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From the Magazine

5 Ways to Slash $100s From Your Holiday Travel Costs

Whether visiting family or going on a much-needed getaway, you don’t always have to splurge. There are easy ways to spend less with every step of your journey. Read on to discover the best tips to save money during the holidays!

Enjoy free food.

Before you hit the road, download the apps or bookmark the websites of restaurants you love along the way. Nine out of 10 major eateries now allow you to order meals electronically. This saves you time since you can schedule your order before you arrive and show up when it’s ready.

Plus, most eateries offer money-saving incentives to use their electronic ordering options, like surprise freebies and loyalty programs that earn you points you can apply toward free food. Ordering via apps and websites means restaurants can serve customers faster, so they’re happy to give out lots of holiday deals to encourage folks to use them. For example, Krispy Kreme recently offered app users a free donut, Panera gave away a free pastry and Sonic handed out half-price cheeseburgers and drinks.

Fly for under $100

The cost of airfare has risen steadily this year. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a bundle to fly, thanks to a growing number of low-budget airlines that fly all over the country for as little as $70 round trip. How do they do it? They offer a no-frills approach (for example, there may not be Wi-Fi), but the flight is comfortable and as safe as large airlines.

To find out if low-cost carriers head to your destination, visit Avelo, Breeze, Allegiant, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country, and Silver. Going where budget airlines don’t fly? If traveling with others, try booking tickets separately. Single-purchased seats often sell for less, and since airlines have a limited number of seats for each price point, if you buy more than what’s available in that range, all your seats are charged the higher price.

Best Tip to Save Money on Cars

Renting a car? Visit Auto Slash, which compares prices across major rental companies and lets you know if the price of a reservation you already made drops so you can rebook it at the lower cost!

In addition, this money-saving website gives you access to rental coupons from different companies. You can also search discounts based on your memberships, such as AAA or a rental company membership.

To make the most informed decision, check out websites like Costco Travel and Expedia as well. By comparing prices across multiple websites, you’ll have a much better chance of scoring a deal.

Spend less at the fuel pump.

You probably know to avoid gas stations located within two miles of a freeway. Their prices are highest since they’re the first stops travelers spot when looking to fill up. Well, a new study found an even better way to save: Head to a gas station that also offers a car wash or convenience store. These amenities subsidize the cost of fuel, allowing owners to charge less.

Also smart: Visit a gas station near a Costco, Sam’s Club or other discount gas retailer. The same study found nearby gas stations lower their prices to compete.

Nab a vacation rental for $100s less.

Renting a house, condo, or apartment can often cost you less than a hotel while offering more cash-saving amenities – like a full kitchen and laundry room. To save even more: Do an online search for the address of a vacation rental where you want to stay. Most hosts list their properties on more than one travel website, which can mean you could pay less in fees by finding a cheaper option. Some hosts also list their rentals on their own website for hundreds of dollars less than you’d find on a vacation rental booking site because they don’t have to pay hefty host charges when you book through them directly.

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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