Planning a last minute holiday vaca? Usually last minute travel isn't the most cost effective but if you know how to sniff out a "deal" or a "dud" you might be able to save a little along the way. According to AnneLise Sorensen, lead editor of "Make the Most of Your Time on Earth: 1,000 Ultimate Travel Experiences," here are ways to spend your money in the right place;
Travelers Insurance -- This covers the expenses if a flight or trip is cancelled, your baggage is lost or damaged or you get sick. Verdict: DEAL (if you're not covered by a credit card or another policy).
Reward Credit Cards -- Earning points toward free hotel stays and airline tickets can save you a lot of money - as long as you don't overuse the card in an effort to rack up miles. Verdict: DEAL
Oh-So-Cheap Vacation Packages -- Can a cruise really go for $199 a week? Um. No. Dig deeper and you'll find a slew of hidden charges in the fine print -- added taxes, hidden gratuity or other fees that can easily turn a relaxing getaway into an overpriced hassle that may drive the cost beyond the regular price. And watch out for those amazing airfare/hotel/rental car combo packages online. Before booking call the hotel and ask what their daily parking rate and Internet charges are. Those really good rates might just jump well past another hotel that isn't a featured "deal." Verdict: DUD
"Fourth Night Free" Offers -- They can be a good deal, but make sure the promotion isn't based on a higher rate and that you factor in the extra costs (food, car rental, taxi) for extending your stay. Verdict: DO THE MATH.
And always remember; The cheaper the travel package, the more likely it is to be inconvenient. They get you roped in for the price and then make it a complete hassle -- added travel time, extra layover. No thanks.
Also check the hotel’s location. It might be worth paying a little extra for lodging to be within walking distance of attractions and skip the hassle and costs of renting a car or taking taxis.
Check back early next week for helpful cell phone apps that will streamline your travel!