If you're lucky enough to have a Spring Break built into your job or schooling, we have some advice for you. Never leave! Just kidding, but really, if you've got it, why not take advantage and start making travel plans? Vacations don't have to be expensive, and we've got some tips for you on finding the cheapest flight to your favorite destination and even some deals for stocking up on Spring Break essentials like swim suits and digital cameras at sale prices.
The number one rule in looking for flights is to always check all your options. Putting in the extra half hour or so to make sure you have exhausted all the different opportunities is always going to pay off. Luckily, we live in the world of Kayak, Orbitz, and Expedia (just to name a few) and searching for flights takes just a couple clicks of your mouse and taps on your keyboard. If you have flexibility and don't need to book the flight immediately, make sure to check flight prices on Tuesdays, when airlines generally drop prices for unsold seats. You can also set price alerts on most travel sites, which are great for finding the cheapest flight to visit Grandma in the next six months. If you use search engine Bing to search for flights, they even give you flight price projections (predictions on whether the price of a flight will continue to fall or rise) and offer a suggestion of whether to wait or buy now. It's not a perfect science, but it can definitely give you a better idea of flight prices and their general patterns.
Another savvy way to snag cheap (and often free!) flights is to earn them through airline rewards programs. Here are a couple great credit card deals that can help you score free flights, some even by just applying and making one purchase! Can't get much better than a free flight in exchange for a pack of gum.
Use Credit Card Miles for Cheap Flights
30000 Miles w/ $500 on Gold Delta Amex: Get 30,000 bonus miles when you sign up for a Gold Delta Skymiles Card and spend $500 within the first three months. Plus, you get free checked bags on all Delta flights and 20% off Delta purchases plus double miles. Remember the days of free checked bags always? Sigh.
Chase Sapphire: $625 Back for Flights: Sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, spend $3000 in the first 3 months, and you get your choice of $500 cash back, or $625 towards airline tickets. That's what we call a win, win!
Chase Southwest Plus: Free Flight: Qualify for a Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus Card and make your first purchase to get 25,000 bonus points. That's $400 in Wanna Get Away Fares--enough for a free round-trip flight! So what will it be -- spearmint or peppermint?
30,000 Starpoints w/ AmEx Starwood Card: Sign up for the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express Card and you'll get 10,000 points with your first purchase, and when you spend $5,000 in 6 months, you'll get 15,000 bonus points. Those points can be transferred to frequent flier miles for over 30 different airlines! Read more about the AMEX Starwood here.
2012 Entertainment Book for $18 Shipped This is no credit card deal. These books come with coupons you can use on flights on nearly every major airline!
Bundle Your Flight and Hotel
Save by booking your hotel and flight together via Orbitz or Expedia, or check out some more great deals to save on hotel stays:
Citi HHonors Visa: 40,000 Bonus Points: Sign up for the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card to get 40,000 HHonors Bonus points after spending $1000 in the first 4 months. This is enough points for up to a 5 night stay at a Category 1 hotel!
Hotels.com: Up to $100 Rebate: Get rebates up to $100 when booking hotels through Hotels.com. It can save you $20 off a 3-night booking, $30 off a 5-night booking, $50 off an 8-night booking, $75 off a 10-night book, and $100 off a 12-night booking.
Travelocity: Up To 30% off Spring Travel: Save up to 30% on hotels as part of Travelocity's Cherry-Picked Spring Travel Sale.
Flaunt Your Student Status
Are you a student? You can earn you thousands of discounts on everything from travel to clothing to dining with a current student ID or proof of enrollment. Check out our blog post on how and where to earn student discounts. Also, don't forget to check STA Travel when booking your flight or hotel for current deals and promotions.
Pack Your Bags Wisely
Now that you've done your research and booked your dream destination (good work, by the way), it's time to pack. But you lent your suitcase to your brother's wife's cousin who lives hours away. Shoot. Luckily, LuggageGuy is offering 35% off.
Finally it's time to fill that suitcase with what you really wish you were wearing right now. Not that that Hunger Games t-shirt and sweatpants combo isn't cute, but here are some other clothing deals you might want to take a look at.
Sunglass Hut: 50% off + Free Ship
Swimsuits For All: Up to 40% off
Eddie Bauer: Up to 20% off Swimwear Sale
Kodak M200 10MP Digital Camera Bundle $39
Canon T3 DSLR 3 Lens/ 20pc Bundle $540
Express: Up to 50% off Select Items
Rockport: 30% off + Free Shipping
Kohls: Women's Dresses from $14 Shipped
Alloy: 3 Pairs of Sandals for $30 Shipped
So get planning BradsDealers! And if you need some inexpensive travel inspiration, check out how Brad scored a $40K trip to Australia and New Zealand almost for free! Make sure to check back tomorrow for part two of our Spring Break series, "Once You're There."
Where are you headed this Spring Break? And how do you maximize your spending on a vacation? Let us know in the comments below!
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