Millions of Americans, particularly baby boomers, will hit the road this coming year in search of a relaxing escape. Despite the popularity of weekend travel, trips taken between Monday and Friday can often provide greater value to travelers. Consider the following benefits:
- Lower hotel rates. Hotel prices are based on the number of rooms available. During the week, hotels tend to be less booked, which can lead to lower rates and increase the likelihood of a room-size upgrade or a room with a better view.
- Potentially lower airfare. Many airlines raise prices on weekends. Flying during the week may be more cost-effective, especially if you aren't tied to a specific date and can take advantage of last-minute deals on flights.
- Late check-out. Many hotel chains offer travelers later check-out times during the week, and for some, late check-out is available year-round. For example, AARP members enjoy 2:00 p.m. check-out at Hilton hotels nationwide every day of the week.
- Fewer crowds. Between vacationers, weddings and holidays, weekends are hotels' busiest times. If rest and relaxation are on the itinerary, weekdays are the best time to book a getaway.
- Shorter lines for shopping, dining and theme parks. Restaurants, museums and malls can be full on the weekends. Visiting these places during the week can cut down on wait times and crowds.
Here are a few more tips on how to maximize savings when traveling this fall:
- Ask for upgrades at check-in. Most hotels won't offer an upgrade until they know how many rooms are booked for the night. On arrival, be sure to ask if there are any free upgrades available. Ask the concierge, too, if there are any special discounts on local attractions or restaurants.
- Research online. Online rates are often cheaper than rates offered directly by the hotel. Booking online also enables travelers to compare dates easily to fit their budgets and schedules. For those who prefer to book over the phone, check to see if the hotel will match rates found online.
- Attend events during the week. Often theatre and other venues will offer weekday performances that are less expensive than weekend shows. Restaurants, too, often offer weekday-only specials.
- Research discounts before booking. Check with hotel loyalty clubs and membership-based organizations such as AARP for upgrades and discounts on hotels, rental cars, restaurants, shopping and local attractions.
Finally, AARP members who are looking for great weekday destinations along with great savings should visit aarpdiscounts.com where they'll find discounts on everything travel-related: cruises and tours, hotels and resorts, vehicle rental, vacation packages, even dining and entertainment. For $16 a year, the savings from using just one discount could more than cover the cost of membership.