Updated January 1, 2013

Winter Getaway Deals: 7 Tips to Help Snowbirds Save Money

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Every winter, millions of people flee the frozen north, spending thousands of dollars per family on brief vacations to warm destinations. We highlight how to save hundreds on those mid-winter getaways by paying with plastic instead of cash.

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Travel Rewards Deals © CreditDonkey

Thanks to the rising cost of airfare, hotels and restaurants, “snowbirds” seeking refuge from the frozen gloom of the northern winter can easily spend $4,000 on a family vacation to balmy Florida or the Caribbean.

To keep more cash in your wallet, take advantage of 7 money-saving tactics, starting with credit card travel rewards.


Cash Back

Take advantage of cash back programs.

Now’s the time to look for special cash back promotions for which you can earn more than the usual one percent on purchases. Instead, you may get up to five percent back on purchases in specific merchant categories for limited periods.

Travel Rewards

Cash in on Travel Rewards.

Many people think “airfare” when it comes to travel rewards, but the rewards can often also be used for expenses that include car rentals, hotels, and entertainment such as concerts, amusement parks and movie tickets. Find travel credit card deals.

0% APR

Consider a card with a zero-percent introductory rate.

If you’re in the market for a new card, choose one offering introductory 0% APR. Before signing up, however, review the fine print to ensure that the initial interest rate isn’t cancelled out by high rates after the intro period expires. Find 0% APR deals.

Travel Benefits

Use those fringe benefits.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the other perks that your current card, or a new card, may offer. Additional benefits can include car rental insurance, roadside assistance, free upgrades at hotels, and airline fee credits that cover incidental charges on tickets, such as checked baggage fees. Find travel credit card benefits.

Early Bird

Book early or book late.

Airlines, hotels and cruise lines usually offer discounts for making reservations well in advance or for booking at the last minute. Booking late is usually not ideal for families, but couples with flexible schedules should definitely consider the option.

Restaurants

Cut down on restaurant meals.

Instead of eating out three times a day, reserve rooms with efficiency kitchens. Even if you only buy enough groceries for a few breakfasts or lunches, you can save a bundle. Read best credit cards for restaurants.

Tourist Traps

Avoid Tourist Traps.

If you visit a locale that attracts a lot of tourists, save money by avoiding over-priced tourist traps. Do some research before your trip to find more business-oriented hotels in less “touristy” neighborhoods. You can still visit the popular attractions, but chances are that you’ll pay much less for the privilege.

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