April 15, 2024
How to save money on Spring Break travel – NBC 6 South Florida

Whether you’re traveling far or staycationing this spring break, NBC Responds spoke to consumer experts who have narrowed down three big ways to save money.

First up, if you’re driving somewhere far or even staying close and checking out local spots, if you’ve racked up some mileage over the winter, your vehicle may be due for routine maintenance.

But before you call for an estimate, Kevin Brasler, the executive editor of Consumers’ Checkbook, says to be careful what you ask for.

“A lot of consumers when they call shops to get these, you know, periodic maintenance packages done, they just say ‘I need 30,000-mile maintenance or I need 60,000-mile maintenance,’” Brasler said.

In a recent study, the team at Consumers’ Checkbook, a consumer nonprofit, found repair shops were more likely to give you a higher estimate if you asked for mileage-based maintenance.

Instead, Brasler says look up what your car manufacturer recommends at different mileage intervals and ask for those specific services instead.

“I’m not really sure why shops charge so much more if all you do is say, ‘I need 30,000-mile maintenance or 60,000-mile maintenance’ than they do if you tell them which jobs you need. I think it’s likely that they know that that most customers don’t know what work needs to be done at those service intervals and assume it may be a lot of work when in fact these days, cars don’t need nearly as much maintenance as they used to,” he said.

If you’re traveling by air, Consumers Checkbook’ suggests you can save money by skipping out on travel insurance.

“None of them are worth buying. They’re good deals for the companies that sell them. They’re enormous profit centers for retailers. But they’re bad deals for most consumers because they say they contain so many policy exclusions that they’re just really not worth much at all,” Brasler said.

NBC Responds contacted the US Travel Insurance Association on that take. We didn’t hear back.

But a Spring Break tip article on its website says, “Travel protection can help give you peace of mind, knowing you’re covered if something unexpected happens” like emergency medical expenses, or lost or stolen luggage.

Whatever you choose, make sure you read the fine print.

And if you’re looking for a place to stay, Brasler says it doesn’t necessarily pay to take the time to shop around for the lowest hotel price.

“The reason is, is that the hotels themselves and all these different hotel booking websites, spit out the same rates over and over again, for the same stays,” he said.

Consumers’ Checkbook says for the lowest hotel prices look for ‘ Pricebreaker’ or ‘Hot rate deals’ offered by Priceline or Hotwire.

But those come with a surprise, they don’t tell you the name of the hotel or exact location before you book, but you could save up to 20%.

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