Traveling opens our minds. As we understand other cultures, we learn that we are all basically the same, living day to day dreaming of a better life and trying to understand how the world works.
As our daily living expenses get larger, most of us find it very hard to save the extra money needed to travel. Vacations become more and more expensive as we struggle to reach a balance between incoming and outgoing wealth.
One method that opens up a lot of opportunities for travel is the flurry of online websites that cater to travelers who would like to save on package deals. Usually packages consist of hotel stays with optionally airfare deals thrown in to the mix. Recently, there have been instances when packages sold on the internet also included rental cars, cruises as well as additional site seeing tours all packaged into one neat bundle.
Here are some ways by which you can get tremendous savings on travel:
- Browse through your local newspaper. On weekdays, there are special sections for travel bargains in most major newspapers. If you live in a small town, it may be a good idea to go online to major newspaper sites and see the locally offered travel packages. These are usually offered by travel companies or airlines and sometimes hotel chains. The advantage of these offers is that you may be able to save on car or airfare if it’s a local vacation and also take your children and pets along for the ride if it is reasonably priced.
- Talk to your local travel agents. They have been finding deals, comparing prices and talking to picky travelers for decades. If anyone knows travel, it’s the travel agents. If you can sit down and go through all the packages, local, countrywide or global, you will find that most of these established travel agents are pretty knowledgeable about the travel industry. The best reason to have a travel agent is that if you have any trouble during your vacation, you can call them and enable them to change you flight or get you on another flight quickly.
- Try the coupon books offered by schools, malls, supermarkets, magazines, Yellow pages, etc that offer deals on several local and global packages. We have used the local yellow pages for restaurants, hotels as well as car rentals. Most of the time they offer discounts on all of these offers in addition to AAA and AARP discounts. Visit sites that offer comparisons of airfares at the sites listed below.
- If you are a member of AAA, AARP or other groups, go to their websites and search for travel opportunities. You will be pleasantly surprised that they already know you and can tailor the vacation to you and your spouse. If you are over 50, there are many additional discounts that you are eligible for. Check out http://www.seniordiscounts.com/ http://www.savvysenior.org/ or http://www.evergreenclub.com/
- Again, if you are over 50, many domestic and international airlines offer discounts. United offers a “Silver Wings Plus” program that has one of the best discounts in airfares for senior citizens. Also, check out http://www.smartertravel.com/ for cheaper options when it comes to air travel
- Cruises are also wonderful for people who prefer a leisurely vacation with lots of entertainment, good food and exciting shows. One website http://www.icruise.com/ helps people find the best cruise for their budget. Along with the cruise booking, most of these sites also take care of our air travel arrangements. It’s always preferable to arrange both air ticket and cruise packages together using the same company so that in the event of a flight delay, the cruise ship will wait for us to reach before they set sail! If the delays are too long, then they may make arrangements for us to meet them at the next port. The last time we booked the package deal with cruise and airfare, it was almost like we got the air tickets from Atlanta to Hawaii free of charge! In addition to the cruise company arranging our shuttle bus from the airport to the sea port, it was also wonderful to see the HIGE ship was waiting at Honolulu port for us! That is the way to start a vacation!
- A time share plan such as RCI.com can save you thousands of dollars when you can enjoy luxury accommodations and cruises for a fraction of the price. We usually pay an initial deposit and then a yearly fee for these timeshare opportunities. Then, we can deposit our timeshare and exchange it for another anywhere in the world. The resorts are usually world class and are provided with full or partial kitchen and maid service. If you are planning to join a timeshare group, check out the following link before you make any decision.
- Tour companies such as Globus, Trafalgar, etc and clearing houses such as http://www.resortvacationstogo.com/ are really good bets when we really don’t have the time to look for bargains. These companies put together several tours in all parts of the world along with local tour guides and several levels of experience. The luxury vacation that costs around $10,000 or more, the first class and the discount tours are offered for a wide variety of resorts, hotels and cruises. This type of vacation is the least taxing because almost everything is pre-arranged for us. The costs however, can be controlled because of group participation. Also, special groups such as women only or senior citizens or gay groups, can have their own tailor made tours to specific destinations that will be offered at much less than what it takes when one individual puts it all together. Security is also an added bonus since we are always traveling as part of a group.
Overall, keeping our eyes open to any opportunity to save on travel can help us go on vacations more often. Our strategy should be to get at least one option (airfare, accommodation, rental or living expenses) free and then add the rest of the options finding good discounts to reduce each of them. Or if you do not have the time or patience to select each itinerary and fine tune the vacation, then choose any of the options available that are offered by tour companies.
Here are some more sites to compare prices on airfare:
Airfare choice – http://airfarechoice.com/
Bargain travel http://www.bargaintravel.com/
Cheap travel – http://www.cheaptravel.com
Expedia – http://www.expedia.com/
Hotwire – http://www.hotwire.com
Igougo – http://www.igougo.com/
Kayak – http://www.kayak.com/
Sidestep – http://www.sidestep.com/
Star alliance –- http://www.staralliance.com/
Travelocity – http://www.travelociy.com
Cheap flights – http://www.cheapflights.com/
Bon Voyage J