One of the perks of being a teacher is the opportunity to get away over the summer. Here are ways to make your hard-earned travel dollars go as far as they can:
• Research package deals: Airlines and hotels are willing to offer incredibly low prices to fill their rooms and seats. But because they’re reluctant to publicize these low rates, they sell some rooms and seats to companies that put them together as package deals.
• Get a free rental car upgrade: Book the cheapest rental car you can live with and arrive early in the day, before most customers have returned their cars. The agency may not have any cheap cars to give you, and they are obligated to give you a bigger model at no extra charge.
• Know when to buy airfare: Research has shown that the best time to buy airline tickets is Tuesdays at 3 p.m. Mid-week (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) purchases will nab you better rates because airlines release their promotional fares on Sundays and Mondays and often raise prices at the end of the week. And booking about eight weeks in advance can be the sweet spot for keeping costs low.
• Book cruises through a travel agent: Find one who has a close relationship with a cruise line to help you get upgrades and extras. If you like a particular cruise line, joining its loyalty program can nab you invites to members-only events and coupons worth up to $500. On a less-loyal note, however, you’ll usually save on airfare if you book flights independently, not through the cruise line.