by Audra R.Jones, CPA
Smart Vacation Saving
What better way to pamper yourself than to take a summer vacation! If you choose to fly, being a smart traveler and knowing a few tricks will help you enjoy the flight as much as the vacation itself.
1. Use airfarewatchdog.com to find the best air fare deals. You can save searches and have alerts sent to your e-mail with deals between cities you choose. Many of the fares come directly from airline websites so there is not an additional posting fee.The site also lists web-only and promotional code fares. Keep in mind peak flying time is Thursday through Sunday and it is cheaper to fly during the week.
2. Purchase airline tickets in advance. Remember that connecting flights are generally cheaper than direct flights and airlines can cancel nonstop flights without much warning and re-book you on a connecting flight.
3. Always ask for discounts-especially with groups you're affiliated with, such as AAA and professional organizations.
4. Try to not check a bag. Most airlines now charge extra fees for checked bags. Having only a carry-on bag will also save time since you can avoid baggage check-in and claim all together. If you have more items than can fit into your bag, you can always ship luggage ahead using ground shipping. Shipping ahead is reasonably priced and offers more security and tracking than the airlines.
5. Take advantage of overbooking. If you are not in a time-crunch, volunteer to give up your seat. You can do this when you check in for your flight. If your seat is needed, you can earn free flights or even cash from the airline. Monday morning and Friday afternoon flights are the most likely to be overbooked.
6. Set up a vacation savings account. Although withdrawals may be limited to two per year, this is a great way to separate travel money and not spend it on other items. If you have more than six months to save, consider investing in a money market account or CD with a higher interest rate.
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The contents and opinions
contained in this article are for informational purposes only. The
information is not intended to be a substitute for professional
accounting counsel. Always seek the advice of your accountant or other
financial planner with any questions you may have regarding your