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How to Make the Most of Your Travel Budget

4 savvy tips to save money on your next ministry trip

3. Remember that rental car rates are always in flux—so book early! Rental car rates are moody and often have wild swings. Always make a rental car reservation as soon as you book your airline, but check back a few days before your trip—the price could drop anywhere between 25 and 50 percent.

We recommend starting the search for the best car rental rate through a general website, like Orbitz.com, that will display every rental car option. Then select the brand that offers the best price (remember it's often better to pay a little extra for at-airport locations). Next, Google the words "coupon code" and the name of that rental car company. The Internet is chock-full of coupon codes for rental cars. Go directly to that rental car company's website, add in the coupon code, and save extra on the rate. This simple method will allow you to find bigger, better cars for less money. In addition, Priceline.com sometimes offers some amazing biddable rates for vehicles.

4. Grab your airline tickets early. Many people like to wait to buy airline tickets, believing the price will go down. While some low-fare airlines like Frontier and Southwest offer great last-minute prices, the majority of airlines raise fares as the date gets closer. When calculating ticket prices, don't forget to add in extra charges for luggage, desirable seat assignments, and more. Sometimes the lowest-cost ticket isn't really the lowest cost.

If you're tired of being crunched in a middle seat for a four hour cross-country flight, visit Seatexpert.com and Seatguru.com. These sites help you identify the most comfortable seats on an aircraft.

And before you get to the airport, you'll want to make sure your luggage doesn't tip the scales past 50 pounds. If you think it might, try weighing it on your bathroom scale before you fly. If you have an awkward-size bag, simply weigh yourself, then step on the scale holding the bag and subtract the difference. If you think you may be coming home with some large or heavy souvenirs, pack an extra duffel inside your suitcase. This little addition can save you extra fees for all those catalogs, flyers, and freebies you pick up at the ministry conference.

Margaret Feinberg (MargaretFeinberg.com) is a popular author and speaker. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mafeinberg.

April29, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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