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FareCompare provides all kinds of informative and entertaining news
and blogs where you can learn about airline partners, tricks, tips,
and more. And you can find new tips and tricks everyday; combine your
"University of FareCompare" education with our advanced
technology, and you come out a winner in the Cheap Airfare
Consider going to Europe, said Expedia's Chris McGinnis. Sure, the
dollar is still as weak as ever, but you can score a business-class
ticket for what coach costs in the summer and bargain hotel rates. Even
better, "you'll be in Europe with the Europeans, not a bunch of
American tourists," he said.
Buy a package that includes hotel, airfare and car. A visit to Cheap
for example, will show you exactly how much you can save. Expedia.com
says you can save as much as $200 per person on a three- to four-day
package. Find last-minute deals on Web sites like www.lastminute.com.
Also, if your kids are begging to hit the slopes, choose a ski resort
that is within driving distance or one accessible from a major city,
like Denver or Salt Lake City.
Don't count on fares dropping in 2008, experts told me, even
though more airlines will fly to London. That's because Heathrow and Gatwick
have limited slots; oil prices remain high; and fuel surcharges of up
to $220, along with taxes and fees, already add hundreds to each transatlantic
2. Book packages or group tours. Packages
combine flights, hotels and often airport transfers and other costs into
one price; tours typically add guides, meals, ground transportation and
more. Either option can save you money, because operators get volume discounts
and may buy British currency in advance to cover expenses. To book a package
or tour, see a travel agent or check websites of travel sellers and major
As an example of savings, a recent Virgin Vacations package charged $2,670
total per couple for LAX-London round-trip airfare, six nights at the
Holiday Inn Kensington Forum, daily breakfast, taxes and fees. That was
$432 less than the lowest total I found online for the flights and hotel
on the same March dates. (These prices may no longer be available.)
3. Lower your standards. It's tough
to find a well-reviewed hotel in London for less than $250 a night, and
that's with no frills. Anyone with limited means and a heavy touring schedule
should look at two- or three-star lodging. Why book a luxury hotel if
all you will do is sleep there? If you have Champagne tastes, try bidding
for rooms on sites such as www.priceline.com
or using frequent-stay points.
4. Try a hotel alternative. Some bed-and-breakfast
inns may charge as much as hotels, but their rates at least include a
meal. (Some hotels include breakfast too.) For longer stays, consider
renting an apartment to save on food costs or a room at a private home.
For families, a home-exchange program can work well. Or cultivate London
friends who may put you up next time.
5. Budget for breakfast. Expect to pay
$15 and up for even a modest spread at a London hotel. If you must have
your morning tea and toast, book a B&B or search out cafes, which
are likely to charge less.
6. Hit the markets. Londoners buy their
food at stores, and so should you. The savings can be huge. On my last
London trip, in August, I paid $7.50 total for a tuna salad, big enough
for two, and bottled water at Simply Food, a gourmet chain run by venerable
Marks & Spencer. I then walked to nearby Hyde Park and paid nearly
that much for a cup of coffee and a scone at the Dell cafe. Lesson learned.
London's open-air markets also offer fresh, affordable dining options.
One of the best is the Borough Market on the South Bank, www.boroughmarket.org
7. Picnic in the park. Take your takeout
outdoors for free fun, natural beauty and stellar people-watching.
8. Use transit. With cab rides from
Heathrow into central London running $80 and up, plus tip, you're almost
compelled to find a cheaper way. In fact, there are several.
Options include the Heath- row Express train (adult fare is $29 and up),
15 minutes to Paddington, www.heathrowexpress.com;
the Heathrow Connect train ($13.80), 25 minutes to Paddington, www.heathrowconnect.com);
and the Tube (4 pounds or $8 cash), 45 minutes or more, Piccadilly Line,