Friday, September 21, 2018 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Travel Hacks for Affording Your Dream Vacation

Monetary restrictions are all too often to blame for not booking a bucket list dream vacation. When a bank account can’t handle the strain, other less exciting options are settled for in lieu of taking no vacation at all. Though we continuously swear we will one day take that long-awaited trip to Paris or Rome, with each passing year it’s the same old thing. Maybe next time around.

But what if the trip you’ve always wanted to take could somehow be more affordable than you’ve ever imagined? What if you could shave off just enough of the cost to bring it into focus? Perhaps you can.

There are some secrets to traveling for less. They require careful planning and some of them need to be implemented far enough in advance to take full advantage of the savings, but any one of these tips and tricks could be the key to finally receiving the desired rubber stamp on a passport.
 
Online Deals

The first place most people head when looking for travel deals is to the world-wide-web, and this is an excellent place to start. Travel companies vie for business by being as competitive as they can so shopping around will ultimately unturn the best price. But there’s more to it. Never book anything only because it appears to be the best price available.

First, create a new Email address. Then go to several travel sites such as Trivago and input all of your information as though you are going to book a hotel room, car, or a flight. DO NOT click the pay icon but do select the ‘opt-in’ option for receiving deals and updates. Within several days you should begin receiving offers which are lower than what was originally found. There will undoubtedly be SPAM to sort through but it’s well worth the effort to do so. This is the reason for using a separate Email address from the one ordinarily used.

Travel companies do not want to lose anyone as a potential customer and if they need to dig a little deeper to keep one, they’ll do it. Also, your browser history remembers exactly what you are seeking to book so other offers will filter in via targeted ads. Some who have used this method have booked cars for as little as $14 a day and have reserved hotel rooms for as low as half the amount they originally found online.
 
Online Deals
 
How About a Cruise?

Cruise ships set sail to where they can maximize their profits. The same ship cruising to Alaska in the summertime will head to the Caribbean during the winter. The same holds true for other ships being sent across the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans. It’s called repositioning.

When these ships are repositioned due to seasonal changes, the last thing any cruise line wants to do is have their ships proceed anywhere with no passengers on board. This is when immense discounts far below seasonal rates can be found. The other caveat is the ship will also be far less crowded yet all of the many amenities offered onboard won’t waver just because someone paid less.

If time permits and Europe is where someone wants to go, rather than catch a flight, they should book a repositioning cruise. Sure it could take a couple of weeks to get where they are going, but considering they will receive gourmet meals and be waited on hand and foot while they bask in the sun, it’s a pretty decent trade-off.

The best way to find one of these cruises is to do an internet search with the words “repositioning cruise discounts”. These words will produce an abundance of hits.
 
How About A Cruise?
 
Home is Where the Heart is

When thinking about a vacation the first thing most people consider is how much a week or two at a Hilton or Hyatt Regency is going to set them back. Hotel rooms, especially at popular vacation destinations, can be enough to blow a hole through anyone’s budget. Even smaller mom and pop hotels in resort areas are sometimes cost prohibitive. But. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Internet sites such as homeexchange.com list more than 41,000 homes in 152 countries with owners willing to swap their home for yours for a temporary period. These sites list all the details and it’s even possible to find someone who’ll leave you a car if you agree to let them drive yours while you are gone. If someone has pets which need to be cared for in their absence, not to worry, it’s easy enough to find someone willing to watch your pets in exchange for you watching theirs.

There needs to be a certain level of trust when doing this, but there have been very few complaints of anyone not living end up to their end of the bargain. Most of the sites offering these listings require an annual or monthly fee to join but the cost is not excessive and it’s easier to trust someone who is also shelling out money for the service. Beware of any site offering this service for free. Swapping homes requires at least a certain level of commitment from both parties.
 
Home Is Where The Heart Is
 
When to Book

When booking a flight, as odd as this may appear, flying, and even locking in a seat on a flight, is less expensive on certain days and times. Wednesday is the best day to fly, or buy, in terms of securing a better deal. This is followed by Tuesday. Purchasing a ticket between midnight and 1 a.m. on a Wednesday, or after 3 p.m. on a Tuesday, is when the best airline discounts will be offered.

Sunday is generally the best day for maximum discounts on hotel rooms. Many of the guests, especially business travelers, have checked out and there will be excess rooms the hotel needs to fill rather than have them remain empty for a night. Smaller hotels offer better mid-week deals. It’s also advisable to book a room later in the day because at that point the hotel will know how many rooms won’t be filled and they would rather make a little than nothing at all.
 
When To Book
Hopefully, these travel hacks will help. Vacations don’t have to be as expensive as they initially appear provided enough due diligence is done beforehand. With the money you can save, maybe this year will be the year for going where you’ve always wanted.
 

1 Comment

  1. Chad Kasper
    August 22, 2018 - 9:02 am

    Great article.
    I will have to try homeexchange next time I fly to Europe.
    BTW, you mentioned Trivago, which sends price alerts prior to booking the hotel.
    Suprised you didn´t mention Pruvo, which saved me $232 on my recent trip to Prague by finding me a price drop after I already booked

    Reply

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