You can't bargain with the fuel gods to reduce the cost of your airfare or a fill-up, but that doesn't mean all travel fees are non-negotiable. Make up for the lost dollars on transportation with savings in meals, hotels and even exchanging your cash.
- If you're driving to your vacation destination this summer, take the same route both ways and don't be shy about asking for a discount if you plan to stop at the same hotel twice. If you stop in small towns instead of versus more popular tourist destinations, you'll have more room to negotiate a discount. - Pack all your association membership and frequent flyer cards with you when you travel - you may be entitled to anything from a CAA discount to a corporate rate when you make a reservation. - Follow major hotel chains on Twitter or "Like" their pages on Facebook - many companies are now experimenting with preferred rates for their social media followers.
- Consider booking a hotel room with a kitchenette so you can buy groceries locally and whip up simple meals in the evening. - The croissants and scrambled eggs that make up the "continental breakfast" at hotels don't deserve any Michelin stars, but waking up early to take advantage of them is much cheaper option than heading to a restaurant. - Avoid stopping at roadside diners for lunch on your road trip by packing a cooler.
- It's convenient to pay with plastic when you travel outside Canada, but it comes with a price: A 'foreign transaction fee' is applied to many credit card purchases made outside Canada, often set at 3 per cent. Whatever you do, don't withdraw cash from your card - it's the equivalent of a cash advance and you'll incur interest on it right away. - If you're exchanging cash for a wad of foreign bills, do it at the bank versus at a hotel or your arrival airport - you'll find more competitive rates there. - If you're going the ATM route, be aware that most banks ding you with a flat fee (often $5) every time you withdraw cash from an ATM that isn't their own. Check with your bank or credit union before you depart if they have partner banks in your destination country - you might be able to dodge those fees.