Saving tips for summer travel

May 18, 2012 7:43:16 AM PDT
Want to save on a summer vacation? Travel writer Christopher Elliott advises using the tricks business travelers use

He advises, "Follow the people with the blue blazers.They're the one who know how to travel and they're the one who know how to save money when you travel."

Rack up points you can exchange for hotel stays and airline tickets.

"There are so many ways to collect frequent flier miles, and points these days, you can go to the grocery store and buy cereal and get points from it," he says.

Also, see if you can combine a family vacation with a business trip -- where your company might be picking up one airfare and part of your hotel tab.

Elliott says, "Take the family with you, maybe stay in an all-suites hotel, and then have time on Saturday and Sunday with them and then take Monday off . That gives you four or five days on the ground as a vacation, you're only burning one day of your vacation, but you also get your employer to pick up the tab, for those other two days that you are at the conference."

And finally, consider flying to off-peak destinations, and at off-peak times.

Elliott explains, "If everyone is going to the beach, they go to the mountains. It's off-season in the mountains, hotel rooms are cheaper, occupancies are lower, you're much more likely to get an upgrade"

"If you travel on the day of the holiday, you're going to find that the flights are a whole lot less full, the opportunities for an upgrade will be much better. Why? because everyone wants to be on the ground on the Fourth of July, Labor Day, etc."