Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
On a recent Friday afternoon, I learned that everybody in my house was busy for the weekend except me and my 7-year-old son Grant. I quickly went online and saw frequent flier seats at the lowest possible redemption rate to city after city, going Friday and coming back Sunday. Then I cross-checked weather and general hotel availability for different cities.
Guess what happened next? My son and I were on the plane 100 minutes later going to Boston.
When we started our flight, we had no hotel arrangements whatsoever. But while in the air, I used the free Wi-Fi to do Priceline bids. I ended up with a 4 star in central Boston for $99.
My son had the best time ever in Beantown. At the monument at Bunker Hill, he ran all 300 steps up to the top while the adults were huffing and puffing. The cost of Bunker Hill? Free.
We also went to the USS Constitution for free. We walked the Freedom Trail and went to Boston Common for free. The cost of the carousel at Boston Common and souvenirs? $3 and $15, respectively.
The big expense was the “Duck” mobile, a vehicle that drives on land and then goes in the Charles River. It was $22 for Grant and $27 for me with my military discount.
The thing is, there is not a lot of tourist activity in walking cities like Boston, New York, Chicago and San Francisco right now. And the weather is still great. The daytime high was 70 in Boston, though it did go down to 40 at night.
Flex where you go and book something at the last minute. That is the sweet spot for fall travel.
– Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog