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Travel Show: Experts tell how to pinch pennies till the coins cry

February 23, 2013|By Catharine M. Hamm, Los Angeles Times Travel editor
  • You may not have the best weather if you go to London at off-peak times, but the crowds at attractions (such as the Cutty Sark in nearby Greenwich) and your airfare and hotel costs will be less.
You may not have the best weather if you go to London at off-peak times, but… (Catharine Hamm / Los Angeles…)

Why is it a good idea to go to London in February? If you’re not a frequent flier, can you still play the mileage game? And when is it a mistake to be focused on the price?

Those are some of the questions that will be answered today and Sunday at the L.A. Times Travel Show at a panel titled “More For Your Money: Budget Tips for Savvy Travelers.”

As moderator of the panel (and as a very budget-minded traveler), I’m lucky to have my dream team of bottom-line guys:  John DiScala, a.k.a. Johnny Jet; Brian Kelly, a.k.a. The Points Guy; and Gabe Saglie of Travelzoo, and, as a result, his a.k.a. has to be a Guy Who Knows a Great Bargain When He Sees One.

In talking with the panelists beforehand, I learned (or re-learned) the measures we can take to keep our travel costs down. DiScala, whose JohnnyJet website is all about saving you a buck, emphasized off-peak travel, when crowds are smaller and so are prices.

He has recently found some great airfares, he said, and he’ll tell you how you can too. And he may rave about the Global Entry program (“the best thing since air travel was invented,” he said recently) and how it has saved him scads of time for not a lot of money.

Kelly, who became a Points Guy during his years as a road warrior, can tell you whether you’re getting the most for your miles and how to accumulate them without ever getting on a plane. Is Kelly a devoted miles/points person? You’ll know he is when we tell you his dog’s name.

And Saglie will explain why you might be short-changing yourself by being too focused on the bottom line. (I didn’t think it was possible, but he showed me the other day how one can be penny wise and pound foolish.)

Each will also talk about destinations that should be on a bargain hunter’s radar (China, South Africa, Ireland) and share some of their favorite websites (Fly.com, BackBid.com and ExpertFlyer.com, among them).

The panel starts at 11:15 a.m. both days at the Destinations Stage. See you there.

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