You just landed at the airport, ready to start your beach vacation. You can’t wait to change your sweaty clothes for a swimsuit. So you head to the car rental agency to grab your car and be on your way. But first, you must make a series of important decisions that you feel completely ill-equipped to make. Do you want collision coverage on the car? What about liability insurance? Seems expensive. But the agent swears you’d be crazy not to purchase the coverage he’s selling.
Your eyes begin to glaze over. You quickly initial here, here, and there. Depending on your decision, you either just forked over a bunch of cash or waived coverage. Either way, one thing is likely: you don’t have good reasons for the decision you made.
I know, because I’m right there with you. Or at least I was until last week.
Over the past week, I’ve done a bunch of research to try to answer the question: When renting a car, should I buy rental car insurance?
Following is the fruit of my research. It will shape whether I accept or decline rental car insurance moving forward. (more…)
When renting a car, I want to get the cheapest rate possible with the least amount of effort. You, too? If so, you need to use a free site called AutoSlash. I’ve used AutoSlash dozens of times since 2011. On one occasion, AutoSlash saved me a whopping $2,178 (74%) on a 27-day SUV rental. On at least 10 separate occasions, AutoSlash saved me more than 31% off the lowest rate I could find. Due to its considerable savings and ease of use, I highly recommend using AutoSlash every time you book a rental car.
In this post I’ll explain what AutoSlash is and show you how to use it to quickly save a ton when renting a car.
Whether flying in economy, business, or first class, you want the best seat for the money you spend. Some seats—such as those near the bathrooms—you know to avoid choosing. But how can you know in advance which seats don’t recline or which have misaligned windows? On the other hand, how can you know which have extra leg room or AC power so that you can charge your device in flight? The answer is SeatGuru.
I’ve used SeatGuru for many years to help me get the best seat for the money. In this post I will explain how SeatGuru works and show you how to use it to get a great seat on the plane. (more…)
If you’re like most people, you don’t want to overpay for a hotel. At the same time, you don’t want to spend forever squeezing out every last dollar of savings. You want to quickly find and book a great hotel at a great price. If you’re going to pay cash (rather than points) for a hotel, the absolute best way I know of to quickly get a great hotel at a great price is to use the Priceline hack I describe in this post.
Times Square, New York — one of the many places the Priceline hack works
The last time I used this method I booked a $150 4-star hotel in Miami for $65—a savings of $85 or 57%. Saving $85 is great. But imagine saving $85/night on a 5-night stay. That’s a savings of $425. Now imagine doing that four times per year. That’s a savings of $1,700. The savings add up quickly when you make this method of booking hotels your default method.
In this post I will explain how Priceline works. Then I’ll share the key to the trick. Finally, I’ll include a video I recorded of me using the method. That way you can see, step-by-step, exactly how to do it. (more…)
Cancelling a flight is often costly. Most of the U.S. carriers charge $100-200 to cancel or change a nonrefundable, domestic ticket. In some cases, however, you can cancel without paying a flight cancellation fee.
Following are 4 ways to cancel your ticket without paying a fee. I’ve used three of these four ways a good number of times. (more…)
My family of five and my folks returned last week from a great vacation to Cabo San Lucas. I’ll tell you a bit about the trip via the pictures and captions in this post. But mostly I want to share how the seven of us paid a total of $42 for roundtrip flights and 5 nights at a 4-star resort. I want to give you ideas for how you can do the same. Because you can.
My family attempting to pose for a picture on our recent trip to Cabo San Lucas
We had expenses on the ground such as transportation and food that went beyond the $42. But that’s how much we spent on hotel and flights. Here’s how: (more…)
Do you want to travel cheaply without any credit card or mile and point shenanigans? If so, you should check out this great new site: All the Flight Deals. It has consistently provided me with fantastic fares including many from my home airport to Europe for under $450 round-trip.
All the Flight Deals notifies you of the cheapest fares from whatever airport(s) you want to monitor to anywhere in the world. In doing so, it differs in important ways from all the other airfare sites I’m aware of. Consider these differences: (more…)
I’ve written before about how I use AwardWallet Plus to track the miles and points balances and expiration dates of my family’s accounts.
There is a free version, which displays the expiration date of up to 3 miles and points programs. I use the $10/year version, which displays the expiration date of an unlimited number of programs. You can compare the differences here.
I just wanted to let you know that today, January 31, is the last day to lock in the $10/year price for AwardWallet Plus. Starting tomorrow, the price will rise to $30/year.
To fuel free travel in the manner I’ve described in this series of posts, you need to open credit cards with big signup bonuses on an ongoing basis. The question then arises: should you ever close a credit card you open and, if so, when?
Overwater bungalows, Bora Bora
My basic rule is this: You should close a credit card if its annual benefits do not outweigh its annual fee. Otherwise, you should leave it open.
Let me unpack that rule a bit. (more…)
Throughout this series of posts I’ve argued that miles and points are useful not only for free travel but also for freeing up money you would otherwise have spent on travel. To maximize your savings, there are two basic considerations. First, earn the most miles and points for the least expenditure of time and money. Second, redeem miles and points for the most value.
My advice on earning the most miles and points is straightforward. Go for Chase cards first (provided you have opened fewer than 5 cards in the previous 24 months). Then, open the most lucrative signup offers on my Best Credit Card Signup Offers page.