50 Ways to Travel Without Overspending

Travel is expensive, but there are plenty of ways see the world without blowing your budget.

Travel is expensive enough without compounding it by wasting money or overspending.

There are plenty of things you can do to make sure your vacation budget doesn’t go to waste, though. In fact, here are 50.

1. Make a Vacation Budget

Research how much you’ll spend on travel, accommodations and activities, save that amount and stick to it.

2. Get Your Documents Ahead of Time

It costs an extra $60 or more to expedite a passport application, so be sure to get yours in at least eight weeks before departure.

3. Camp

Four walls and room service are great, but a tent, a sleeping bag and campground fees are likely much cheaper than the average hotel. Many National Parks have campgrounds.

4. Stay at a Hostel

Hostels provide accommodations at reasonable prices for those who don’t mind staying in a dorm-like setting. It’s not the Ritz, but it’s a place to sleep.

5. Use Airbnb

You may have luck beating local hotel rates at your destination if you look for people willing to rent out rooms or their entire home for a few days.

6. Stay With a Friend

Visiting a friend is a great pretext for traveling and, if they have a comfy couch or spare bedroom, a way to save on the price of a hotel room. Try not to be a slob though, and offer to buy your host a meal or two as a way of showing your thanks.

7. Travel in a Group

A group of friends can split the cost of accommodations and perhaps score group discounts on activities.

8. Rent Out Your Home

You can also rent out your own home to make some money while you’re traveling. But you should let potential guests know you won’t be around to deal with any problems that arise.

9. Avoid Peak Tourist Season

There’s a reason everyone travels during the summer: The kids are out of school and the weather is usually nice. But you may save by traveling during times when demand is lower. For example, Disneyland advises on its website that prices may be lower outside of its high season, which starts in May.

10. Use a Travel Rewards Card

The right card can earn you miles or hotel points for your purchases. Here are a few of our favorite travel rewards cards. (Rewards cards often require solid credit scores. To see if you qualify, check two of your scores free on Credit.com.)

11. Don’t Pay Foreign Transaction Fees

Want to pay an extra 3% for the things you buy while abroad? No? Bring a credit card that doesn’t charge such fees, or use cash, which you can get if you…

12. Use an ATM

If you need cash abroad, an ATM should give you a better exchange rate than the kiosks in the airport. For added savings, find out from your bank if they or their partners have ATM locations that won’t charge a withdrawal fee.

13. Exchange Money Away From the Airport

If you don’t want to use an ATM, you still can find better rates from money-changers outside the airport.

14. Make a Packing List…

You know what’s a waste of money? Buying something you already own because you forgot it at home. Make a list and make sure you have everything you need.

15. … & Pack Light

You think your in-flight meal is expensive? Wait until you get slapped with an overweight baggage fee. Most airlines will let you bring a carry-on for free, so there’s extra incentive for careful packing.

16. Ship Souvenirs Home

You might think you’re stuck paying baggage fees if you’ve bought a ton of knick-knacks, but you can always ship them. Compare the price of shipping your souvenirs to paying an overweight or extra baggage fee. “It’s usually cheaper than the extra baggage fees to get your souvenirs home,” said Kelly Soderlund, content manager for Hipmunk, a travel deals website.

17. Be Flexible

If you’re willing to to make a stopover or land a longer distance away from your final destination, you may be able to get a cheaper flight.

18. Book in Advance

In general, airfares are at their lowest until a few weeks before departure, at which point they rise steadily. Some tickets will stay cheap if there’s low demand, but your best bet is to buy early. It’s also a good idea to sign up for a service that tracks flight costs to specific destinations and sends you alerts when prices drop.

19. Fly During Odd Hours

Flights that take off during the evening or the middle of the week tend to see lower demand than others, and can be cheaper to buy as a result.

20. Use a Low-Cost Airline

Airlines like Southwest, JetBlue and Spirit can offer cut-rate fares. Teresa Walsh, a marketing executive for Cazana.com, a startup in London, suggested passengers bring their own food and tablet or book, as in-flight meal and entertainment options may be limited.

21. Buy a Travel Package

You can sometimes save if you buy a vacation package including hotel and airfare from your favorite airline, a website like Travelocity, or even somewhere like Groupon or Costco.

