I’m pretty late to summer vacation planning this year, but I’m not letting it stop me from getting a solid deal. Here are three often-overlooked things I made sure to check before finalizing any plans:

  1. Park-Stay-Fly hotel packages
    Airport parking can add up, even if you’re using an off-site long-term lot. So, especially if your flight leaves in the morning, consider booking an airport-area hotel room with a parking package. For a slight premium — as little as $10 to $20 sometimes — over the regular room rate, hotels will throw in 7 to 14 days of parking. It’s almost like buying your parking and getting a hotel room thrown in for free. (Almost.) Most parking packages are found only on hotels’ own websites. There’s a site that focuses on this — parksleepfly.com — but it’s not completely authoritative. Still, a good starting point.
  2. Vacation Rentals
    In some well-touristed areas, hotels book up quickly. But vacation rentals — houses, apartments, condos — are often still available. You won’t get maid service, and the decor will not be the standardized fare you’ll find in a hotel, but you might find a gem. I’ve been looking at lodging in a small city at the gateway to a national park. The hotels are full. The motels are dumps. The vacation rentals, on the other hand, are promising. Check out sites like HomeAway, VRBO, ABetterStay, Belvilla, or Vacation Home Rentals. Check them all, frankly, as inventory varies tremendously.
  3. Z-Fares
    Traveling internationally? Don’t settle for buying a coach seat. I’ve beaten this drum before, but summertime is when international business class airfares drop significantly, as business travel scales back. It’s not the same price as coach, but it’s a big discount to the usual charge. Look for so-called “Z-fares” by searching for business class airfares on the airline or travel agency website of your choice. It used to be that you could also look for deals with the all-business class airlines, but only OpenSkies remains. Shop around before you settle for coach.
pixel Three often overlooked vacation planning options to remember for summer travel
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3 Responses to “Three often-overlooked vacation-planning options to remember for summer travel”

  1. Jeff G Says:

    As Mark says, parksleepfly.com is a good leaping off point, but be sure to expand beyond it for deals. We’re doing that in September out of IAD in what the hotel called a “reverse park-sleep-fly” because we’re leaving the car at the hotel, but staying after we fly back eight days later at about midnight, and didn’t want to drive two hours home after a long day of travelling.

    In this case, after not finding much that I liked with the aforementioned website, I just started browsing the websites of hotels near IAD and contacted a few of them directly about what they had to offer, and there were quite a few that didn’t run through any of the usual PSF clearinghouse sites.

    Because the date we’re actually staying at the hotel happens to be a Saturday night (when their rates are dirt cheap), it’s actually less than parking at the cheapest parking lot at Dulles!

  2. Mark Ashley Says:

    Nice work on the “reverse park-sleep-fly,” Jeff! Excellent tip.

  3. Holidays in the UK Says:

    Park-Stay-Fly hotel packages as you say are a good resource. However yours is an excellent tip and one i will definatley be using :) thanks.

    Holidays in the UK

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