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Save on Travel Expenses

No matter where you're headed on your next getaway, take these cost-saving travel tips with you

En español | Wait for a weekday. Avoid buying airline tickets on a weekend — prices are often highest then. The best day is usually Tuesday, because many sales are launched Monday night and competitors typically scramble to match them by the next morning.

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Ship ahoy! A day pass to an island resort may beat the price of paying à la carte for a day's fun around a Caribbean island. Or book your own excursions before you sail, to avoid high-priced outings offered onboard. Check out pass costs at or call 631-630-3907.

Save on the slopes. Ski lover, find senior discounts through such clubs as the Over the Hill Gang International and the 70+ Ski Club. Check the Internet to find senior ski clubs near you.

Ye olde travel agent. Price out your trip components (air, hotel, rental car) at several online booking sites, then ask an agent to do better. Some large agencies buy blocks of tickets and rooms at bulk rates and charge less than discount websites; smaller agencies may be privy to obscure package deals.

Stand — and save. Many cafés and restaurants in Europe give you a choice of sitting at a table or standing at a counter. The food's the same, but you'll pay double for chairs and waiter service.

A person floats on a pink rubber raft in a pool 99 ways to save travel

Zac Macaulay/Cultura/Aurora Open

Relax on your next vacation knowing you saved a few pennies on your travel.

One-way wonders. In late spring, rental car companies move their fleets north from Florida; in late fall, it's the opposite. Cash in on drastically reduced one-way rates — in April, Hertz charged $5 a day (plus taxes) to take a compact from Jacksonville to Washington Dulles Airport, with no drop-off fees.

Bring your ATM card. Pass up the foreign currency exchange kiosk — you'll likely get a bad rate. Use an ATM instead. Avoid some fees by using machines affiliated with your home bank's global network. Check with your bank for details.

Dodge the fees. Many credit cards tack from 1 to 3 percent onto charges overseas. About a dozen forgo these "foreign transaction fees." Check out these cards at sites like and to make sure that benefits aren't outweighed by high annual fees or interest rates.

Take photos. Avoid rental car damage charges by documenting your vehicle's condition before and after you drive it, just in case the rental company blames you for somebody else's dent.

Beach bargains. Shop seaside thrift stores for well-priced local souvenirs or even a bike. Before going home, you can donate the bike back.

Just say no. Save by not picking up your rental at the airport, where special fees may add on as much as 10 percent. Go into town by shared shuttle or public transit.

You may also like: More ways to save on travel. >>

Contributors: Arthur Dalglish, Sid Kirchheimer, Cathie Gandel, Joan Rattner Heilman, K.C. Summers, Jeff Yeager, Bob Calandra and AARP members like you.