I have found that the best way to save on your airline tickets is to be a bit flexible with the dates. Although complete flexibility is by no means required, being flexible to fly 3 days before and/or after your desired dates might save you hundreds of dollars. I always check http://www.kayak.com/ for the best deals. To allow for the ultimate deal search, you would need to register on their site, but it’s free and only takes a couple of minutes. After you’ve registered and logged into your account you can then search for “flexible dates” (up to 3 days before or after your desired travel dates). This site also allows you to include nearby airports in your search. Sometimes flying out of the airport 70 miles away from you instead of 50 might also save you a lot, if it’s a larger airport. But it isn’t always so, so be sure to check the “include nearby airports” checkbox to see if your closest airport might only be a few dollars more than the one farther away. And sometimes smaller airports are nicer to fly out of anyway just to avoid the rush and long lines of a major airport.
For car rental deals be sure to check http://www.carrentals.com/. They come up with deals much better than most major travel sites, like travelocity or orbitz and the credit card is not required for a reservation. They are also known for $8/day rental rates at many major airports. We’ve rented our cars while traveling from this site quite a few times now, and you can always ask for a AAA discount when you get to the car rental place, on top of their already low prices (of course, if you have AAA membership, as the car rental place can always ask you for your AAA card 🙂