Rental car, hotel and other travel hacks that can save you $50 or more
While it’s likely too late to save money on airfare for Labor Day (and hopefully you’ve already booked it), there are still plenty of ways to save on everything from hotels and rental cars to where to board your pets while you’re away. Here are four travel-savings secrets you should use this Labor Day.
Book your rental car now, but skip airport locations
Data from Kayak shows that searches for car rentals spike right before the holiday weekends. “To score a good deal, travelers should plan to book 2-4 weeks ahead of time (aka now is the time to book!) which can save them up to 14%,” says Kayla Inserra, a spokesperson for Kayak. Look to book at locations other than the airport, which can save you even more, experts say; consider the cost of a taxi, Uber or Lyft to the other locations. Often, even with the added cost, the off-airport locations are the way to go.
Even if you’ve already booked you may be able to save: Enter your reservation number into AutoSlash.com, advises Doron Nadivi, the head of bilateral business development for the Chamber of Commerce Israel Costa Rica, a company that connects entrepreneurs between the two countries. The site tracks what you paid and will automatically rebook you to a lower rate if the rate drops.
Wait until the last minute to book your hotel
Data from Kayak shows that waiting until the last minute can save you big on hotels (as opposed to flights where booking in advance is your best bet). If you’re flexible about when you check in, do it on a Sunday — it can save you 6%, Kayak found. HotelTonight.com, Booking.com and Hotels.com all offer last-minute deals.
Already booked your hotel? Not to worry, many allow you to cancel your reservation as long as you are 24 hours or more from check-in. It’s risky — you may not get as great of a hotel as you have now — but then again, you could get a five-star locale for much less than you’re paying. You can also read more about scoring great hotel deals here.
Get hotel upgrades and perks for free
Once you’re in your five-star-yet-budget-friendly hotel, politeness and personalization are the name of the game; after all, you’re not a VIP who paid full price for your room. “Address hotel staff by their first names — far too often, they go unrecognized for their efforts and I’ve found that by simply acknowledging them by their first name (it’s usually on their nametag but it doesn’t hurt to ask) will go a long way, whether you’re asking for a late checkout or higher floor for your room,” says Igor Hadzismajlovic, the co-founder of bar Employees Only, who travels frequently between the multiple locations of his bar. Adds Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot, “a small and polite ask may go a long way.”
Don’t board the pets
One in five Americans with a pet has boarded Fido at a local vet , pet hotel or doggy daycare while on vacation, which can easily cost $50 or more a day — a cost many forget to factor in when budgeting for their Labor Day travels. But as I wrote in MarketWatch last year, there are tons of great ways to avoid these high costs, including sites like DogVacay.com and Rover.com, which offer vetted pet sitters, boarding at pet sitters homes and more.
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