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Planes, Cars, Hotels — How to Book Everything Cheaper and Better

Booking travel can be a stressful experience. You want to hold out for a good deal, but you don’t want to wait too long and end up paying more. So from plane tickets to rental cars and hotels, here are a few hacks and reminders to help you become a booking ninja. Airlines 1. Look around It might seem easier to book with a site like Kayak or Orbitz, but they don’t always have the best deal. Before you book, be sure to check directly on the airlines website. Sometimes they have cheaper tickets, and it’s the best way to avoid hidden fees. 2. Book two, not one Don’t assume that you have to book a round trip ticket. I’ve had luck booking two one-way tickets at a lower price. 3. Seat strategy Not all seats are created equal. The website SeatGuru has a detailed seat map of every plane on every airline. So before you pick your seat, do some research to ensure you don’t end up in a seat that doesn’t recline, or is next to the bathroom. 4. Cancel it For most airlines, you have 24 hours to cancel your plane ticket…Even sites like Orbitz and Priceline give you a 24 hour window. One major exception is American Airlines who doesn’t allow you cancel after 24 hours. However, you can put a flight on hold for 24 hours, which I think is a decent compromise. So if you book a ticket, but find a better deal later in the day, know that you have options. Rental Cars 1. Skip the insurance Many credit cards offer basic rental car coverage. Be sure to research the benefits of your credit card beforehand, and skip the insurance which sometimes adds 10-15 dollars to your bill per day. 2. Forget loyalty If you’re a loyalty member to a rental car company, log in and look for rates. Then, log out, clear your cookies, and search again. Sometimes you get a better deal by not being in the loyalty program —makes no sense, but its true. 3. Bid A lot of people forget out Priceline’s “Name your own price.” which allows you to bid whatever you want for a rental car. I use this option frequently and have saved up to $5 a day on cars…which adds up! Hotels 1. Use your discounts Before you book, check for discounts. Groups like AAA and AARP have discounts at many hotels. VISA also offers certain hotel discounts if you book using your VISA card. 2. Upgrade later You might want the king size bed, but the queen room is likely cheaper. Instead of splurging, reserve the cheaper room and simply ask for an upgrade when you check in. If the front desk person is in a good mood, it might work in your favor.
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