8 Simple Ways to Save Over $600 on Your Next Vacation

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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

two people looking at a lake

Who wouldn’t want to save $619 on their next vacation?

We asked three experts to share simple tips to pay less to travel, as well as an estimate of the dollar savings for each tip. In all, we estimate this advice could save you at least $619 per traveler, and possibly more for a longer stay.

Don’t worry — there’s still time to plan your cheap summer vacation. But before you do, make sure you’re following these travel strategies to get more summer fun while spending less.

1. Don’t buy airfare at the last minute

Potential savings: $139 or more

“The best piece of advice I can give is to not book too late,” said Liana Corwin, travel expert for airfare search app Hopper. “This is the costliest (and one of the most common) mistakes that travelers make, setting them back an average of $139 on domestic trips and $529 on international ones.”

2. Don’t buy airfare too early, either

Potential savings: $38 or more

Corwin said Hopper’s research found that you can book too early, too. If you find the pricing window “sweet spot,” you could save $38 on domestic flights, and $474 internationally, according to Hopper’s flight search data.

“If you’re traveling to a traditional business destination like New York or Washington, D.C., the best prices tend to be about three months in advance of departure,” Corwin said. “If you’re heading to a classic vacation destination such as Hawaii or Cancun, however, you’re likely to find the lowest deals about one month before your trip.”

3. Shop around before booking

Potential savings: $46 or more

“Another mistake travelers often make is booking their flights the same day that they search for them,” Corwin said. Hopper’s research found that two-thirds of ticket prices will drop within 24 hours of a customer’s first airfare search.

Waiting for a drop offers average savings of $46 on domestic trips or $139 internationally, Corwin said.

“An app like Hopper will tell you if the flight price you’re looking at is a good deal and whether you should buy now or wait,” she added. “No guessing needed!”

4. Pack in carry-ons only

Potential savings: $50 round trip

Checking a bag when flying will usually land you with a $25 fee. You also could face additional charges if your checked bag is overweight or if you check more than one bag.

If you can manage to travel light, you’ll be able to save some cash — $25 each way for a total savings of $50 round trip. Two U.S. airlines don’t charge a fee for the first checked bag, according to USA Today: Southwest Airlines and Cape Air.

Even if you’re planning to pack only in carry-on bags, check each airlines’ baggage policy, advised Johnny DiScala, founder of travel savings site JohnnyJet.com.

“Some of the new basic economy fares charge even for carry-on bags,” he said.

5. Skip hotels with resort fees

Potential savings: $21 a night

“Make sure there are no resort fees before reserving a night,” DiScala said.

The average resort fee is $21, according to The Washington Post. By checking prices and avoiding this fee, you could save up $100 or more on a five-night stay.

Since it’s not included in average nightly rates, however, you might not take account for resort fees when comparing the costs of different hotels. Make sure you’re carefully checking for all fees and reviewing your total before making a final decision.

6. Check price even after you’ve booked

Potential savings: $10 or more a night

Even after you’ve found a hotel that you like and booked your reservation, you can still shop around for a better deal.

“Keep checking the price of the hotel after [you] book,” DiScala suggested.

As your booked date approaches, your hotel might lower prices or run a promotional offer that’s less than your initial rate.

If the price goes down, cancel your first reservation and rebook at the lower price, DiScala said. Be sure to watch out for cancellation fees, which could negate the savings you could get by rebooking.

7. Eat in for one meal

Potential savings: $15 a day

Just because you’re not at home doesn’t mean you have to eat out for every meal. Finding a way to eat free or cheap can save as much (or more) than $15 a person, per day.

For example, a lot of hotels offer a continental breakfast that’s included in your rate. You can get your first meal of the day for free, as well as grab an apple or banana to snack on while you’re out and about.

“[You could also] have a large lunch and small dinner since lunch menus tend to be cheaper,” DiScala said.

Booking a hotel or Airbnb property that has a fridge and microwave can allow you to go grocery shopping and save more money, he added.

8. Take advantage of travel credit cards

Potential savings: Up to $300

Your method of payment for vacation costs can also be an opportunity to save.

“There are a significant number of perks that come with travel and airline credit cards,” said Bill Hardekopf, CEO of credit card comparison site LowCards.com.

One of the biggest savings comes on the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

“[It] gives you a $300 travel credit each year as a reimbursement for your travel purchases (done on your anniversary date of becoming a cardholder),” Hardekopf said.

“The Bank of America Premium Rewards card gives you up to $200 in combined airline incidental and expedited screening costs,” he added.

This offsets expenses such as baggage fees and even TSA Precheck application costs.

These tips are a great starting point to save on your next trip. They also prove that paying less for your next vacation can be simple.

If you invest a small amount of time in researching airfare and comparing hotel rates, you can shave hundreds of dollars off your travel costs. And using smart travel strategies and tools to find and compare deals makes it even easier.

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Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2018!
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1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Personal LoansFixed rates from 6.199% APR to 15.365% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.145% APR to 14.685% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of June 15, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.145% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.97% plus 4.175% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply:SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

2 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.49% – 19.49% (6.49% – 19.49% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7.73% – 29.99%$1,000 - $50,000
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6.87% – 35.97%*$1,000 - $50,000Visit Upgrade
8.00% – 25.00%$5,000 - $35,000
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4.99% – 29.99%$10,000 - $35,000Visit FreedomPlus
5.99% – 18.99%2$5,000 - $50,000Visit Citizens
15.49% – 34.49%$2,000 - $25,000Visit LendingPoint
5.99% – 35.89%$1,000 - $40,000Visit LendingClub
5.49% – 18.24%$5,000 - $75,000Visit Earnest
9.95% – 35.99%$2,000 - $35,000Visit Avant
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.