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Try these tips to save money on your travels

Affordable travel may not exactly be chic yet, but in a down economy, travelers are looking to cut costs any way they can. Here are our 9 suggestions.
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The fluctuations in the economy may change a lot of things, but one thing that remains the same is the desire to explore new places and experience new cultures. It’s just that now, when travelers set off on anything from an African safari to a weekend getaway, they’re a bit more conscious about their spending.

Of course, we at encourage everyone to keep traveling. So we’ve come up with a can’t-miss list of tips to save money — both while planning and taking your trip.

One way to do it? Go all-inclusive! All-inclusive resorts have made huge strides in the past few years, and some great new spots that have been popping up, like the Paradisus Palma Real Resort in the Dominican Republic, and the Secrets Maroma Beach on Mexico’s Riviera Maya.

Not prepared to give up on your favorite hotel chains? No worries. Many of the big hotels — Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt, just to name a few — are upping the ante, offering additional incentives for frequent guests, like eliminating blackout dates for points redemption. The Starwood Preferred Guests club takes it a step further, allowing guests to use points to purchase plane tickets any day of the year.

Another all-inclusive option, of course, is cruising. And there are some great bargains to be had out on the water right now. Crystal Cruises is offering stateroom upgrades and discounts of as much as $2,000 on some cruises.

Worried about the cost of airfare to get to the port? Silverseas Cruises is — for the time being — offering complimentary flights from the U.S. to Europe for 2009 cruises.

But if you’re looking for an international flight without the cruise, consider flying business class — yes, business class. This year, airlines are expected to slash their fares on international routes by as much as 70 percent, according to Rick Seaney, CEO of, a Dallas-based air-travel research Web site.

So while you may be trying to save money where you can, you don’t always have to give up the things you love. Take our list of tips and get out there!