Price out your trip components (air, hotel, rental car) at several online booking sites, then ask an agent to do better. Some large agencies buy blocks of tickets and rooms at bulk rates and charge less than discount websites; smaller agencies may be privy to obscure package deals.

If you are flying, ask airlines about their group policy. Some airlines offer a free ticket for every 10 or 15 purchased, if you fly as a group. Southwest, United and American group airfares require at least 10 travelers. Check with your travel agent.

Avoid buying airline tickets on weekends when prices are often highest. The best day is Tuesday, because many sales start Monday night and competitors scramble to match them by the next morning.
Book online to avoid booking fees. Virtually every US airline adds a hefty surcharge if you book by phone or at a ticket counter.

Trains are cheaper than renting a car or flying and usually deposit you close to the action in major cities. If you’re traveling to a rural destination, be ready to hop off at a moment’s notice.

Older train riders get discounts in the US and Canada. Amtrak cuts 15% off most fares for riders 62 and over. Via Rail Canada offers 10% off full adult fare for travelers over 60.

Save by not picking up your rental car at the airport, where special fees may add as much as 10%. Go into town by shared shuttle or public transit and rent your car there.

Traveling abroad?
If your reunion is traveling abroad, lists ideas.

  • Time your trip to coincide with free museum nights in all major European cities.
  • Register for the free volunteer-guided tours offered across Europe.
  • Plan an off-season reunion.
  • Use flash sales options on accommodation websites.
  • Consider staying in a city apartment booked directly from the owner.
  • Buy city passes for public transportation.
  • Eurail train passes are cheaper in the US. Buy before you leave.
  • Never, never, ever exchange money at the airport. You’ll pay the highest rate possible. Instead, look for an airport ATM and take out the maximum amount (usually around $200). You’ll pay a fee, but not nearly as high as the airport exchange rate.
  • Rule two: If you’re going to travel a bit upscale, buy gift cards at a discount from sites like GiftCardGranny to purchase American services found in foreign countries. This might include airlines, hotels or car rental agencies for which you can realize up to 25 percent savings.
    Finally, of course, spend more time in cheaper countries.

Plastic safety

Notify all credit card companies you plan to travel outside the US so they won’t place a hold on your account for unusual activity.

Finally, note your credit/debit card numbers and foreign contact phone numbers and keep this info in a safe place, separate from the cards. One hiding place could be an email account with a bogus “subject” line. Then, you’d have easy access to the info should your plastic be lost or stolen or problems arise.


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