credit card advice
The kick-off to summer is quickly approaching, and families across America have likely begun planning vacations near and far. According to a 2013 American Express Survey, the average cost of a summer vacation for a family of four is $4,580 – a pricey expenditure for many.
Tom Spagnola, CheapOair’s travel expert, has a few tips for planning an effortless, affordable and enjoyable Memorial Day vacation without cleaning out your savings account by comparing travel websites, leveraging hotel loyalty points and taking advantage of your credit cards – yes, credit cards!
1. Use a Credit Card with Rewards
In addition to accommodating your daily spending habits, many credit cards offer holders an abundance of rewards they can use towards vacations, restaurant reservations and merchandise.
You rack these points up simply by using your credit card for everyday purchases and paying off the balance in a timely manner. Using credit cards with rewards, you’re effectively cutting the cost of your vacation simply by going about your daily routine.
Some perks include:
- Travel benefits and partnership rewards, such as discounts at hotels, restaurants or attractions (museums, amusement parks, etc.)
- Earned points for regular purchases like groceries or gasoline
- Gift cards and brand name merchandise
- Attractive sign-up offers
2. Be flexible with Dates
It pays – or saves – to be flexible with your travel dates. Sometimes traveling one or two days before originally planned presents more affordable flight and hotel options.
3. Book Early
Typically booking flights and hotel rooms 30 or more days in advance yields the most affordable options as opposed to accommodations booked a few days before your vacation. Book your flight and hotel room as soon as you confirm your vacation plans.
4. Compare Prices
To search and book budget-friendly flight deals with efficiency and ease, consider utilizing comparative websites like CheapOair.com to compare a wide variety of airfare prices. Sites like CheapOair will even mix and match fares from different airlines to find the best deals.
Likewise, be sure to compare different credit card offers so you can find the one that best suits your lifestyle and goals.
5. Be Loyal
Leverage hotel loyalty programs and point systems toward hotel accommodations. With the elimination of blackout dates, many hotel loyalty programs make it easier for travelers to cash in their reward points for free hotel stays during peak travel season.
Bonus tip: Choose your loyalty program wisely. Some hotels allow members to use their points toward free stays at all-inclusive resort properties.
Follow Me: Begin following travel brands and hotel properties on social media to get real-time updates on flash sales and exclusive promo codes for followers. In addition to following those brands on social media, sign up for email newsletters and fare alerts.
Photo credit: discoveralabamabeaches.com