Money Saving Tips for the Not-So-Friendly Skies

Planes are full and fares are rising. To add insult to travel injury, most U.S. airlines now charge passengers to check bags and ante up for soft drinks and snacks. Expect a summer of being nickel-and-dimed as fuel costs soar.

The good news? With some planning, you can minimize the pain in your pocketbook. So before you tie a pink ribbon on your suitcase or snuggle up with your airline blanket (which you may have to pay for!), consider these money-saving travel tips:

Pack Light or Pay the Price.

Many airlines are now charging $15 to check your first bag and $25 for the second. Try to take one suitcase and don’t overstuff it with more than you’ll actually have time to wear.

• Keep color schemes in mind when packing. Shoes are a bulky item, so try to pack outfits you can wear with the same color shoes and take only one pair if possible.

• Check hotel amenities before you leave home. Most hotel rooms have hair dryer as well as shampoos and other toiletries—so you don’t have to take all that with you. If you prefer to take your own toiletries, consider sample sizes of shampoos, cosmetics and creams.

• Roll up your clothes to make them more compact and save space. Leave bulky sweatshirts and sweaters at home. Instead, bring a wrap or pashmina that can be folded up very small and won’t take up as much space.

Search for better rates.

Save money by knowing the difference between “direct” flights (which make stops) and “nonstop” flights.  If you can be a little more flexible in your travel plans, you’ll get a lower rate. Also, use online travel services to pick the flight you like and then call the airline directly to get better rates.

Bring food and water.

As more airlines charge for basic sustenance, be prepared with food and water. Take some protein bars or something healthy to snack on… these items fit in your carry-on bag and don’t take up much room. It’s really important to stay hydrated on longer flights and it will cost less to buy large water bottles before you board.

Traveling is an increasingly expensive fact of life for the busy career woman. But with a little strategic forethought, some of the inconvenience and expense can be mitigated.

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