How to land a good deal on summer travel

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by Meredith Yeomans & Carey Pena

azfamily.com

Posted on July 14, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 14 at 9:47 PM

PHOENIX - When it comes to making last minute plans, travel expert Mark Murphy recommends booking what's known as a consolidator fare if you want to leave within 48 hours.

“It’s a bulk ticket that has some restrictions. But, if you're close in on your travel date you're probably going to go and you'll save a boat load of money doing it that way,” he said.

He also suggests signing up airlines e-mail alerts to get last minute deals on flights.
If you're craving the beach to beat the Arizona heat, a trip to Cancun or Jamaica might be in the cards.

Murphy recommends using a website called Couples.com, a company with four all-inclusive resorts in Jamaica.

The catch?

You don't know which resort you'll be staying at until a week before you leave.
But as a reward for your flexibility, Murphy says you could cut the price of your trip in half.

Is it time to use those frequent flier miles you've racked up?

Before you do, Murphy says figure out how much your miles are worth.

“So for every thousand miles you earn on a credit card, it’s an equivalent of $1000 cash,” he said.

He says use that scale to determine whether it's better deal for you to save or spend your miles.

Also, sign up for an alliance network such as Staralliance.com which allows you to use your miles across different carriers.

Traveling with a family?

Murphy says always go with a pro when you have a group.

Travel agents are usually free and he says you could get an even better price than what's online because of something called parity pricing.

“Let them do all the work for you and come back and be your travel filter and make some recommendations,” Murphy said. “It'll save you time, money and headaches.”

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