1. When comparing the cost of different types of vacations or diverse itineraries break it down to the cost per person per day. This is the only way to make an apples to apples comparison. If you are considering a cruise and an all-inclusive land vacation or all-inclusive vs. paying for your accommodations, food, entertainment, drinks, and excursions separately you need to take a close look at all the extras to give yourself an honest comparison. Also don’t forget to do a reality check – -many destinations that are tropical have to import much of the food, so even a gallon of milk at the store might be $7.00 while you are accustom to paying $3.50 for that same gallon of milk. Only when you understand what you are really going to pay for your vacation, can you make the decision that will make your money work harder for you.
2. Think of the little things – -they really add up. I am not suggesting being cheap here, I think vacation is the perfect time to splurge on a five star hotel, a once in a decade luxury all-inclusive resort or dream day spent on a private yacht – -those are the big things that you will remember for the rest of your life. They are money that is well spent (see tip 3 for how to save on the big things), but by planning ahead you can trim lots of little expenses that will make a surprising big budget savings. Pack an emergency med travel kit: Tums are much much cheaper at Wal-Mart than a hotel in a foreign country. Bring a refillable water bottle, or better yet a refillable filter bottle; if you hotel water is safe to drink than fill up before you go. Want some flavor- bring crystal light packets (this is a great cruise ship money saver). Think about the amount of luggage you can take without paying for it. Don’t let yourself be stuck at the airport without snacks – -this is one of the worst places to buy anything, a meal included. Likewise skip the extras on the plane – -the food, internet, phone, TV all add up to money spent with little value that you can save by just pre-planning. Need an internet fix, check your local destination for a free internet cafe. The little expenses that you don’t budget for can often be the budget buster that you didn’t realize were adding up until you are back home and get that ugly credit card bill in the mail – –by doing some pre-trip brainstorming you can save real money without missing anything on your ideal vacation.
3. Be more flexible than a slinky. If your dates are moveable, you can often save enough money to trade up from a three-star Florida beach break in high season to a four and half star Cancun all-inclusive off peak. Travel with friends and upgrade to shared accommodations, get upgraded service and amenities and still save.
Be clear on what you want. I want to experience Rome. Relax for a week on the beach. Take a cruise with my whole family. When you are clear on what you really want your vacation to be, think about ways to get that while remaining open to alternate ideas. If a week on a tropical beach is what you desire – be open to various destinations. If you absolutely want to try that new ship out, pick a less popular travel time or smaller cabin. If you need to travel over a peak travel time, look at a less expensive resort option. No matter what you want, with a little flexibility you can meet your vacation goal and still stay on budget.
4. Drive instead of flying. Can you find a way to take that perfect vacation and drive to your destination? Cruise lines are offering many more home port destinations that ever before, so before you settle on a flight to Florida, check out some closer options and see if driving will fit into your vacation timetable. If you decide you have to fly, think about flying on Thursday instead of Friday this can save you as much as $100 per person. Also look at alternate airports, sometimes driving to a large airport can save you hundreds of dollars.
5. Call a Travel Agent. I can find you a great deal on your perfect vacation, family reunion or girlfriend’s getaway. Skeptical? GREAT! Find your best price and then call Midwest Travel Solutions! We can almost always meet or beat any internet price out there!
If you want to take a small leap of faith; give me a call and we can visit for 15 to 20 minutes so I can learn what you really want, what is important to you, your preferences, your budget, your time frame. Then I can do my job even better , every day I receive the latest specials from a wide variety of hotels, resorts, airlines and tour companies I see the trends, know what’s new, and know what’s a good price. If I know exactly what you are looking for I can keep my eye out and notify you when a great deal comes along.