Jan. 14, 2005 -- -- While many Americans are using the Internet to book their vacations these days, they're not always taking advantage of money-saving online coupons before they begin their travels.
Stephanie Nelson, of www.thecouponmom.com, joined ABC News' "Good Morning America" to offer tips on how to get the best travel deals and how to find and use online coupons for travel.
While you're still looking for the best airfare for your trip, Nelson suggests consumers go to a Web site that will filter through several search engines at once. Nelson says Sidestep.com is a good place to start. If the fares are too high, Nelson suggests consumers look into Travelocity.com's farewatcher, a feature that allows you to name your desired city with a price you are willing to pay. If and when your city's fare hits that price, Travelocity will send you an e-mail to alert you of the price drop.
Nelson suggests booking your hotel by searching Sidestep.com and using the site's "compare hotels" tool. In addition, Nelson says that choosing a hotel with free value-added amenities, such as a kitchenette, free breakfast, free local phone calls and free Internet access can really help you save money.
If you need to park your car at the airport when you travel, Nelson suggests searching for free coupons ahead of time. Nelson says consumers can find coupons for many airport parking lots at Longtermparking.com.
Nelson suggests using entertainment book coupons to save on car rentals, hotel rates, dining and attractions during your travels. You can buy a specific city's book online or you can subscribe to their online service, which allows you to print just the coupons you need. You can find out more about entertainment books at Entertainment.com. Nelson says you can also save at restaurants with free coupons you can print at Valpak.com, the same company that sends you those blue envelopes full of coupons in the mail each month. Another good site for dining savings, according to Nelson, is hotcoupons.com.
Nelson suggests checking out the official visitors' bureau Web site for your destination before embarking on your trip. Nelson says you may be able to find coupons that will save you money on restaurants and tourist attractions. Some sites even offer a free visitors' package containing coupons for stores, museums, restaurants, attractions, free maps and brochures.
For more information on saving money by finding and using online coupons, go to Nelson's Web site: www.thecouponmom.com