22. Consider Cutting Out the Middleman

Booking sites make their money off commissions from accommodation providers. “Often if you contact the provider directly, you can negotiate a lower rate since you aren’t paying for a middleman,” said Nate Hake, a writer at travel website TravelLemming.com.

23. Use Public Transit…

Public transit tends to be one of the cheapest ways to get around home and the same is true abroad. There is a risk you’ll literally get lost in translation, but it may be worth saving on cab fare.

24. …Or Rent a Bike

Many cities have bike-share programs or rental services for tourists, offering an affordable way to see your destination up-close.

25. …Or Walk

It’s always free to walk and staying on foot can allow you to see parts of a new city you may have missed on a bus or in a car.

26. Do Your Research

Buy a travel guide or search online, not only to find out which attractions to visit, but also which overpriced tourist traps to avoid.

27. Find Free Attractions

Many museums are free certain days of the week, and in many cities you can find free walking tours. There’s no beating that price.

28. Book Activities in Advance

Door prices for tourist are are often higher than if you buy tickets in advance, said Pete Bahrenburg, president of the Last Minute Travel website.

29. Rent a Car Away From the Airport

Just as you shouldn’t exchange money at an airport kiosk, you should also look elsewhere for a car rental. Rentals tend to be pricier at airports, where agencies have to pay extra fees. Those fees can get passed on to you when you rent, but could still be cheaper than taking a cab to and from another off-site location, so be sure to find out how much it will cost to get to another location.

30. Rent a Car With Your Credit Card

Many cards offer rental car collision coverage if you use them to pay for your booking. Plus certain cards will earn you rewards.

31. Work on a Farm

If you don’t mind doing some work while seeing a new place, sign up for a cultural exchange program like Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms. You’ll be able to travel to a new place and get food and accommodation from a host in exchange for working on their farm.

32. Sign up for a Loyalty Program

Hotel and airline loyalty programs are often free to join and can let you rack up points for discounted flights or stays.

33. Sign up for Newsletters

Airlines and travel agencies will occasionally send out discounts with their email newsletters. It’s free to sign up and it could lead to a cheap trip. Check up on social media accounts too.

34. Bring Food…

Just like at home, eating out all the time can add up. Bring snacks with you, especially to the airport, where your options are basically limited to overpriced mall food.

35. …And Entertainment

In case in-flight entertainment isn’t free, pack a book, download a podcast or movie ahead of your flight to pass the time.

36. Don’t Eat at the Hotel

Aside from a complimentary breakfast, your hotel is probably not the cheapest food option in the area. Better to head to a neighborhood eatery, said Amanda Ponzar, chief marketing officer for Community Health Charities in Virginia.

37. Splurge on Lunch, Not Dinner

Kathy James, who writes travel blog Walkabout Wanderer, pointed out that lunch is generally cheaper than dinner at restaurants. “So make a sandwich from the supermarket or grab a snack for your evening meal and [splurge] at lunchtime,” she said.

38. Haggle

This might be outside of the comfort zone for some Americans used to fixed prices, but the sticker price isn’t final in many cultures. If you find yourself in a flea market or bazaar, it’s not a bad idea to see if sellers have any wiggle room on their prices.

39. Bring Your Own Water Bottle

“Do your research beforehand and if the water is safe to drink in the country you are going to then take a reusable water bottle with you and save both the environment and your wallet,” said Walsh.

40. Don’t Use Your Phone Abroad

Your mobile phone plan may not cover international usage (though it’s worth checking on whether flat-rate, temporary international plans are available). Either grab a pay-as-you-go SIM card or wait until you have Wi-Fi to access the internet, said James Cave, author of the Portugalist travel blog. “If you need to make a phone call, use Skype or do the old-fashioned thing and buy a phone card,” he said.

41. Stay Local

A vacation doesn’t require a pricey plane flight. Check your state’s tourism website to see what adventures you can have at or near home.

42. Buy the Cheapest Gas

Taking a road trip? Use an app like GasBuddy or Google Maps to find the cheapest gasoline prices.

43. Use a Gas Rewards Card

If you are filling up frequently, a gas rewards card can help you earn some of your spending back.

