Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Next Vacation

Article excerpt

Vacations are a great way to relax, reconnect with family and escape the daily grind of work. But they can also quickly drain your savings account. So here are five of our favorite tips to save a bit of cash on your next trip.

SEARCH FOR JUST ONE AIRLINE TICKET

Airlines set aside seats in a series of fare buckets or classes. We aren't talking about first class vs. economy class. No, these classes are those tiny letters you often see next to a flight, such as L, Q, K or U. The seats are the same; the price isn't.

A fare bucket might have nine tickets left for sale or just one. And here's where it gets tricky. If there is just one ticket left but you are searching for two or more seats, the airline will skip over that cheapest ticket and offer seats in the next fare class up.

Bargain hunters should always search for one seat at a time. Then increase your search up to the number of tickets you actually want. If the price is the same, go ahead a book it. If the price is different, consider booking two separate itineraries; the first at the cheaper price, the second for the remaining passengers at the higher price. But beware: If your flight is canceled, your party might be split when rebooked onto a new flight.

AVOID BAG FEES

Getting an airline branded credit card can mean no checked luggage fees. This isn't always advisable but can save a large family substantially.

Airlines typically charge $25 each way for the first checked suitcase. For a couple checking two bags, that means an extra $100. Add in a suitcase for a kid and you are looking at $150.

American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines all have credit cards that waive those fees. The cards carry a $95 annual fee, so you really need to do your math.

Make sure to read the fine print. All three airlines require you to use the credit card to book your flight. United only waives the fee for the cardholder and one companion. American allows three companions and Delta waives the fee for up to eight others. Everybody must be on the same reservation.

SAVE ON LIFT TICKETS

This is one area where paying in advance almost always saves money. Most ski resorts now offer online ticket sales at a pretty substantial discount. …

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