Five-day northeast trip for two for under $400?
HOUSTON Libranda is planning a trip to San Antonio in December that will cost her next to nothing, and it includes a stay in a Hill Country condo that's normally $300 a night. How does she do it? It does include some time on the Internet. Libranda just got back from a fall break getaway. She and a friend toured the beautiful country in Maine, a cider mill in Vermont, and the mountains of New Hampshire. The total cost for the trip retails for about $2,000, but Libranda paid less than $400. "I try to go to the same sites, so you accumulate points," she said. She paid nothing for two round trip tickets to New Hampshire using a website called Swagbucks.com. Swagbucks.com is a search engine powered by Google. The only difference is you periodically earn points for your searches. "I use it every day; that is my only search engine," she said. "Every time I do a search, I do it through Swagbucks; I play their game so I get more points also." It took Libranda about six months to earn enough points for eight $50 gift cards from Southwest Airlines. The key to earning even more points on Swagbucks.com is to refer friends to use the website. She gets the word out by linking her Swagbucks to her Facebook account. "It's completely safe, completely free, and you get free stuff for it," Libranda said. Then Libranda uses a website called Ebates.com, which pays you a cash percentage just for shopping. Southwest Airlines participates in Ebates.com so Libranda uses her free Southwest Airlines gift cards to purchase her flights and earn cash back on something that was free in the first place! On this same trip, the rental car cost her $75 for five days. "I have a Discover Card, so I earn cash back," she said. Through their rewards program, she cashed in on discounted rental certificates. When it comes to finding a great deal on a hotel, Libranda used Swagbucks to cash in on Travelocity.com gift cards. But she also coupled that with the website, Hotels.com; for every 10-night stays, you get a free stay. "So if you do all these things in conjunction with each other, you are going to end up spending a lot less on an expensive trip," Libranda said. When it comes to saving for meals, Libranda used the website Restaurant.com; there, you can purchase gift cards for 70 to 90 percent off. So she might pay three bucks for a $30 gift card!
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