For those who travel frequently for business and pleasure, the costs of hotels and rental cars can add up quickly. Even with a per diem from your business or money saved up for a vacation, you can find these expenses burning through your cash or maxing out your credit card much faster than you would like. Here’s a few suggestions to find savings on hotels and rental cars before you leave home:
Make a spending plan
Would you like to stay in a 5-star hotel or in Motel 6? Are you looking forward to expensive, fine dining or eating from a local food truck? Whatever your priorities are, plan before you go and make choices as to how you’re going to spend your money; this way you’ll cut out excess spending and be more satisfied with your experience. You’ll also be able to effectively plan out the length of your stay based on your available funds, if you are vacationing.
Often the travel websites like Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak and Priceline can offer savings if you bundle your hotel, rental car and flight together. Kayak is a great search option as it searches airlines, rental car companies and the travel websites themselves. When pricing a bundle, also make sure to price the different options individually to see if you are, in fact, saving any money. In general bundling can often save quite a bit of money. Occasionally, you’ll luck out with deals like $9 for a rental car and hotel with an airfare for a 4-day excursion. Devote some time to examining these sites and you can often find hidden bargains, especially if you have flexible travel dates.
Go to the source
While the aggregator websites might have great bundle deals, often you can also find savings by going straight to the rental car companies and hotels themselves. It’s worth it to comparison shop, as the companies themselves often offer the best deals. Sign up for all major hotel chain and rental car company email lists, and you’ll receive firsthand notification of the deals as they are announced. (Filter them to a special folder if you don’t want to clog your inbox, or to a separate junk email account.)
Use already available resources
Students, teachers, emergency workers, AAA members, AARP members, military personnel and government employees can all receive discounts when they shop, dine or stay at hotels. Often these same discounts are applicable to rental cars. Almost every hotel chain and rental car company has a rewards program; frequent travelers need to join as many as possible (some are free, some have annual fees) and make sure they are aware of their reward possibilities. Credit cards and air miles programs also offer significant discounts in this department. You might be surprised at the discounts already present in your available memberships; make sure you are maximizing the possible savings from your current available resources!
The Alliance For Affordable Services is committed to helping members save money while traveling for business or pleasure. Members can save up to 20% on Budget, Hertz, and Enterprise car rentals, and up to 70% on the best available rate at 26,000 locations nationwide with the Hotel Access Card. There are also member discounts available for Expedia and Zipcar, and the Hotel Savings Program offers up to 15% off stays at over 7,500 Wyndham properties. For more information, and to become an Alliance member, visit the Alliance Direct Benefits website today or call us at 1-800-733-2242 (M-F, 7am-5:30pm Central Time).