Summer travel secrets: Save money on your next trip

Summer is around the corner!

Niagara Falls, file. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Summer is around the corner, which means it’s time to put the pedal down on planning your next family vacation.

But between plane tickets, a rental car and accommodations, the price of a summer getaway can quickly get out of hand. Here are some tips to help you save money:

Tips for booking cheaper flights

Tuesday or Wednesday flights often show up with lower fares, and those planes are sometimes less crowded than weekend travel.

Times Square in New York City, file. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Being flexible with your plans can also save you money on flights. If the price to New York City is sky high, take a look at nearby cities. It may pay to fly from Portland to Philadelphia, see a few sights and then take the train to the Big Apple.

Once you’ve narrowed down potential flights on sites like Expedia, KAYAK or Travelocity, take a peek at the airline’s websites where you can find more options.

Keep in mind that paying extra for a nonstop flight could be worth it. You’re more likely to avoid delays, missed flights and added stress on a nonstop flight.

Check out one-way fares to save even more money. Buying a one-way ticket in each direction can sometimes be cheaper than a roundtrip fare.

Even if you book a non-refundable ticket, federal law says you have 24 hours to cancel or change it without penalty. If you find a cheaper fare, call the airline and they will issue you a refund. You can also cancel and re-book for free online.

Tips for renting a car and getting around

Wheeling and dealing on a car rental can save you big bucks. Once you’ve checked out websites like Orbitz or Priceline, try Costco’s car rental site for members. Costco doesn’t charge you anything until you pick up your car for your trip.

An Enterprise Rent-A-Car service desk, file. (KOIN)

The earlier in advance you book, the cheaper the rental. Ask for membership discounts or to match any bargains you may have seen online.

Before you reserve a car, make sure the rental office is actually at the airport you are flying into, not an offsite location nearby. That will save you a lot of time.

If you’re heading for the highway, be aware of big changes at toll booths.

Many states have convenience stores that sell temporary electronic transponders that you can pre-load with your credit card to pay tolls. Rental car companies offer transponders for a daily fee plus the tolls themselves, but that can add up.

Download a navigation app like Waze to avoid roads with tolls altogether.

Tips for finding affordable accommodations

Once you’ve checked hotel prices online, call the hotel directly to negotiate a deal. Try asking for things like senior rates, Triple A discounts or simply ask for a better price.

Airbnb offers affordable rooms and homes for singles or families, but be on the lookout for hidden costs like cleaning and service fees. If you book with Airbnb, be sure to get the exact address to make sure it’s right where you want to be.