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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Show Me How: to Travel For Less

With winter break just a month away, students may be going home or on vacation, but airfare can be expensive during the holidays. And when you tack on baggage fees, it takes an even bigger toll on your wallet. So the Daily Lobo did some research to find cheaper ways to get you where you need to be. All examples and price comparisons are based on a trip from Albuquerque to Denver — check prices for your specific area.

By Bus
If you’re short on cash, the Greyhound bus may be the way to go. At $95.40 for a round-trip bus ticket, Greyhound is the cheapest form of transportation the Lobo could find.

Downsides: The trip from Albuquerque to Denver is about seven hours. And while Greyhound checks your first bag for free, other bags are subject to additional charges of at least $10 each. Plus you’ll probably have to deal with the onboard restrooms.  Yikes.

*By Train*  
If you want a relatively inexpensive, scenic ride home, Amtrak may be for you. A round trip from Albuquerque to Denver is $188, and if you’ve accumulated a lot of stuff over the semester, Amtrak has a pretty flexible baggage policy. Passengers can bring up to four bags — two carry-ons and two checked bags for free!

Downsides: A train trip takes nine hours from Albuquerque to Denver, so make sure you bring some form of entertainment.

By Car
Your car is in the shop and after stealing your roommate’s Easy Mac for the last few months, you probably can’t ask him for a ride. So, what to do? You could always rent a car. Pick up a car from Hertz at the Albuquerque Sunport and drop it off in Denver, the cost for the trip one-way amounts to about $275. But, if you’re a AAA member, you can get a reduced fee of $248.

Downsides: Most rental car companies have pretty strict age policies. Some won’t rent to people under 25 at all. Hertz does rent to younger clients, but expect a surcharge of at least $15.

By Air
If you get carsick, hate buses and are afraid of trains you can always stick to flying. Here are some tips to snag airfare on the cheap.

Tip #1: Compare prices. One airline could have substantially cheaper fares for a destination than another. Websites like Travelocity and Expedia can be helpful when comparing prices.

Tip #2: Book early. By booking a trip a month or more in advance, you have more chances to take advantage of special deals. The closer to the date of departure, the higher prices tend to be.
Plus, if prices go down after you buy your ticket, you can often ask for a refund for the difference.

Tip #3: Lucky Tuesdays. This tip is a little strange, but Tuesday mornings are one of the best times to purchase airline tickets. Why? Most airlines launch their sale campaigns on Tuesday and you can often get the cheapest prices then.