(ARA) - Feeling like you’ve caught a case of the winter blues? Itching to get away, but still experiencing a bit of the post-holiday pinch? Have no fear. Here are some useful tips to help you make the most of your travel budget - regardless of its size - and hopefully, cure those pesky winter blues.
These days, it’s no secret the cost of airline travel is on the rise. Higher fares, coupled with the ever-increasing plethora of fees can be a burden on the wallet and before you know it, eat up the majority of your travel budget. However, in the first few months of the year following the holiday travel surge, great fares can be had for those willing to put in a little extra effort to find them.
To find the cheapest rates and save time, take advantage of websites that do the dirty work for you like Yapta.com. Yapta conveniently keeps track of fluctuating travel prices and sends regular e-mail alerts when desired flight prices drop or fall within your budget. Yapta can also track the price of existing reservations, detect a lower fare and alert you when you’re eligible for a refund or travel credit from the airline. By simply setting up alerts with a few clicks of a mouse, sites like Yapta can help you save big.
Earn while you spend
Prior to booking your travel plans or stopping at the ATM on the way to the airport to get some cash for meals, give your wallet a checkup; try adopting a strategy to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your vacation-budget buck. One simple way to do this is to investigate the ways you can earn rewards simply by using your credit card.
Until the end of March, for instance, Discover cardmembers can earn a 5 percent Cashback Bonus on up to $800 in travel purchases, including airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises, as well as restaurants. Once they’ve reached that limit, Discover cardmembers can still automatically earn up to a 1 percent Cashback Bonus every time they use their cards, allowing them to put as much money back into their wallets as possible. Who could resist the opportunity to earn free money while sitting back, relaxing and enjoying some much needed time off?
Cash in and travel guilt-free
Been wondering what to do with all of those points, miles or cash back you’ve stockpiled through your credit card reward programs? Now is as good a time as ever to put them to good use. Before booking your upcoming vacation, research redemption options available through your credit card reward programs and cash in those unused rewards to make your getaway more affordable.
For example, Discover provides its cardmembers with the unique opportunity to potentially redeem Cashback Bonus for more than its original value, and in some cases even double it through deals with partners like Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises as well as rental car providers like Alamo, Enterprise or National. Just be sure to check with your credit card company on offers like this, as they are subject to change. With these customer-friendly options, travelers can set out on upcoming vacations feeling guilt-free.
Regardless of how you choose to go about booking your upcoming winter getaway, just remember, your perfect budget-friendly vacation is out there waiting for you - all it takes is a little extra time, effort and research.
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