Save on last-minute summer travel

By Jennie Bragg, producer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Summer is whizzing by, but if you haven't booked that weekend beach escape or trip to grandma's house yet, don't fear. There's still time for that summer getaway, and it doesn't have to cost you a pretty penny. Here's how to do it on the cheap.

Getting there

If you are looking to save, you can't be too picky about when you travel. "Wednesday is one of the three cheapest days, the others are Tuesday and Saturday," says Ricks Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com.

Booking your trip midweek can also save you. Studies by FareCompare show the best time to score a low price on an airline ticket is Tuesday at 3pm.

And minimize those baggage fees when you get to the airport by making the most out of your carry-on bag. Seaney warns, "Be very careful about overweight bags. Most first checked bags in the U.S. allow you 50 pounds, but go over even by a single pound and that could cost you an extra $100 each-way!"

If a plane ticket sounds pricey and your destination isn't too far, consider the bus. Coach bus companies like Megabus.com and BoltBus.com offer super low prices and free onboard Wi-Fi. MegaBus customers have scored tickets for as low as $1!

Hotels

It pays to haggle with the front desk. According to a June survey by Consumer Reports, only 35% of respondents tried to negotiate a better deal on a room, but those who did got a lower rate or room upgrade 80% of the time. So, consider making your reservations over the phone or in person rather than booking online. You just might be able to snag a lower daily rate.

And think about booking a room at a hotel you have never heard of. New hotels often reduce rates to attract customers during peak season. Head to HotelChatter.com, a daily web magazine, for the buzz on hotels where you are headed.

City travel

If you are headed to a city, see the sights for less by picking up an attraction card or a city pass at the start of your trip. This type of pass, offered in many cities across the U.S. and abroad, will give you access to museums, bus tours and may even give you the option to skip long lines!

And keep on top of the news where you are headed. Local newspapers and message boards on major travel sites like Fodors.com, Frommers.com and LonelyPlanet.com will give you tips from locals and recent visitors for cheap eats and free local events.

Talkback: Where do you go to find travel bargains? To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.01%4.03%
15 yr fixed3.12%2.97%
5/1 ARM3.11%2.99%
30 yr refi4.04%4.09%
15 yr refi3.15%3.05%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,804.80 26.65 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,765.38 16.98 0.36%
S&P 500 2,070.65 9.42 0.46%
Treasuries 2.18 -0.03 -1.27%
Data as of 12:22am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.62 0.09 0.51%
Apple Inc 111.78 -0.87 -0.77%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.48 1.91%
Intel Corp 36.37 -0.65 -1.76%
Microsoft Corp 47.66 0.14 0.29%
Data as of Dec 19

Sections

New York Magazine reporter Jessica Pressler, who has been caught up in controversy this past week, will not be moving on to a new job at Bloomberg News. More

Investors beware: These 5 global crises are likely to rattle the stock market and world economy. More

Forums in dark corners of the web sell the kinds of hacks that befell Sony. More

Unilever sued Hampton Creek over its egg-free mayonnaise spread Just Mayo. But the company behind Best Foods and Hellman's mayonnaise has now dropped the lawsuit. More

The income of the top 1% jumped significantly in 2012, far outpacing inflation. Not only did this group make a larger share of the country's income, their share of total taxes also jumped from 35% to 38%. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.