44. Make Sure Your Car Is Travel-Ready

Just as you should check with your doctor before deciding to train for a marathon, make sure your vehicle is tuned up for a road trip. “It’s better to take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic instead of risking a roadside breakdown and having your trip completely derailed,” said Jessica Bisesto, senior editor for TravelPirates, a travel deals website.

45. Remember, Kids Under 2 May Fly Free

Anyone age 2 and under counts as a “lap child” and can usually be carried on an airline free of charge as long as they don’t take up a seat. Be sure to check your specific airline’s policy.

46. Leave Your Pet

Many airlines charge fees for bringing your pet and some countries might subject them to quarantine. The price of boarding your pet or having someone feed them while you’re gone might be worth avoiding the headache.

47. Consider Travel Insurance

Your existing medical insurance may not cover an international emergency. A travel insurance policy may help fill the gap. It can also help you avoid a total loss of your travel costs if a personal issue keeps you from traveling. Check your credit card’s terms and conditions too, since some travel cards include similar coverage.

48. Be Discrete

Tourists are often targets for scammers and pickpockets. So be low-key and polite, especially while abroad. Leave your American flag hat at home and try to use the local language.

49. Pay Your Bills Before You Go

The last thing you want to come home to is a late-payment notice. Take care of any payments that will come due while you’re away.

50. Keep Your Documents Safe

Make sure your passport and any other important documents are secure, whether they’re locked up in your luggage or in a hotel safe. Spare yourself the headache and cost of replacing them on short notice.

Don’t have enough socked away to take that dream vacation? No worries. We have 28 ways to save up for your next big adventure here

Image: monkeybusinessimages 

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6 Ways to Save on Flights & Hotels This Summer

When it comes to the most expensive costs associated with traveling, it’s always the big three — hotels, rental cars and flights.

You’ve scrimped and saved to treat your family to a nice vacation this summer, but now that you’ve started to research how much it would actually cost to book airfare and hotels, you’re having second thoughts.

When it comes to the most expensive costs associated with traveling, it’s always the big three, says Travis Katz, co-founder and CEO of Trip.com — hotels, rental cars and flights. The good news is that with a little planning, most of these costs can be pared down. The following are Katz’s five biggest tips to help families save a little cash when booking flights and airfare this summer.

1. Think Outside the Box

Up-and-coming places are less crowded, and activities, hotels and restaurants tend to be cheaper (with better service!) because they’re eager to welcome you back, says Katz. He says his site has seen an uptick in travelers flocking to places like Hot Springs, Arkansas, Chattanooga, Tennessee and Santa Fe, New Mexico, to name a few.

2. Take the Right Flights

If you can hack it, taking the red-eye roundtrip could save you a night (or two!) on accommodation. As an added bonus, your kids might sleep through the trip. If you don’t want to over-night it, consider at least traveling on off-peak days, like Tuesday to Thursday, when airfare is generally cheaper.

3. Haggle for Your Hotel

Pricing for hotels and other types of lodging is not set in stone. Katz suggests asking nicely at the front desk at check-in for an upgrade. “If one’s not available, hotel staff might be inspired to give a freebie or two — comped breakfast, for instance,” he says.

Bonus Tip: Home rentals on sites like Airbnb offer full kitchens, so “you can shop locally and eat simple breakfasts and lunches,” Katz adds.

4. Make the Most of Your Memberships

Your vacation discounts could already be in your wallet. Memberships to some organizations like AAA or AARP come with travel discounts, and you should always check your credit card to see if they offer discounts — or bonus rewards — when booking hotels or flights through their affiliate programs. Even your Costco membership could score you some deals. Check out the Costco Travel site for information.

5. Consider Opening a Travel Rewards Card 

Rewards credit cards, when used wisely, are a helpful way to pay for a family vacation. Just remember not to go overboard so you don’t lose your rewards to high interest, or wind up accruing unneeded debt. The last thing you want is to come home to an upsetting credit card bill.

