Rethink spring break with tips to save on travel

- Your plans are set. Your spring break is all planned out. You can almost taste the escape from work or school.

However, you still have some homework to do and it all hinges on the rollercoaster of rates in the travel industry.

A little diligence now might save you some money or open the doors to perks. It won’t take long, but the dividends might really enhance your getaway.

Here are some tips from FOX 13's Consumer Reporter Chris Chmura. 

HOTEL RATES

Re-price your reservation. Use the same check-in/check-out dates, and check current prices. If today’s room rate is lower than when you first booked, ask for the new (lower) rate. If the hotel is reluctant to make the change, make a new reservation and cancel the old one (provided there are no cancelation penalties).

Even if the rate only dips $10 a day, inquiring about a week-long stay would save you $70. That’s real money!

If your reservation is pre-paid, it’s unlikely you will receive a refund of the difference. Nonetheless, I suggest calling the reservations department and pointing out the rate fluctuation. It’s entirely likely the amount you paid could be applied toward a nicer room or some other perk – as a gesture of goodwill. There’s no harm in asking.

RENTAL CARS 

Use the same logic with rental cars. Compare the rate you’re scheduled to pay against those for new reservations (during the same period). Then ask for the lower rate – cancel your reservation and book a new one if you have to. Doing this could save you hundreds of dollars over a year. 

Alternatively, you could stick to the budgeted amount and treat yourself to a “free” upgrade. Only do this if it's a few dollars. If the difference is higher, take the money and run.

CRUISES

Don't be surprised to find the same advice here. After booking your trip, keep checking for lower rates. 

If you’ve paid more than the current rates for your sailing, cruise lines don't refund the difference (they used to), but they generally will allow you to use your higher fare toward better cabins.

Pro Tip: Chris says, he used this strategy more than once to score a free upgrade to a balcony cabin.

You’ll pat yourself on the back knowing you got that swanky oceanfront room for free – technically, speaking.

Bon voyage!

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