Here is a cold hard tip for travel.
It costs money to go.
Or points that came from spending money.
It costs fuel, gas, electricity.
It costs for your food.
It costs for someone to clean up after you.
It costs for someone to make you food.
It costs for someone to fly the plane, to run the train.
It costs money to travel.
I don’t mean to sound like a jaded children’s poet, but I think there is a disconnect from the thrifty and the reality of expense.
While I love saving money, just like most people when I travel, I think it’s also important to understand that there is a minimum cost of everything. This minimum costs has to come from somewhere.
I say this because I notice trends in the travel industry that look like something too good to be true, and really are too good to be true.
For instance, one may see amazingly cheap resorts in Mexico. Which is great for those of us with limited means. Yet when you break down the real cost of some of these vacation packages, there are added costs. There are costs to how well the people are paid, less profit can mean lower or stagnant wages.
Then there is the AirBnB mess that i constantly hear about. Someone books a house to save a little money, and then they find out that the place wasn’t what they thoughts, gets cancelled at the last minute, or the locations ends of being some type of illegal renting situation. It’s not that every AirBnB is bad, but that sometimes the “discount” isn’t really a discount.
From my work in the travel industry the best deals and most security come from doing the following:
- Joining loyalty programs for hotels, airlines, resorts etc.
- These are usually free and they often offer things like better rates, free Wi-Fi, discounts on future bookings, points accumulations etc.
- Book a package
- Companies like FunJet work with airlines like Southwest to create better rates for flights to popular areas like Cancun, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. This doesn’t always save a significant amount of money, but it can have bonuses like resort credits, spa credits, free transfers from the airport etc.
- Go in the off-season
- research pricing in advance to find the seasons that are lower. This can sometimes save 50% off air and hotels, versus going around Spring Break or winter holidays.
- Book Ahead
- If you DO have to go in the high-season, then make sure you book as early as possible. This usually can save you a significant amount on your rates, and ensure availability.
- Book Last Minute
- If you wind up with some extra vacation time to burn, a last minute booking can prove to be really economical and get you into places wanting to fill a spot. This works best in shoulder and off-season time-frames.
- Find Hidden Gems
- Sometimes the best experiences are away from the crowds and the chaos of popular areas. For instance, instead of high-end lodges in Africa for $1,000 per night, one could have a similar experience at a lesser-known lodge for closer to $300 per night. Sometimes the lodges don’t have the luxury pools and details of the luxury lodges, but they do have fantastic views, wildlife experiences, and animal viewing that is sure to amaze.
What are your budget finds that don’t risk losing out?