Before you apply for one of these cards, be sure to read the terms and conditions so you know what you’re getting. Also evaluate whether you’ll actually use the rewards. A Southwest rewards credit card, for instance, won’t do you any good if you don’t fly the carrier. Research what airlines have hubs in your area —you can find a helpful list of the best credit cards to use in every major U.S. airport here. If you don’t think you’ll frequently fly with a specific carrier, consider a general purpose low-annual-fee travel rewards credit card.

Just be sure you know where your credit stands so you’re certain you’re able to qualify. Travel credit cards generally require good credit. You can view two of your credit scores, free of charge, on Credit.com.

Bonus tip: Travel rewards credit cards generally partner with rental car companies so your plastic may qualify you for a discount — or at least earn bonus points — on that expense, too.

6. Be Loyal to a Particular Airline or Hotel Brand

Besides using your credit card rewards to fund your trip, consider becoming loyal to a particular hotel or airline to cash in on some of their loyalty programs. Become a member of Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Program, for example, and you’ll earn points for every dollar you spend that you can put toward a free flight sometime in the future.

Bonus tip: See if you can pool your credit card rewards with the points or miles you earn through a travel provider’s loyalty program to qualify for a free night or award flight faster.

Note: It’s important to remember that prices for products and services frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms cited in this article may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with the company directly.

Image: baona

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5 Hotels Where Pets Get Treated Like Royalty

Who says Fido can't get the royal treatment while you're on vacation?

Vacations are often a family affair, but we typically leave our pets at home. While they’re stuck in a kennel or with a sitter at home, we’re off in Tahiti, cocktail in hand, living the good life.

Why not let Fido or Whiskers in on the fun? A number of hotels have warmed up to the idea of hosting pets, and some turn on the charm to make the stay worth your while. Here are five hotels that will treat your pet like royalty.

1. Kimpton Hotel Monaco, Chicago

This boutique hotel, housed in a former hat factory, hosts nightly wine hours and pet-friendly accommodations for which the Kimpton chain is known. There’s no limit to the number of pets you can bring, and no additional charge or deposit. You’ll also receive a sweet selection of plush pet-bed loaners, along with food, water bowls and mats. Ask the concierge for their list of pet-friendly restaurants, groomers and parks.

2. Las Ventanas al Paraíso, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

What’s better than a portable pet cabana? A “Dog Butler” who takes your four-legged buddy out for daily walks on the beach, gives massages and leads “doga” classes (We won’t make a downward dog joke. We won’t. No, we won’t). With your butler around, you’ll never have to think about waking up early or leaving a meal, and if you want to host a birthday party — for your pet, that is — your butler can arrange that, too. Be sure to set aside $60 per stay (not night) and note the pet weight limit is 40 pounds.

3. Loews Coronado Bay, San Diego 

This dreamy resort gifts your fluff ball with her own pet tag, bowl and a treat. She’ll also receive information on local dog walking routes, area services and a room service menu just for her. While Whiskers gets acquainted with the local Cali catnip, phone down for a litter box (with litter) and a scratch pole. Pet-sitting and walking services are also on offer.

4. The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

Starting at $849 per night, you and Fido get a personal welcome by the doorman, followed by a VIP (that’s Very Important Pooch) greeting and registration at the front desk. Along with a Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco pet tag, you’ll receive an in-room dog bowl and dining room menu, pet toy, framed bed and Pooch Pack complete with a list of dog-related activities for fun in the city.

5. W Hotel, Scottsdale, Arizona

As part of the luxe chain’s Paws Are Welcome program, dogs receive their own pet bed and treat. Sign them up for the dog walking service so you’re sure to clock in more pool time. W charges $100 as a one-time fee or $25 per day.

Save on Your Next Vacation 

Ready to hit the cabana with Fido? Make sure you’ve got a plan for your spending. Rewards credit cards are a great way to pay for vacations, just be sure to swipe wisely so you don’t lose your rewards to high interest. You can check out our roundup of the best travel cards here.

Remember, before you apply for any credit card, make sure you’re able to qualify. If you’re not sure where your credit stands, you can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

Image: TriggerPhoto

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6 Hotels Worth Visiting Just for the Shops

Here are six excellent shops worth a stop on your travels, including one based on a children's book.

