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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!


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

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