Pack your bags and travel cheaply this season with these travel freebies

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From Madame Noire:

With travel prices soaring, every saved penny counts. And industry analysts say airfares will keep rising for 2013, according to USA Today. Passengers can be expected to pay more add-on fees. The airlines, which are cutting flights, are making money from these additional costs. According to the newspaper, airlines collected $924 million in baggage fees alone in the third quarter of last year. They made another $652 million from fees to change reservations.

It is not just airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, and cruise lines  are adding new fees. But there are actually ways to get a few free things the next time you travel. We lay out a few of the opportunities.

Free In The Air

While it is best to focus on one carrier, there are times you might just need to fly with another and you will want to make sure those miles count. So be sure to join all the frequent flier programs associated with the airlines you frequent. If you have a charge card, tie it to your most-used frequent flier account. This will earn miles as well. After you reach a certain level you can trade in the miles for upgrades or a free trip. But make sure to know the rules of the programs, as miles can expire. The “Program Guide” at WebFlyer.com details each airline’s rules.

Play The Consolidation Game

If you have  a lot of miles scattered around, consolidate them into one program. Keep track of them with Points.com, which will also show you what offers are available to combine your points on airlines. You can combine air miles with other frequent flier miles (not from the same airline) if the airlines are partners under one umbrella alliance.

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