Today’s gift shop hawks more than cheap toothpaste and forgettable postcards. Thanks to boutique hotels and upscale chains, everything from kimono robes to portable speakers are now up for grabs. We’ve rounded up six gift shops worth a stop on your travels, based on research and recommendations.

Hotel San José Store at Hotel San José, Austin, Texas

No trip to the live music capital would be complete without a South by Southwest onesie or a leather Baggu backpack roomy enough to fit your iPad Mini. You’ll find all this and more at the well-edited housewares shop — just make sure not to go over budget.

Madison Hall at Chicago Athletic Association, Chicago 

Take a trip back in time to the jazz-fueled 1930s, when Aesop skincare, Tatine candles and Monocle Magazine were all the rage. Oh wait, that’s today? Never mind, you’ll still find what you need — and don’t need — at this stylish extension of the Roman + Williams hotel.

Ballymaloe Shop at Ballymaloe House, Shangarry, Cork, Ireland 

Turns out Shangarry, once home of Pennsylvania founder William Penn, is a great place to stock up on bakeware. And kitchen utensils. And Irish cookbooks. After rolling out of bed from the Ballymaloe House next door, you can literally spend the day kitting out your kitchen in Celtic style. Who would blame you?

Drake General Store at The Drake, Toronto

Drake aptly bills itself as “a classic general store, a flea market stand and a museum shop all rolled into one,” where you’ll find practical and not-so-sensible gifts. Local goodies like Nicolas Vahe cake mix and Bata sneakers are tempting, but save your cash for the colorful Kreafunk headphones.

Eloise Shop at The Plaza, New York 

Little girls — and little girls at heart — will be delighted by The Plaza’s pink-and-black homage to its most famous resident. Cool your heels in the living room or stage an impromptu costume party in the fashion room. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy this glimpse into the world of author Kay Thompson’s heroine.

Thornwillow Press at The St. Regis, New York 

If your idea of a perfect weekend is thumbing through books in a wood-paneled library, hightail it to the “cognac room” off the St. Regis hotel’s lobby. There you’ll find the stately ambience of Thornwillow Press, where the selection of paper, ink and gilt are enough to make this writer’s eyes water. As you’d expect, all their printing is done at an old-fashioned factory.

Save on Your Next Trip 

Planning a trip to New York to visit Eloise? You should probably make a plan to save on your travels. Rewards cards are a great way to do it, and they can help you nab some freebies — hello, first class — if you swipe them wisely. Before you hit the tarmac, take time to check out our helpful roundups of the best airline miles cards and cards with no foreign transaction fees.

Remember, before you apply for any credit card, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re likely to qualify. You can do that right here on Credit.com, where you’ll get two of your credit scores for free.

Image: Eva-Katalin

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5 New Hilton Hotels You Can Visit in 2017 for Free

If you've got enough Hilton Honors points, you can spend a night free in Hilton properties worldwide. Here are the newest places to stay using your points.

When is the last time you found time to get away and enjoy a vacation? If you had to stop and think, that is the perfect sign it’s time to book your next trip. And if you have a stockpile of Hilton Honors points, you might want to check out of these recently opened or upcoming Hilton hotels. You may have enough for a free night at some of these great new hotels. (Not a loyal Hilton visitor? You can check out hotel stay hacks at Hyatt properties here.)

1. Hilton Brooklyn New York

If you are heading to New York City, consider a stay at Hilton Brooklyn New York. Located in the heart of Brooklyn, you will be close to the Barclays Center if you are visiting during the season when you can catch a Brooklyn Nets game (or one of the other countless events at the arena). You will also have easy access to the Brooklyn Bridge to get into Manhattan.

Booking a room at the Hilton Brooklyn New York on June 16, 2017, would start at 65,000 points per night.

2. Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa, California

If you’re after relaxation, a trip to Palm Springs and a stay at the Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa may be a perfect choice. Part of Hilton’s Curio Collection, this resort has quickly become known for its 12,000-square-foot Well Spa. Conde Nast Traveler has rated it one of their top-100 resort spas in the world. Plus, you will want to make sure you reserve a table at the Grove Artisan Kitchen to enjoy their farm-to-table cuisine.

A search for rooms at Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa for July 7, 2017, showed rooms starting at 41,000 points per night. Award rates at this property tend to be lower during the summer than the winter.

