Spring Break! Orbitz travel tips

February 5, 2014 (CHICAGO)

1) Jump-Off Cities Several US cities are considered jump-off cities, or two destinations in one. For example, a trip to Las Vegas can also become a trip to the Grand Canyon, or those looking to visit the wine country of Napa and Sonoma Counties can stay in San Francisco and day-trip to these beautiful areas or some of the West Coasts famed beaches. Look for tour companies who can make these sides trip and affordable and easy escape.

2) Fly Regional Airports Many low-cost airlines, like Spirit Airlines, service smaller regional airports near large cities. While these airports may be a bit out of the way, travelers can save on everything from airport parking to airline tickets. And on busy travel weekends, possibly avoid some of the hub airport traffic. If headed to D.C., consider Baltimore International in the mix with Dulles and Reagan International, and for Los Angeles travelers, John Wayne Airport in Orange County and Bob Hope Airport in Burbank are alternate options.

3) Budget Hotels Go Boutique What once was consider just a "budget" hotel, now have a new boutique spin with great amenities that travelers will love. Major chains like Hilton Homewood Suites and Hampton Inns offer suites with kitchenettes, sitting rooms, full separate bedrooms and oversized baths. Many also offer free daily breakfast, free Wi-Fi, free happy hours and free dinners daily.

FREEBIES & DISCOUNTS: In today's travel environment of surcharges and extra fees, it may seem hard to believe that there are actually still freebies out there for the taking. And even harder to believe that it's so easy to find and take advantage of them. The key is in knowing what to look for and where. So, here's a review of some of the most plentiful—and often right under your nose—freebies that can save you hundreds of dollars on your next trip.

Free wireless. While some hotels now offer this complimentary in their common spaces, like the lobby or dining areas, many are still charging upwards of $15 a night to access it in-room. However, as a booking incentive via websites like Orbitz.com, hotels often offer it for free as a "value-add," and some will include it as a perk for signing up for their loyalty program.

Free/Discounted parking. In some destinations where there is an abundance of space, hotel guests likely won't have to pay for parking. But in major cities like Chicago, Boston and New York, guests could easily get stuck paying $40 to $60 per night just to park their car. So, depending on the destination, free or discounted parking could mean a savings of hundreds of dollars for a multi-night stay.

Free breakfast. Hotel restaurants typically aren't cheap and meal costs can really add up quickly, particularly for families. Luckily, there are plenty of hotels offering a full hot meal for free daily with a stay. And finding it is as simple as looking for the "FREE BREAKFAST" call out in the hotel search results.

Kids stay (and eat) for free. Most of them don't take up too much space and don't eat too much anyway, so why pay for it? More and more hotels, particularly many all-inclusive properties in Mexico and the Caribbean, see this as a win-win opportunity—they get a new customer and the guest gets an amazing deal.

Resort credits for dining, golf and spa. Some see the phrase "free resort credit" and think it's a gimmick. But really, it's free money to spend at the resort, and in many cases, on amenities and services guests plan on taking advantage of—and paying for—anyway.

Free shuttle service. This was the most the searched for amenity on Orbitz.com in 2013 and continues to be at the top of travelers' lists. For many hotels, whether it's to and from the airport or as a complimentary ride to area attractions, free shuttle service is just part of their value proposition. Walt Disney World, for example, offers its free Disney Magical Express for guests at any of their hotel properties to/from the Orlando airport, as well as free shuttle service to all of their parks and attractions. With service like this, there's no need to rent a car and travel with kid's car seats—a welcome idea for traveling parents!

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