How to do Broadway on a Budget
It's been a while since we've written anything about Broadway. We've already sung the praises of saving money on Broadway shows with TKTS and how to take advantage of standing room only, general rush and student rush tickets. Since our last story on Broadway ticket savings, there have been a number of great websites created to help you save even more money on Broadway tickets. Whether you're a student, senior or just an admirer of all things theater, here are some websites you need to know about.
StudentRush.org offers free tickets—yes, you read that right—to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows on a regular basis. All you have to do to get access to the list is sign up for their "Will Call Club" emails. The only thing you have to pay is usually a $5 handling charge, depending on the show, that is paid via Paypal. You then receive an email confirmation and instructions as to where to meet the StudentRush.org representative. While the company is named StudentRush.org, the website states, "Anyone may join this site, although some of the discounts are restricted to current students with ID. All free ticketed events and non–ticketed events are available to anyone." You're able to purchase up to four tickets at a time; just pick them up from the representative before heading to the theater. Apparently it's a seat-filler type of thing—show producers provide them with a certain amount of tickets for each available show. Remember to check back a few times a week for the most updated list of opportunities.
It should be noted that those under 35 are about to hit the budget ticket jackpot: The Roundabout Theatre Company understands that students and young professionals love going to shows but high ticket prices make that quite a struggle. Seeing our plight, they've come up with HipTix, a program that allows anyone between the ages of 18 and 35 to purchase $20 tickets to shows at their theaters. Just call their box office, sign up for HipTix and even order tickets (2 per person only) to a show—be sure you call to order tickets at least one month in advance as their shows tend to sell out quicky, so plan accordingly.
This next program lets theatergoers accumulate "Show Points" to exchange for discounted Broadway show tickets. Audience Rewards has you sign up for free using your email address, and you are given the option to earn points by playing trivia games about different shows, purchasing items from partner sites, or you can simply earn points by buying tickets to shows and listing your membership number during the ordering process. This is definitely one of those websites I wish I had found earlier.
For more Broadway (and Off–Broadway) discounts, you can visit websites like Playbill.com, BroadwayBox.com, and TheaterMania.com for general price cuts, or look up discount codes to your favorite shows at NYtix.com.
Would you pay extra to sit in a seat in the front of the airplane?
American Airlines has introduced a new category called anchorLocation=DirectURL&title;=seats" target="_blank">Preferred Seats, expanding the number of window and aisle seats in coach that carry an extra charge, and eliminating what it previously called Express Seats. if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('65426e53-5649-4827-958b-32883fc6ae82');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info) Think of it as a further move towards theater-style pricing, where you pay more for a seat towards the front. The Preferred Seats go for an extra $4 to $39 per segment, depending on the length of flight and time of day. They don't come with extra legroom or priority boarding or anything like that. You just get to sit in a desirable seat. Anyone can book the Preferred Seats, 24 hours before the flight. But that's only if they aren't already scarfed up by the carrier's elite frequent fliers and those paying full fare. They get first dibs—and can make advance bookings on a complimentary basis. Elite and full-fare passengers also get exclusive access to Preferred Plus Seats in the very front of the plane, including exit rows. American is not specifying the number of Preferred Seats available per flight, saying the number will vary. Some other airlines also charge extra for the best coach seats. US Airways, for instance, charges extra for certain window and aisle seats in the front of the plane with its ChoiceSeats program, but that also comes with the bonus of priority, Zone 2 boarding. Southwest lets you pay extra to board early and pick your own unassigned seat. And AirTran also has a program where you can pay extra to board early and sit near the front of the plane. But is sitting in the front worth the extra bucks? More from Budget Travel: Would You Fly More if Airplane Seats Were More Comfortable? Should Airline Fees be Listed on One Web Page? Would You Pay $80 for an Upgrade?