3. Conrad Bora Bora Nui, French Polynesia

Bora Bora is a destination many people dream about visiting. If you are lucky enough to do so, make sure you check out the Conrad Bora Bora Nui. This property, which recently reopened, had been the Hilton Bora Bora Nui until Conrad took over and renovated. During your stay, you will have four different restaurants to choose from, including an overwater lounge.

A search for rooms at the Conrad Bora Bora Nui for Nov. 10, 2017, shows rooms going for 266,000 points per night.

4. Hilton Sanquingshan Resort, China

You will find the new Hilton Sanquingshan Resort in China’s Mount Sanquin National Park. Inside you can enjoy modern and traditional Chinese architecture and a meal in one of three restaurants. The resort is within walking distance of a cable car that takes you to the top of Mount Sanquin.

We searched for rooms at the Hilton Sanquingshan Resort for May 26, 2017 and they started at 10,000 points per night.

5. Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, California

The Waldorf Astoria is one of Hilton’s iconic brands, and starting in June 2017 you have the chance to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills. This hotel will have 170 rooms, including 51 with oversized balconies. During your stay, do not miss the chance the enjoy a meal at the hotel restaurant. It will feature Michelin-star chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.

A search for rooms at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills for July 21, 2017 showed rates starting at 344,000 points per night.

Earning Hilton Honors Points

Anyone looking to boost the balance on their Hilton Honors account will be excited to see the abundance of credit cards offered. You can choose from Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express, Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature card and the Hilton Honors Card from American Express.

Of the four options, our favorite is the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card. Not only does it give you excellent earning potential, but it also comes with no annual fee. When you sign up you receive 75,000 Hilton Honors points after spending $2,000 in the first three months. When you use your card at Hilton Hotels, you receive six points per dollar. Additionally, you can earn three times points when you use the card at grocery stores, drugstores and gas stations. All other purchases earn one point per dollar.

Each year that you spend at least $1,000 at Hilton hotels, you receive a 10,000-point bonus. Plus, as a cardholder, you automatically receive silver status. This gives you a 15% bonus on your earnings, your fifth night free on Hilton stays and more. On top of that, if you spend $20,000 or more in a calendar year, or have four stays within 90 days of opening your account, you will be upgraded to gold status. You’ll need excellent credit for the Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card, so be sure to check your scores before you apply. To get an idea of your chances of qualifying, you can view two of your scores free, updated every two weeks, on Credit.com.

Changes to the Hilton Honors Program

Hilton has made three changes Honors program, taking effect summer 2017, that may make it more attractive to travelers. (You can get ideas for how to save for your next big adventure here.)

Points & Money: Instead of only being able to book Hilton hotel rooms with points or cash, you can now book with points and any amount of cash. The more points you pay for a room, the less it will cost in cash.

Pooling Points: By April 2017, you will have the opportunity to share your points with family members so you can reach a reward night faster.

Amazon Shop With Points: In July 2017, you will be able to use your Hilton points to shop on Amazon.com.

To go along with these three features that are being added for every Hilton Honors member, Diamond reward members will have the opportunity to bank their elite status. If you are planning a life change, like a new job, an addition to the family or something else that will cause you to not requalify for elite status, then you will have the chance to extend your existing status once by a period of one year.

Image: Geber86

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

At publishing time, the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card, Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express, Citi Hilton Honors Visa Signature Card and the Hilton Honors Card from American Express are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

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8 Ridiculously Expensive Hotel Spa Treatments

Check out some of the most luxurious hotel spa treatments around the world.

Massages and body treatments are considered the ultimate luxury, and for good reason: They don’t come cheap. The average hour-long massage can set you back a good $60 while body treatments can cost even more. Book your appointment at a high-end hotel like the Bulgari in London, and you could easily spend a weekend draining your savings account.

Check out some of the most ridiculously expensive hotel spa treatments around the world:

Bulgari Hotel London Spa

Service: Radio Frequency (Skin Tightening)

Cost: Course of six treatments for €1,250 or approximately US$1,326

This non-invasive cosmetic treatment is geared toward those freaked out about cellulite and other worrisome signs of aging. The idea is to “tighten and rejuvenate the skin” while promoting production of collagen, that structural protein that makes skin look so youthful. An Alma HD3D RF machine delivers focused RF energy to each layer of skin; the spa brochure says you’ll notice results after one session.

