Every time you drive away from your home you are spending money. Flights, hotels, gas expenses, you name it, no matter how you travel, traveling can put a big hole through your wallet. Nevertheless, whether you’re planning a weekend getaway, or flying abroad, there are easy ways to minimize your travel expenses. I will show you 3 simple ways to save a lot of money on your next trip.
1. Book your hotel online. Top hotel chains and motels alike offer special deals when you book them online. If you book close to your departure date, you can find enormous discounts that hotels with unsold rooms are offering. These exclusively online discounts can be as large as 50%. Another little-known way to save on your hotel booking is by using a credit card rewards mall. For example, if you book a cruise package through ShopDiscover (Discover’s online mall) with either Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean or Viking River Cruises, you can get 5% cash back on your purchase! In order to use ShopDiscover, you must own a Discover credit card and use it to make the booking.
For example, the Discover It Card, issued by Discover Financial (NYSE:DFS), gives you from 5-20% cash back when shopping through ShopDiscover – which has over 200 brand-name retailers! You can also earn 5% cash back on your purchases in rotating categories that change by quarter. These categories include gas stations, dining, movies, etc. You will get 1% cash back on all your other purchases. At certain participating merchants you can redeem your cash back for twice its value! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months. This card has no annual fee. Read our Discover Card review here to find out more.
2. Get free checked baggage. Almost all airlines in the US charge a fee for checked-baggage. For the first bag you can expect to pay around $50 per person for a round-trip on most airlines. If you are traveling with your family, this expense can be significant. However, there are ways to get your first bag checked-in for free. Certain frequent flyer credit cards let you get your first piece of checked-luggage for free.
In my opinion, one of the credit cards with the best checked-baggage offer is Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, issued by American Express (NYSE:AXP). By booking a Delta flight with this frequent flyer credit card, you will get one free checked bag for yourself and up to 9 people in your reservation. The normal price for the first checked bag on Delta is $25 for a one way trip. Which means that you would save $50 on a round trip by purchasing your ticket with your Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card. And you can save $450 in total if you purchase tickets for 9 people! You will also enjoy a 20% savings on Delta in-flight purchases and priority boarding. Earn 2 miles for every $1 you spend on Delta purchases and 1 mile for every $1 spent on other purchases. This card is good for people who frequently fly Delta since you can earn miles on your purchases and then use those miles to purchase your next flight. New members can receive 30,000 bonus miles after spending only $500 in the first 3 months of having this card. $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95. Terms and limitations apply. Read the full Delta credit card review here to see what else this card has to offer.
If you prefer credit cards that are not airline specific that let you earn miles and rewards on your purchases, take a look at our selection of the best travel credit cards.
3. Save on gas. Gas prices are on the rise according to the AAA’s fuel gauge report released on the 5th of August, 2013. For regular unleaded gasoline, the average price per gallon is 13 cents more expensive than a year ago. However, by simply using the right credit card, you can save a lot of cash on your fuel expenses. To save on your future gas purchases, consider paying with a credit card that offers cash back. Some of the best cash back credit cards are offering from 2%-5% cash back on gas station purchases. Essentially, this is like getting a 2%-5% discount on all your gas station expenses!
One of the best credit cards for gas station purchases is the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express (NYSE:AXP). You can earn 2% cash back on your purchases in U.S. stand-alone gas stations and select U.S. department stores. And that’s not all, you can also earn 3% cash back on the first $6,000 spent on your purchases in U.S. stand-alone supermarkets (1% cash back thereafter). You earn 1% cash back on other eligible purchases. One of the big advantages of this card is that there are no rotating categories – and you don’t have to enroll in any program in order to start earning cash back! As a bonus for new sign ups, you will receive 50 Reward Dollars after spending only $1,000 within the first 3 months of card membership. Enjoy 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (12.99%-21.99% variable APR after this introductory period). This card has no annual fee. Terms and limitations apply. Read the full review of Blue Cash here.
Check out our selection of the best travel credit cards to find out how you can save even more on your next trip.