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airplane travelRising fuel prices and a reviving economy are pushing up travel prices. Here are some strategies that may help you get a deal on travel:

Book really early. Planes are packed these days, so airlines don’t have to compete hard to fill seats. Begin checking fares 3 months ahead. Keep tabs on prices using a website like or so you’ll know a deal when you see one.

Make the web work for you. Try these 3 new hotel booking sites: [1], which gets counteroffers from other hotels, typically saving 20%; [2], which checks rates after your reservation and refunds you if any night’s rate drops; and [3], which scours smaller, independent hotels (check for reviews).

Try a rental. Since hotel bargains in big cities are harder to come by, vacation rentals offer more space at a lower price. Try,, and

Look for packages. Family resorts are still hurting from the economic slump. Cruises are trying to drum up more business. Search and for deals. The three best places to travel for deals from Hawaii, Aruba, and Japan.

Log in to where you can use Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity, plus you get up to 5% cash back in your Rakuten account! All you have to do it set up an Rakuten account and tell them where to mail your check. Then it’s all automatic from there. There are no points to redeem, no forms to mail in, and no fees. Stores pay Rakuten a sales commission for sending shoppers their way, and Rakuten uses the commission to pay you cash back.

After you find the best deal with Rakuten (including your extra cash back through Rakuten), compare it against and who book discount tickets. is also a great resource for hotels in major cities.