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When having to travel, it can become a major chore to decide when you are going to travel, how you are going to travel, and where you are going to stay. There are several options when making your plans:

1. Try to always book well in advance. It really is no big secret that the further out you book, the cheaper your costs are. Why? Because the demand for your travel criteria has not reached a high level just yet. When the demand increases, it pushes up the price. When there is no demand, the prices remain low.

2. Shop around. Just when you think you have the best deal, there could be one more waiting just around the corner. Example, I booked a hotel using Priceline’s Name Your Own Price tool, but had I just waited a few seconds to check Hotwire, I would have gotten a higher-star hotel at a lower price and I would have saved $15.00!

3. Use Gas Buddy! Gas Buddy is a website that helps its users find cheap gas stations no matter where they are at or trying to go. There is also a phone app for Gas Buddy as well. Not only can you find cheap gas, the site also allows you to plan your trip according to where you can get cheap gas along the way. The site also has weekly $250 gas giveaways. Visit the website for more information.

4. Call the airlines and hotels directly. Sometimes, they might be able to offer an unpublicized discount directly. It never hurts to ask!

5. Use discount sites often. Priceline and Hotwire are the top two sites to use when it comes to booking travel. Priceline allows you to save by naming your own price and bidding on travel. Sometimes, you can save up to 75% off on a hotel and even snag a 4 star hotel at that! Hotwire offers steep discounts on travel, but you do not have the option to bid. In either case, you will not know the name of the hotel until after you buy. The trick: research the hotels in the area you are traveling to. This will give you an idea of the hotels in the star category you want to be in, and it will also give you an idea of the public rate and whether or not you’re getting a good deal.

6. Pick your travel dates wisely. The day you travel will have the biggest impact on the cost of your trip. If you can control the days you travel, research when the rates go up and down using each site’s calendars. It will give you a glimpse into when you can get the best rates possible.

7. Maintain your car if driving. Always take care of your vehicle before hitting the road. Oil change and tire rotation/balance are the top two checklist items that are a must before traveling long distance. A healthy car will help cut down the costs on gas because it will run more efficiently.

Have any other cost-saving suggestions? Be sure to share them with our readers!

Until next time…