Clip and save for cost-cutting ideas on shows, restaurants, hotels, and airfare.
By Christine Benz | 04-21-11 | 06:00 AM | Email Article

28. If you frequently visit the same location, register for fare alerts via an online travel site such as  Expedia   or Orbitz   to surface the best deals as they become available. Sites like let you search multiple sites for discounted airfare and hotels. Use a site such as to search for airfares based on price, departure and arrival time, and "agony"--a creative analysis of painful layovers or overpriced options.

Christine Benz is Morningstar's director of personal finance and author of 30-Minute Money Solutions: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing Your Finances and the Morningstar Guide to Mutual Funds: 5-Star Strategies for Success. Follow Christine on Twitter: @christine_benz.

29. Buy plane tickets on Tuesday for the best deals. This article offers other tips on obtaining optimal pricing for airline tickets.

30. Paying an additional $50 per flight for baggage-check fees can really jack up the cost of airline travel. Avoid extra costs by traveling light or sticking with airlines that offer free baggage check, such as  Southwest .

31. Join AARP for $16 a year to receive discounts on everything from hotels to rental cars.

32. Use a hotel-discount site like to obtain good deals on lodging, or  , which lets you name your own price for hotels. offers you insight into what you might get while bidding for hotels on (example, $35/night instead of $70).

33. Cross-reference discounts available on hotel sites with user reviews on other sites, such as, to find lodging that offers the best combination of price and quality.

34. When traveling overseas, make sure your credit card isn't charging you a foreign transaction fee on purchases--most do, and it's an extra 3% on every purchase. Capital One cards do not charge this fee and a few credit unions don't, either.

35. Do you dream about buying a vacation home? Renting a month or two a year via a site such as is bound to be much more cost-effective than maintaining your own home, and you'll be able to sample a variety of locations to boot.

36. Ask if there are senior discounts available when making hotel, flight, car-rental, and tour reservations.

37. Plan to hit several museums within the same city? Many cities offer museum passes that provide a discount on prime tourist spots; other cities, such as London, offer passes that entitle you to free admission at certain locations.

38. Live in a prime location? Sites like allow you to switch homes with other families across the globe.

39. Check out (the snazzy new name for what was formerly called Elderhostel) for a huge array of educational/travel tours at often-reasonable prices. Your local park district or community college may also offer reasonably priced tours.

40. Take advantage of your flexible schedule to book last-minute flight and hotel reservations. The major travel sites--including,, and all offer an array of last-minute packages, as do cruise lines.

41. Consider renting a house or apartment from a rental site like or rather than staying in hotels. You'll save by being able to have at least some meals at home; you'll also enjoy more living space and a taste of how the locals live. Such arrangements are invariably more cost-effective than hotel stays when traveling with friends and family.

42. Try a staycation to visit all those spots in your community that you've been meaning to visit but never had the time.

43. Save on airfares by flying Monday through Thursday and avoiding the weekends. Flight costs are much more friendly to those who don't have to report to work from Monday through Friday!

44. Travel to scenic locations in the off season. Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Vail, Colo., are as beautiful in the summer months as they are in winter; Paris and Venice, Italy, are as beguiling in winter as they are in high season.

45. Consider travel in so-called shoulder seasons--the period between the peak season for a given locale and the low season (when people often stay away for good reason).

46. Shop a local supermarket (no matter what country you're in) for breakfast, lunch, and snacks and beverages; such markets often have prepared food for a fraction of what you'd pay in a restaurant, and they can also be great entertainment for foodies.

47. Soak up the local scenery by putting together a picnic lunch and parking yourself in a prime people-watching spot.

48. Walk or use public transport rather than using taxis. You'll save money and soak up a lot more local color.

49. Don't rule out hostels. Many have private rooms with ensuite bathrooms, which can be a lower-cost alternative to a full-service hotel. is a great resource that will let you read reviews to weed out the apparent party hostels.

50. Consider staying in a guest-house in a foreign country. Such lodging options are often cheaper than a full-service hotel, and they will afford you a much more culturally rich experience (such as getting to know the owner/operator, other travelers, and so on).

See More Articles by Christine Benz

New! 30-Minute Money Solutions
Need help picking up the pieces in this turbulent market? 30-Minute Money Solutions by Morningstar director of personal finance Christine Benz simplifies the daunting task of getting your financial house in order. Written for novice and experienced investors alike, this book offers manageable, step-by-step solutions for tackling money challenges and building a comprehensive financial plan in simple 30-minute increments. Learn more.
 Order Your Copy Today--$16.95  
Securities mentioned in this article



Morningstar Rating Morningstar Analyst Report
With Morningstar Analyst reports you can get our expert Buy/Sell opinions on over 3,900 Stock and Funds
Christine Benz does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar's editorial policies.
Sponsored Links
Sponsor Center
Content Partners