Granite Spa at The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Montana

Service: 150-minute Rock Creek Ritual 

Cost: $480

Renew your skin with a 60-minute Bulletproof Coffee Detox Wrap, followed by “an invigorating exfoliation.” From there, you’ll be wrapped in a hot towel and given a face and scalp massage. Hand-picked essential oils and Swedish massage are designed to make you feel as “fluid as Rock Creek.” The “cheaper” 120-minute version costs $400.

Kahaia Spa at Four Seasons Bora Bora Resort

Service: Kahaia Spa Suite Package

Cost: 100,500 French Pacific Francs or approximately US$891

With this package, couples receive access to their own outdoor terrace, a soaking bath, drench shower and relaxation area — and that’s all prior to the actual services. Slip behind close doors and you’ll be led to two treatment beds with wide-open views of the water below. Any combination of treatments and rituals may be chosen.

Napa Spa at Auberge Du Soleil, Napa Valley

Service: Ultimate Indulgence Afterhours

Cost: $2,500

Couples feeling frisky between the hours of 8 and 11 p.m. may want to spring for this package, which offers exclusive use of the spa, massage and bath, plus wine and dessert.

Post Ranch Spa, Big Sur 

Service: Fire Ceremony

Cost: $595

Take your main squeeze to a “safe, sacred space established by the medicine wheel,” says the Post Ranch brochure. There you’ll experience an indigenous fire ceremony of purification or transformation, depending on where you’re at in your life. “Your shaman guides an interactive journey, drawing the energy of the fire to focus attention on an opening for healing distinctive patterns.”

Spa at Trump Chicago

Service: Balancing Diamonds Massage

Cost: $300 to $315

Promising “clarity, inspiration and enlightenment,” this POTUS-approved massage slathers you with oils “infused with the healing benefits of precious diamonds and botanical essences.” If diamonds aren’t your thing, they also offer Purifying Emeralds, Revitalizing Rubies and Calming Sapphires editions.

The Spa at Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland

Treatment: The Chedi Oriental Ritual

Cost: 750 Swiss Francs or approximately US$742

You get what you pay for at this Swiss retreat: aromatherapy foot polish, The Chedi Jade massage, REN facial, Thai-style foot reflexology, Himalayan crystal body polish and an Oriental bathing ceremony.

Qua Spa at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas

Service: 180-minute Signature Hourglass Treatment

Cost: $650

Got three hours and $650 to spare? If so, this personalized treatment may be just what you’re after. Combining hot stones, aromatherapy, chakra balancing and energy work, you’ll feel brand new when the session is over. Or not — this is Vegas, after all. Be sure to check out the Arctic Ice Room, where crystals made from soap and water drip from ceiling vents with the goal of reducing hypertension and tightening pores.

Save on Your Next Getaway

If hitting the spa is on your agenda, do your wallet a favor and at least try to save on hotels, airfare or checked luggage. One way to do that: travel rewards cards. These bad boys can help you save on all of the above and rack up some freebies to boot. You can check out our roundup of the best airline miles cards here or read our take on how to choose the best rewards card for you.

Remember, before you apply for any credit card, it’s wise to check your credit to see if you’ll qualify. You can do that right here on Credit.com, where you’ll get two of your free credit scores with helpful updates every two weeks. Checking your credit scores won’t hurt them one bit and is a great way to manage your finances.

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5 New Starwood Hotels You Can Visit for Free

Planning your spring break vacation? Be sure to factor in these Starwood hotels you can stay at for free.

As we move into spring break season, a lot of you may have vacation plans. If not, then it might be time to start planning a trip. Deciding where to go can be the hardest part of all, as your bucket list of locations may be pretty long. However, if you have credit card rewards, your travel plans will probably be made based on your points and rewards. (You may also consider these 28 ways to save for this years big adventure.)

If you have a large balance of Starwood Points, you might want to consider one of these five Starwood properties that have recently opened around the world. Take a look.

