• Priceline.Com: I love to bid for hotels on Priceline. I'm able to stay in 4 star hotels for less than the cost of a 2 star in most cities I visit. My method is to choose 4 star, and see what 4 stars are going for in the area I will bid on. Then, I typically bid about half the cost. The only 2 possible pitfalls: If you are traveling with two people and need two beds. You can only " request" two beds when bidding. And some older classy boutique type hotels only have two beds as an upgrade. And it can be difficult to get an upgrade if you've bid on Priceline. You cannot cancel and get your money back. If your travel plans change, your hotel booking cannot change. Occasionally, I have paid for a room in a city I never got to, just because my travel plans unexpectedly changed. But in the long run, the money I have saved on bidding has really paid off.
• Rental Cars: Free upgrades for rental cars: When checking in for rental cars, sometimes certain categories are in bigger demand than others. That's why sometimes I have gotten a luxury car for an intermediate price. If I'm not driving a lot of miles and don't have a lot of fuel to burn, a free upgrade to a luxury car can be a nice perk. It never hurts to ask.
• Flights: Traveling on off-peak days and times of the weeks can give great savings on flight costs. Typically, travel on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday are cheapest. So in the end, you may find that making a mini-vacation out of the wedding trip can actually save money. Also staying away from peak travel times like the flights at the beginning or end of the work day. For example, a 6 pm flight out of new York will typically cost more than a 1 pm departure. Opting to fly into alternate airports can make for huge savings. Many travel sites like Orbitz have a box to check other airports in the area. I've saved hundreds of dollars by flying into a different airport across town, or in a nearby city.
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Former Editorial Director of OneWed.com, Ask the Wedding Maven and Editorial Director and Wedding Expert for GigMasters.com, Marta Segal Block says just be honest:
• The biggest tip for guests saving money is to remember that, as you say, it is not THEIR special day! As a guest, you're not the center of attention. You might not want to wear the same dress to two weddings with the same guest list, but you don't really need a new dress for every event. You also don't need to get your hair and makeup done as a guest. Noone will really be looking that closely at you.
• As to pre-parties, be honest with yourself about what events you want to and can afford to attend. Just because the bride is having a weekend bachelorette party, it doesn't mean you have to attend it.
• In terms of gifts, there's a common misconception that your gift is supposed to equal the price of your dinner. This just isn't true. A wedding gift is a token of affection and good wishes, not an admittance ticket. Spend what you can afford. If the couple is registered for donations to a charity, remember that the amount of those gifts is not revealed to the bride and groom, so it may be a good choice for someone on a budget. If you feel like you really don't have a lot of money to spend, giving a gift, as opposed to cash, is a better way to go. Giving a $30 check may make you feel cheap, but giving a bowl off of the couple's registry won't.
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