests that tickets are cheapest in the afternoon.


I Can’t Book Eight Weeks in Advance, When Should I Book My Trip?

If you are not able to book exactly at the eight-week mark, try plugging in your travel dates and destinations into fare prediction tools such as Bing’s Forecast. Bing, for example, will give you its best-guess prediction as to whether you should expect a fare drop or increase in the current market-value rates based on historic data.


Where Should I Go?
Ultimately where you travel is your decision, but if you want to save a few bucks on your next business trip, stay clear of cities such as Paris, London and New York and instead consider trips to places like Las Vegas, Dallas and New Orleans, says a study released by a major travel website that calculated the cost of visits to the world's top 50 tourist destinations.


The report by the website Trip Advisor found that the most expensive international city to visit was Paris with a one-day total of $367. Reversely, Las Vegas ranked as the least expensive domestic destination at $164.


The prices were based on the average cost of a one-night stay in a four-star hotel, a five-mile taxi ride, a large cheese pizza and a dry martini.


What’s the Advantage of Booking an All-in-One Deal?

Today, many websites such as Expedia, Priceline and JetBlue Getaways allow you to book hotel rooms and rental cars at the same time of booking your airline ticket. Oftentimes booking both your plane ticket and hotel together can shave off more than 30 percent of the price of the hotel.


Should I Use an Auction Site?

If you have a little extra time — and patience — consider using an online auction site to see how low your travel expenses can be. SkyAuction.com, for example, lets you bid on a number of travel expenses including dining and flights. Others, such as Priceline’s Name Your Own Price, allows you to put in a bid of your choosing for a hotel, airline or rental car. If a company accepts your bid, you can sometimes save over 50 percent off the market value.


Should I Book Directly Through the Airline I Know Flies to My Destination?

If you are looking to book online, it is a good idea to use price comparison sites. These sites like Kayak.com, FareCompare.com, CheapOAir.com, TravelZoo.com, Expedia.com, Orbitz.com and others allow you to not only compare the price between different airlines, but also whether or not the flight will have a layover and how long it may be.


The Flight to My Destination Is Too Expensive. What Now?

If you can’t afford a flight, consider taking a good, old-fashioned road trip. Rental car companies such as Enterprise are currently running weekend promotional deals where cars rent for as low as $9.99 a day. If you’d like to spend more of your travel time leisurely reading instead of following a GPS, consider taking the bus. Bus companies such as Megabus and Bolt Bus offer bus fares across the country for as little as $1 if you book early enough. On average, one-way trips are about $30 dollars.


Save money in advance to have an even more enjoyable stay. Bon voyage!


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