NEW YORK — 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.
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. The catch: you must commit to the mountain and — in many cases — exact dates. If the weather is poor, you are out of luck.
For instance, Colorado’s Aspen Snowmass resort is offering four-day adult lift tickets during the peak of this year’s season for $476 at the ticket window. Purchase the same ticket at least a week in advance and save $40.
Some mountains offer more flexibility. Utah’s Brighton sells a one-day ticket for $75 at the mountain. But a print-at-home ticket valid any day during the season is just $68.
For further savings, consider Liftopia.com, which sells advance tickets for specific dates. Locking in a lift ticket now for an early January Tuesday at Brighton brought the price down to $53. In some cases, Liftopia adds in ski rentals or food vouchers, which can save more.
Keep checking car rentals: Most car rental reservations can easily be canceled or changed up until you pick up the vehicle. If prices fall, you can rebook at the lower rate. But most travelers don’t have the time to constantly recheck prices.
That’s where AutoSlash.com comes in. The site tracks your rentals. First, book a reservation with one of the big car rental companies. Then enter the reservation details into AutoSlash. The site will email you if a better deal is available.
Decline car rental insurance: Car rental firms sell collision damage waiver (CDW) insurance for up to $25 extra a day. It offers protection from theft, vandalism or other damage.
Your personal insurance policy likely covers rentals. It probably also extends liability insurance. But confirm this with the insurer long before you get to the rental counter.
Many credit cards offer rental car insurance. Some offer primary insurance. Most only cover what your personal insurance does not. And cards have plenty of exclusions.
Debit cards typically don’t offer much coverage.
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