By Lucas Peterson | New York Times
Last year may have been a disappointing Dumpster fire in countless ways, but it was a great year for travel deals — saving money has never been easier or more accessible to more people. Looking forward to 2018, there’s no reason to think it should be any different. Here are eight tips to help keep your travel expenses nominal and your wallet fat.
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Deals on flights go live and then are snapped up so quickly that it’s practically a full-time job keeping track of them. According to Matthew Kepnes of the website Nomadic Matt, one of the best ways to stay on top of the latest deals is to sign up for the many deal newsletters that catalog the best travel bargains — he specifically recommends those from the websites Scott’s Cheap Flights, The Flight Deal and Secret Flying.
Remember the Old Standbys
AARP and AAA have been around since 1958 and 1902. Yet despite the tens of millions of members between them, they’re somehow overlooked as great resources for discounted flights, hotels, rental cars and many other travel-related expenses.
AARP has its own travel portal powered by Expedia, which offers members 10 percent discounts on certain hotels and 25 percent off some car rentals, among other benefits. Membership — which was once reserved for the 50-plus set but is now open to anyone 18 and over — costs $16 annually, but there’s currently a deal for $12 for your first year when you choose to auto-renew your membership.
It’ll be a few years before I’m ready to join AARP, so in the meantime, I belong to AAA. A regular membership (cost varies by state) gets you the roadside assistance the organization is famous for, as well as discounts on hotels and rental cars. A basic membership also includes $100,000 in travel accident coverage when you book your trip through AAA. An additional fun hidden benefit to membership is that they will handle certain D.M.V. transactions for you, like registration renewal and transfer of vehicle ownership.
Save Money While Doing Some Good
Hurricanes Maria and Irma caused devastation in the Caribbean that continues to affect the daily lives of residents. Rather than stay away, though, I would argue that tourists should consider visiting those places that have been hurt by natural disasters. Getting a good deal in Napa Valley(which suffered its own setbacks this year because of wildfires) or the Caribbean isn’t cynical — it’s helping a region that needs money get back on its feet.