6 Frugal Travel Tips For Summer Vacations

June 21st will kick off the official start of summer and like millions of other Americans, I’d bet that you are planning to enjoy a summer vacay!  Below is a list of helpful and frugal tips to help you get the most bang for your buck on your 2011 summer vacation.

1. Use those travel rewards points to pay for your transportation! BillShrink, a web site dedicated to helping people literally shrink their bills, has identified what it deems the top five travel rewards cards that can save you big time.  On the list, the Capital One Venture Rewards Card is one of the leading contenders – it  offers two miles for every dollar spent, in addition to 10,000 miles after a single purchase. “What does that equate to? A $100 credit for any airline ticket! Click here to see the other credit cards that will help you get to your summer vacation destination for a minimal cost.

2. Wait For Last Minute Deals on Big City Hotels – Websites like Hotel Tonight offer an easy and convenient method for people who want to book a hotel that same-day.  Last minute hotel bookings offer the potential to save money by the tons!

3. Do your Research to Prevent Travel Expenses With AirlinesAirFareWatchdog.com is a great online resource that offers flights when they are first published by airlines, but they also have a helpful new airline policy chart that can help consumers research all possible fees and expenses in an effort to prevent unplanned travel expenses.  The site’s Airlines’ Courtesy Fare-Hold and 24-Hour Chancel/Change Policies chart details carriers’ varying cancellation policies on flight change fees.  Also, in the event you lose your luggage on an international flight, AirFareWatchdog.com’s Excess Baggage Valuation Chart outlines airlines’ differing compensation policies.

4. Stay Connected via Twitter to land flight deals – Airlines like @JetBlueCheeps, @UnitedAirlines’Tware and @FrontierSale are a few airline companies that are now tweeting new and inexpensive special fares for flights.  But please remember, seats are limited through this method so you must be time sensitive to land a good deal.

5. Sightsee with locals for FREE!Global Greeter Network, a website that offers a global network platform to connect tourists and native volunteers, has become a great frugal option for those visiting new cities or countries.  With Globel Greeter Network, a tourist can link up with someone who lives in the select city that they are vacationing and receive a FREE tour of the best hot spots in that city.  You can get a tour guide in cities like New York City or Argentina for FREE through this website.  Check the website for more details.

6. Take a Summer Vacation on an off-holiday weekend – Although a lot of people love to take advantage of that additional paid-day holiday weekend, taking a vacation during big holidays like Memorial Day Weekend of the weekend of the 4th of July will cost you more.  Instead, go on vacation on a random weekend where hotels and flights will be less congested and prices will be lower.