7 last-minute ways to save money on your next vacation

Sometimes you just need to get away, but a vacation can often be a big strain on your budget. 

In fact, about 74 percent of Americans have gone into debt while planning a vacation.

RELATED: 5 surefire ways to get to retire earlier than you thought

The following seven tips will help you save money and avoid facing debt when you get back from your trip:

Look for a price-drop guarantee

If you've made a reservation for a flight or hotel online, it can be frustrating to later watch its price drop. But some sites, including Orbitz, offer a price guarantee. Some will refund the difference in vouchers for future travel, but Orbitz will issue a cash return.

Check for deals on attractions

Sites like Groupon and CityPASS can help cut the price of popular attractions if you're visiting a major city. Groupon offers deals on individual attractions (or even trips) and CityPass groups tickets for several iconic spots in the same city into one deal.

Ask for better rates

When you book a hotel, Consumer Reports recommends bargaining for better rates. Few people actually do this, but for those that give it a try, 78 percent of those surveyed scored a lower rate or an upgrade. Give the hotel a call before you leave or when you're on the road, since customers had better luck by phone than in person.

Be flexible

If you're flying, Investopedia says that being flexible can help you save money. The cheapest travel day is Wednesday, and you'll also save by avoiding weekend travel. Try to leave late at night or early in the morning, since these less desirable flight times often result in savings.

Get a Priceline deal

Sites like Priceline, which lets you name a price you're willing to pay, sometimes let you scoop up a great deal at the last minute, according to Investopedia. You may not be able to learn the name of your hotel or rental car agency before you bid, but you can set some parameters. Forbes suggests additional ways to save with Priceline, including last-minute deals that let you know the name of your hotel or car rental agency before you pay.

Get discounted meals

The cost of meals can add up quickly when you're on vacation, but a few online checks can save you some money, according to The Penny Hoarder. The site recommends Restaurant.com, which sells deeply discounted gift certificates in many locations. And when you're on the road, check Yelp, where you can search for restaurants that offer deals when you "check in" using the app.

Check for last-minute cruise discounts

If you'd like to take a cruise for your next vacation, some cruise lines offer discounts rather than leave rooms empty, according to USA Today. Check sites like Cruise Critic, which separates last-minute bargains into their own category. Be make sure to take into account any airfare costs and whether you'll need a passport (and will have time to get one).

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

AMC Theatres announces $20-a-month rival to MoviePass
AMC Theatres announces $20-a-month rival to MoviePass

AMC Theatres, the world's largest movie theater chain, has unveiled a $20-a-month subscription service to rival the fledgling MoviePass. The theater chain on Wednesday announced a new service to its loyalty program, AMC Stubs, allowing subscribers to see up to three movies a week for a monthly fee of $19.95. That's more expensive than the $9.95 monthly...
SunTrust aims to spread name with airport branch, ATMs
SunTrust aims to spread name with airport branch, ATMs

By opening a branch and ATMs at the world’s busiest airport, SunTrust hopes to gain national visibility. The Atlanta-based bank has a new contract to operate a branch and 16 ATMs at Hartsfield-Jackson International in the first quarter of 2019, replacing Wells Fargo ATMs. And with the Super Bowl headed for Atlanta next February, SunTrust plans...
Atlanta-based Interface in $420 million purchase of German company
Atlanta-based Interface in $420 million purchase of German company

Atlanta-based Interface has made a $420 million deal to buy a German company that is a leader in the global flooring market. Interface is acquiring Nora Systems, a move that the company said should dramatically expand its market reach to new categories. The two companies are more “complementary” than competitive, said Jay...
Home sales sag, but prices up 9.9 percent from last year
Home sales sag, but prices up 9.9 percent from last year

Metro Atlanta home prices are up 9.9 percent from a year ago, even as the number of sales has slipped. The strong rise in prices is a sign of the continued imbalance in housing, with demand continuing to out-pace supply. The median price of a home sold in May was $248,445, compared to $226,000 during the same month a year ago, according to a report...
Tapped-out demand for beer partly blamed for layoffs
Tapped-out demand for beer partly blamed for layoffs

A global manufacturer of glass has confirmed plans to close its Atlanta facility next month, laying off about 270 people, most of them hourly workers. Owens-Illinois, Inc., which is based in Ohio, will shutter the Sylvan Road facility around July 18, according to a spokeswoman at the $6.9 billion-a-year company. The decision to close the Atlanta plant...
More Stories