1. Las Alcobas, a Luxury Collection Hotel

Located in California’s Napa Valley, this new Luxury Collection hotel is perfect for any wine lover. Most of the hotels’ rooms come with spacious balconies overlooking the vineyards. When not taking advantage of the complementary shuttle, you can indulge yourself at the hotels’ luxury spa. Or you might choose to dine at The Acacia House, the restaurant by Top Chef alum Chris Cosentino.

This is a Category seven property, so it will set you back 30,000 to 35,000 points a night.

2. W Las Vegas

If Las Vegas is more your scene, make sure you check out the new W Las Vegas. Located on the northern end of the Strip, you will find this new property in one of the SLS towers. You will have access to seven different restaurants as well as three entertainment venues and a bar to wind down with a drink. If you want to get out and explore the Las Vegas area, Enterprise Rent-a-Car service is available.

The W Las Vegas is a Category five property, so it will cost 12,000 to 16,000 points a night.

3. Le Méridien Visconti Rome

If you are looking to get out of the U.S., then Rome might be the perfect place to visit this year. This new Starwood property is located in a prime location near the Vatican. If you have ever been to Rome, then you know that most of the city’s hotels were decorated with the renaissance style in mind. The Le Méridien Visconti Rome chose to do things a little differently, going for a sleek contemporary look. Not only does this hotel have the perfect location, you will enjoy its rooftop terrace while you relax after a long day of sightseeing.

The Le Méridien Visconti Rome is a Category five property, meaning rooms cost 12,000 to 16,000 points a night.

4. The St. Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club

Polo is one of the most popular sports in the United Arab Emirates, and this property sits on a massive equestrian complex. In fact, the St. Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club is host to the Dubai Polo Gold Cup.

The St. Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club is a Category six property, so rooms will cost 20,000 to 25,000 points a night.

5. Four Points by Sheraton Kolasin

If you are looking to hit the slopes this spring, you might want to check out the Four Points by Sheraton Kolasin. This chalet-style hotel, situated near Montenegro’s northern city, Kolašin, feels just like you are in the Rocky Mountains or Swiss Alps. And it has the services you require. You will find two on-site restaurants, a rental car counter, and a spa where you can relax after a long day on the slopes.

The Four Points by Sheraton Kolasin is a Category four hotel, which means rooms will cost 10,000 points a night.

How to Earn Starwood Points With Your Credit Card

The easiest way to earn Starwood points fast is by using the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express. When you sign up for this card, you will earn up to 35,000 points. You will earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. You will then earn an additional 10,000 points after spending another $2,000 in the first six months. (This offer expires April 5, 2017.)

When you use the card at Starwood properties, you can earn up to five points. You can also earn two points when you use the card at participating Marriott properties. All other purchases with the card will earn one point. As a cardholder, you will receive a credit for two stays and five nights that count toward SPG Elite status. (You can read more about this card in our American Express Starwood Preferred Guest Card review.)

You can choose to redeem your points at any of the 1,000+ Starwood properties, including the five mentioned above. You can also choose to transfer your points to one of many different airlines. When you do this, you will receive a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer. This card has an annual fee of $95 that’s waived the first year. It carries a variable APR of 15.74% to 19.74%, based on your creditworthiness. (Not sure where your credit stands? You can view two of your scores for free on Credit.com.)

Note: Marriott bought Starwood hotels last year — You can go here to read about how this will impact your credit card rewards.

How to Earn Starwood Points for Your Business

If you are a business owner, then you will have even more options for earning Starwood points. In addition to the personal credit card, you will also be able to get the Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express. With this card, you will have the chance to earn 35,000 points. You will receive 25,000 points after you spend $5,000 in the first three months. You will then earn another 10,000 points after spending an additional $3,000 in the first six months. (This offer ends April 5, 2017.)

With this card, you will be able to earn Starwood points the same way you can with the personal card. The business card also comes with a few extra benefits. You will receive unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi at any Boingo hotspot, and you will receive access to Sheraton Club lounges. The Starwood Preferred Guest Business card has a $95 annual fee, which is waived the first year. Its variable APR is 15.74%, 17.74% or 19.74% based on your creditworthiness when you apply.

At publishing time, the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer. Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

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14 Things a Hotel Will Give You For Free

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