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Top 10 Tips to Help You Save for a Hawai‘i Vacation

June 2, 2018, 12:00 PM HST (Updated June 1, 2018, 7:05 AM)
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More than half of the country plans to take a summer vacation this year, according to a recent survey by Bankrate. To help save money for a last-minute getaway (or that dream vacation to Hawai‘i), TopCashback.com has put together a top-ten list of the best ways to save for a budget-friendly trip.

1. Save your change
Save for a travel fund by keeping your change. Whenever you break a big bill and get $1 and $5 bills back, drop them in a jar at home. The loose change will eventually add up and fund your vacation plans.

2. Cut spending
What are you spending money on? Take a good look at your monthly bills and see where you can cut back on expenses. Consider putting services or expenses that you hardly use on a temporary hold, or simply cancel them to save more money. Other options include carpooling, eating and cooking at home and cutting back on that expensive coffee habit.

3. Use Skyscanner’s ‘Everywhere’ option
Feeling spontaneous? For airfare deals, visit SkyScanner.com. This travel search engine is a useful tool for booking spontaneous trips using the “Flexible? Everywhere” search option which provides cheap roundtrip airfare options from your local airport to surprise destinations around the world.

4. Research sales and deals
If you are booking a vacation, look for sales, coupons, deals and booking options through cashback sites. Sign up for email newsletters from hotels, airlines and third-party travel sites and get notified when a sale or price drop happens last minute. Many last-minute deals are budget friendly and may take you to a unexpected but welcome destination.

TopCashback.com offers cash rewards for travel purchases including $16 cashback for international flights purchased at JustFly.com or $15 on flights purchased at FlightHub.com. Hotels.com also offers up to nine percent cash rewards for completed stays; Expedia.com offers up to eight percent on hotel reservations.

5. Choose the right season to travel
Peak travel times vary and affect airfare and accommodation prices. Knowing when to travel can greatly reduce your trip costs. Some of the best deals appear during off-season vacations. Peak seasons generally happen during holiday breaks and jack up flight and room prices. Mid-week, early morning and late night travel also tend to offer better deals.

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6. Opt for an Airbnb
Airbnb’s offer lower rates than popular hotel chains without sacrificing luxury. They are also more likely to accommodate last-minute bookings.

7. Consider various forms of transportation
If you’re not crunched for time, consider taking the scenic route by booking a train ticket. It will cost less than air travel. For example, a last-minute, one-way ticket from New York City to Washington D.C. with Amtrak costs $91 for one adult coach seat. In comparison, a one-way plane ticket can cost in excess of $120 per person.

8. Pick a hotel off the beaten path
The location of your hotel can greatly impact the price you pay. A room in the heart of the city will cost far more than a location minutes away in a less popular area. Score a better deal by booking 15 to 20 minutes outside the city.

9. Purchase gift cards to chain restaurants or coffee shops
Cut the cost of meals in advance at popular chain eateries by purchasing gift cards online. Gift cards sell at heavily discounted prices via websites like Raise or Gift Card Granny. Buying gift cards or certificates ahead of time will significantly lower meal costs—perhaps by hundreds of dollars depending on your group size and vacation duration.

10. Pass on the upgrades
Avoid paying extra fees for upgrades and priority boarding. Use credit card reward miles to upgrade to better seat. If you don’t have one, research card options that offer hefty sign-up bonuses with purchases. The rewards you accrue can be applied toward booking a flight or upgrading. Some cards also offer additional perks like lounge access or free checked baggage. The majority of airlines are part of the three major alliance groups (OneWorld, Star Alliance or Sky Team). Airline miles accrued through any of these carriers can be combined.

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