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Save on Summer travel |

Save on Summer travel

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn  —  With Americans expected to spend an average of more than $1,100 per person for summer travel, the cost of a warm weather getaway can quickly burn the budget. Regina Conway, consumer expert with is here to help us pack our wallets with some money-saving travel hacks. 

1.     Look for credit card rewards offers and use those points – An estimated $16 billion worth of rewards points go unredeemed every year. Now is a good time to use them to book travel. It may cost more in points than in dollars, but if you’re looking to save on your budget, now may be the time to cash in. Similarly, shop around for credit card offers that provide extra incentives. For example, the Southwest credit card offers 25,000 bonus points as its sign up incentive, but several times a year, promotions are run where you can get 50,000 bonus points for signing up.

2.     Tap into technology – The internet has allowed us to tap into the power of comparison shopping for travel, but with all the options available, it’s hard to know if you’re really getting the best deal. leverages the power of social commerce to make sure you get the best deal available online whenever you shop. Millions of other savvy deal hunters scour the internet, post the deals they are finding, and then others get to vote on those deals. The site has a specific “Travel Deals Discussion” Forum, as well as a Travel Deals Discounts page to help you research the best deals available at any given point. You can also set a “Deal Alert” for a specific destination or for those credit cards with travel rewards.

3.     Rent a home or stay where you can cook – One of the major expenses that can rack up on any trip is consistently having to dine out. Home booking services such as AirBNB provide a great alternative to hotel stays. Also, consider hotels that cater to long-term stays such as Residence Inn. These provide a small kitchen, with a fridge, stovetop and plates/kitchen accessories so you can cook your own meals. Lastly, consider hitting up the supermarket fresh-prepped foods section to offset your meal costs.

4.     Access local resources – Before you go, sign up for local deal newsletters such as Groupon or LivingSocial in your destination city. This can be a great way to tap into experiences in the city at a much lower rate. Also, while the concierge desk at a hotel can be an invaluable resource with providing last minute reservations, some of the recommendations may be on the costlier side. To get a true feel for local flavor, and likely save some money, talk to the bartenders about their local favorites.

5.     Set up a savings account and teach basic budgeting to your kids – It’s easier to spend more money on a vacation when you don’t have an amount set aside in advance of planning. Some banks will allow you to set up a separate fund within your existing account that you can name as “Vacation Fund;” otherwise, consider setting up a (no fee) separate account where you can funnel your savings. It’s a lot harder to go over your set budget when you know exactly how much you have to spend. Similarly, set a vacation allowance for your kids for things like souvenirs. This will teach them responsible money habits and also help discussions around items that might be too expensive to purchase.  

6.     Try an incognito or private window when browsing – Have you ever looked at an airline ticket price, decided to hold off, only to go back a few hours later to find that the price has risen dramatically? This isn’t always preventable because airlines use computer programs that are constantly analyzing booking patterns and can change costs in real-time, with factors such as destination, schedule and overall popularity of the flight. However, once your “cookies” show that you’ve previously searched that flight, this is also factored into the equation because it indicates there’s a likelihood you are planning to go to this destination at a specific time. Try opening an incognito window, which will sometimes allow you to access the original (lower) price. 

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