Money-saving travel hack: Rent a moving truck instead of a car
Finding an affordable rental car is a common problem faced by travelers today. Here's one uncommon solution. Typical rental car prices have more than doubled in recent years. When you add in one-way rental rates, drop-off fees, and airport taxes and surcharges, it can sometimes seem more cost-effective to buy a car instead of renting, then resell the thing once the trip is over. That's exactly what St. Petersburg Times writer Michael Kruse considered while planning a recent vacation in the Northwest. Krause simply wanted to pick up a car in Jackson, Wyo., tour the Tetons and eastern Washington, and then drop the vehicle off in Seattle five days later. The absolute cheapest rate he could find was nearly $1,300, for a dinky Chevy Aveo no less. That'd work out to a per-day cost of $260, without even adding in insurance or gas. Instead of going with a typical rental car (or buying one), Krause's wife Lauren made an offhand comment about U-Haul, which led Krause eventually to discover that taking a 16-foot Budget moving truck on their adventure would cost under $400 ($372.79, to be exact). They went with the truck, and even after factoring in added costs for gas -- moving trucks aren't known for fuel efficiency -- Krause estimates that they saved $800 to $900. The truck wasn't exactly the ideal vehicle for navigating mountain roads. (For that matter, a Chevy Aveo wouldn't be the first pick of many drivers, either.) But the truck did the trick, and wound up saving Krause and his family a large chunk of change. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: Wheel Deals: Alternatives to Airport Car Rentals Is it cheaper to fly or drive? How to spruce up a rental
Know your new rights as a flier to avoid getting ripped off
New rules issued today by the federal government require that fliers who get "bumped" against their will from their flights receive much fatter payouts than before. The new rules also extend the "passengers bill of rights" protections against tarmac delays to international flights. So, what do you need to know about the new Department of Transportation rules? First, a weather delay gets you nothing, ever. Second, you're owed higher pay-out rates by your airline if it bumps you involuntarily to a later flight. This regulation comes amid soaring bump rates, with more than 700,00 passengers expected to be pushed back this year, a big jump from last year. The reason for the spike? Most airlines oversell flights. (JetBlue is the main exception.) Once upon a time, if you were bumped from your flight, and the airline was able to get you to your destination within two hours of your planned arrival, you were paid the value of your one-way ticket, with a maximum of $400. If they couldn't get you there within 2 hours, you were paid double the amount, up to $800. Not bad. As of today, if the airline boots your from your flight (and you didn't volunteer to be booted) and the airline gets you where you need to go within two hours, you can look forward to getting double the value of that ticket (with a cap of $650). Beyond that, the payout is four times the ticket's one-way value, for a max of $1,300. That's big money, paid in vouchers. But, as we've said before, you should insist on cash—as in green hundred dollar bills—because the alternative, vouchers, can have expiration dates, and the airline may not offer the best ticket for you for routes you're flying before the expiration date. The other big news is that the federal government threatens to fine foreign airlines, not just domestic airlines, up to $27,500 per passenger if they leave an INTERNATIONAL flight on a tarmac for more than FOUR hours without taking off. That said, it's worth saying that this rule already applies to US airlines (with a shorter time window for domestic flights) and the federal government has yet to act on it. So it may be toothless legislation. (Fun fact: Federal agencies aren't required to enforce their regulations. It's true! Congress gives them discretion to decide when to invoke their regulations. This is probably why lawyers make so much money—parsing this stuff.) One other thing to know: Airlines are now required by law to reveal "all ancillary fees on their websites, including fees for checking bags, providing meals and canceling reservations," in the words of USA Today, whose reporting on this topic has been first-rate. MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL: A new way to get cash back when fares drop Would you book a flight with Spirit Airlines? Top sites Yapta and TripIt team up
Poll: Are quick trips abroad worth the travel time?
if (WIDGETBOX) WIDGETBOX.renderWidget('6db3c226-744c-4cf8-9ecc-c3bb19426d5d');Get the Poll Creator Pro widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)Always ones to keep our eyes out for a good deal, we've found some short vacation packages lately that have us rethinking our travel patterns. We've been seeing air-and-hotel deals for non-U.S. destinations that only last 4 nights or less. Generally, we assume if travelers are going to fly 6 or more hours somewhere, they'll want to stay the better part of a week—but maybe that's not the case. As one BT staffer mused: "I'd spend 16 hours on a plane for four days in Venice." What do you think? Do you have little vacation time but big aspirations and find quick getaways appealing? Or does the thought of a three-day stay at the end of hours of air-travel navigation not seem worth it? Tell us below or take our poll! MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 8 Common Air-Travel Snafus (and How to Beat Them) The Ultimate Guide to Travel Apps 6 Essential Items for a Successful Vacation 10 Scenic Airport Landings