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Almost Free Travel Specials
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If you are like most travelers and restrict your travel plans to where you can find cheap travel options, such as cheap fares, cheap deals, cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, cheap auto rentals, discount travel deals, and cheap vacation packages, then you should make it a point to take advantage of almost free travel deals.
There are a number of things we expect for free when traveling such as Wi-Fi in hotel rooms, snacks on planes, smartphone apps that help you get around, concierge and bell services, community festivals and parades, and admission to libraries and parks.
The following are key elements of your trip that you can find for next to nothing, according to Avital Andrews:
• Many hotels offer a free hotel night deal. Free nights often are offered for stays of three to four nights. Given the savings, it might make sense to extend your stay at a particular hotel.
• You can almost always get a free late checkout at a hotel by calling the front desk the night before, or early the morning of your departure and pleasantly requesting a late checkout. Often you will be asked what time you want to leave. A reasonable request of noon or 1 pm will usually be honored.
• To help the national parks celebrate their centennial for 16 days this year the National Park Service is waiving admission fees to 127 sites that normally charge to get in. There are another 282 sites whose admission is always free.
Members of the military, fourth graders, or people with disabilities can gain entrance to the national parks for free any day of the year. People over the age of 62 can get a lifetime pass to the national parks for $10.
• Free theme park admission can often be accessed by reserving rooms with hotels that maintain good relationships with nearby theme parks. For example, Hilton Orlando’s “SeaWorld Kids Free Package” provides a free child’s admission to SeaWorld with each paid adult, a savings of $95 per kid. Stay five or more nights and the fifth night is free. Universal’s Orlando resort offers a four night deal that comes with a three day Park-to-Park ticket, as well as breakfast and early park admission.
• Most amusement parks, including all of Disney’s, allow children under the age of three to get in free. On most airlines, kids under the age of two fly free in an adult's lap.
• Select hotels provide free transportation to local sights and to the airport. For example, during Catalina Island’s soft season, many hotels offer a package that includes round trip boat transportation to the beautiful Southern California destination which is 22 miles off the coast.
• If you are going to stay somewhere that does not offer free transportation, try staying at a hotel in a pedestrian friendly neighborhood or one that at least has easy access to public transportation. To find out how “walkable” a hotel’s local is, check out a website called “walkscore.”
• Classes taught by experts are often free at hotels. For example, guests of the Marriott Los Suenos in Costa Rica, may attend an hour long Spanish class every day at 2 p.m. The best place often for getting free enlightenment during a vacation is onboard cruises, which often enlist experts to talk to passengers on topics ranging from astronomy to history to zoology to cooking to photography.
• Free gear rental is sometimes made available by select hotels. The Marriott San Jose in Costa Rica provides its guests with waterproof GoPro Hero4 cameras during their stays. In cycling friendly locals, some hotels offer guests free bike rentals such as Portland’s Hotel Rose, Madrid’s First Petit Palace Italia Hotel, and Honolulu’s Kahala Resort.
• Time your layover properly and for example, if you are flying from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv on British Airways, you will have enough time in London on each leg of your trip to go into the city. Other airlines known for excellent stopover options include Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, Icelandair, and Japan Airlines.
• Free shore excursions are offered by select cruise lines. Regent Seven Seas Cruise never charges for shore excursions, regardless of destination, date, or how many off boat adventures you select. Norwegian is offering a limited time deal that permits passengers to select from free shore excursions, free unlimited drinks, free specialty dining or free Wi-Fi. Silversea is offering free shore excursions and Wi-Fi on every voyage in every port of call on all Mediterranean voyages.
• Offers of free breakfasts and happy hours are plentiful, particularly from hotels and resorts. Embassy Suites is well known for an all you can eat breakfast buffet and a cocktail hour that comes with a full bar and hearty snacks.
• Free premium amenities are usually available at five star hotels as well as in first and business class seats on long haul flights.
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