'Centsable' Travel: Vacation on the Cheap

Travel Tip #5: Rent Vacation Homes Directly

Websites like Vacation Rental By Owner make it easy. Renting vacation homes directly can provide a hefty savings because leasing companies mark up the rental price, often even doubling it. Chrissy and friends once stayed in a 7-bedroom, million-dollar house with every swanky amenity for just $70 a night per family.

"That's nice to know that we're staying in a really nice place but we're paying less than the people who are staying right next door," she said.

Additional Web resources:

Vacation Rentals at VRWD.com
Better Business Bureau Tips

Web Exclusive Travel Tips

Check out the following for more tips from Chrissy and Kristin available only on the "Good Morning America" website.

Bargain Aggressively on Travel Websites

Websites like Priceline.com that let you name your price for airline tickets and the like can be great bargains, but many people don't go back and forth enough times with the site. Here are some bargaining tips from Chrissy and Kristin:

Search online for the cheapest fare to your destination.
Offer less than half of that price for a ticket on Priceline or similar sites.
Don't accept the first counteroffer unless it is about half the lowest fare you saw elsewhere online.
Instead, bid just under the counteroffer.
Repeat this process until you see the lowest fare offered. You'll know you've seen it when you get the same counteroffer more than once.
Throughout the process, note whether taxes and fees are included or not. Sometimes an initial counteroffer doesn't include them but a later one will.

Travel Mid-Week

According to Chrissy and Kristin, airline tickets are often cheaper midweek when leisure travelers are less likely to fly. If you're flexible, experiment with moving your trip dates a few days earlier or later and see what happens price-wise.

Hint: Tuesday and Wednesday seem to be cheapest!

Embrace Airline E-Mails

Set up an extra junk e-mail account just for travel and sign up with every airline you're interested in, Chrissy and Kristin said. Airlines send all sorts of low fare offers and this way they won't clog up your main inbox. Check the travel e-mail account when you're ready to book a trip and see what's there.

Join Hotel Rewards Programs

Lots of leisure travelers make good use of frequent flyer miles, but not as many participate in hotel rewards programs. If you find a chain you like, sticking with it can reap great rewards. Another alternative, websites like Hotels.com offer request guest rewards too, good for any hotel in their portfolio, Chrissy and Kristin said.

Choice Hotels: Stay Two Nights, Get One Free

Hotels.com: Stay 10 Nights, Get One Free

Multi-Attraction Passes

According to Kristin and Chrissy, it's often cheaper -- as much as 50 percent off -- to buy passes that get you into multiple attractions in your destination city rather than buying individual tickets for each.

Two websites that sell these passes are:

City Pass
Go Cards

Free Hotel Shuttles

To avoid the expense of renting a car, you can take public transit in many places. But often the less expensive hotels aren't near a transit station. Solution? Often there is public transportation to the airport. Use the free hotel airport shuttle to get to the airport and jump on the public transportation system from there, Chrissy and Kristen said.

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