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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Thrifty Travel Is Within Your Reach

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Thrifty Travel Is Within Your Reach

Now is the season for cheap airfare, hotels and even cruises. I have a friend who always does their yearly Disney cruise this month, just for that reason. You can't get it any cheaper in any other month. How do you usually go about shopping for your next vacation? If you've got some time on your hands, it will pay off to take a few extra steps.

  • Be your own travel agent. As you find new hotel, airfare, rental car and travel destination websites, bookmark them. Be sure to watch the travel section in your newspaper and keep a small notebook of company names, deals and trends.
  • Don't forget about your club memberships. I'm talking AAA, the warehouse membership stores (Sam's and Costcos as an example), AARP and other organizations you are a member of, including some of your service clubs and professional clubs.
  • Check the airfare trends. Get a good idea ahead of time what prices typically are at the time you want to travel.
  • Read up on reviews so you don't pick the dirty hotel or cheesy part of the beach. Check traveldirt.com and Lonely Planet. These sites have lots in one place and are worth a visit
  • Be sure to check the airline's or hotel chain's websites. Some only put the best deals on their sites. A perfect example is Southwest Airlines. You will not find their fares on the mass market travel websites. Sign up for email mailing lists. I've seen many last minute low prices, only available through email.
  • Check nearby airports coming and going. It CAN make a difference in price. See what other airports are close by and compare prices.
  • If your time is flexible, play the "bump game". Book a flight that is almost always sold out, typically the last flight of the day to a certain location. When they ask for volunteers to get off the plane, raise your hand. You can easily get a $$$ voucher or a free airline ticket out of it. My husband does this all the time on business trips where he doesn't have to be back right away.
  • Save money on parking by parking at a local hotel. Just make sure the hotel has a shuttle. If you are going to be gone for an extended period, it may even be cheaper to get a hotel room, leave your car at the hotel and take the shuttle in.
  • Compare the cost of driving vs. flying. Sometimes this can make a real difference! Also look into Amtrak or if you can stomach it, the bus, such as Greyhound.
  • See if you have any friends who work for an airline, hotel chain or amusement park. These employees can get free and low cost passes they can give to family and friends. It doesn't hurt to ask if they can help you out.
Added 5/8/2008:

Don't forget to visit these websites as well!

Better Bidding

Bidding for Travel

Hotwire

Priceline

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8 Comments:

Blogger tootie said...

Good tips!

Another good site is http://www.airfarewatchdog.com/

You can sign up for a weekly e-mail that lists all the cheapest flights from your nearby airport to multiple locations. There are definitely some good bargains out there!

January 8, 2008 at 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Megan @ Disorder2order said...

The one thing I have learned is that it's always important to ASK... the worst thing that can happen is someone can say no. Great post!

January 9, 2008 at 5:55 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife**** said...

Thank you for the additional tips and sites. I had not heard of the airfarewatchdog site. Also be sure to check out my airfare article on this blog.

http://lifelessonsmilitarywife.blogspot.com/2007/09/best-seats-and-best-airfare-to-be-found.html

January 9, 2008 at 1:02 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife**** said...

Read some more travel tips and Carnival of Travel Guide

http://www.airlinecreditcards.com/travelhacker/carnival-of-travel-guide-4/

January 14, 2008 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Lemon Stand said...

I just wanted you to know that I linked to this post in my Around The Blogosphere> post. :o)

January 14, 2008 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger GoGirlfriend said...

Good advice. As much as I love airfarewatchdog and Hotwire, some airlines do offer better deals on their home sites. Do a tandem comparison and you won't go wrong.

If you want more tips, check out these:

http://www.gogirlfriend.com/reviews/top-5-flying-secrets-760

January 19, 2008 at 11:30 PM  
Blogger Recovering Sociopath said...

Do you know something about Amtrak that I don't? I dream of traveling by train, but their fares are never anything but hideously expensive when I look them up.

February 1, 2008 at 4:57 AM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife**** said...

I used to think it was expensive too...and then I looked what their military rates were...it was half the price by train for me and the two kids than if we were to fly.

I don't know if I would always do it...because it really is such a waste of time...when you can fly....BUT, we made it part of our trip and brought plenty to do, so it was fun. We really enjoyed it! There are two trains I think that go back and forth between Miami and NYC...we took one of those.

February 1, 2008 at 1:30 PM  

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