If your travel budget is tight, take heart. In many ways, there’s never been a better time to travel than 2012. Competition for tourism leads to travel deals and savvy planning also saves travel dollars.
1. Flexibility pays.
Tweak travel time for significant savings. Peak or high season travel always costs more and destinations are crowded. Travel off-season or on the shoulder season. It’s not necessary to go to Asia during monsoon season or the ski slopes when they are bare! Booking a getaway as little as a week or two, pre-or-post peak periods saves 20% or more.
2. Consider alternatives.
Compare airfares at alternative airports within a metropolitan area, such as LaGuardia, JFK and Newark in the New York area; Reagan National, Dulles and Baltimore in the Washington DC area; and Miami and Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Get the best rates on lodging a few miles away from the center of big cities and theme parks. Ask about free shuttles and public transportation.
3. Discover the value of cruising.
Cruise fares include lodging, all the food you can devour, round-the-clock on-board activities/entertainment, free kids camps and plenty of personal attention. Although charges for gratuities, shore excursions, cocktails and gambling can add to the bottom line, rock-bottom basic cruise rates hover as low as $60 per day per person for a seven-day Caribbean cruise. Pick a port within driving distance, such as Baltimore, Maryland; Bayonne, New Jersey or New York City; and save on air travel.
4. Beat the Euro.
Book a Mediterranean or European cruise or tour paid for in your home country’s currency. The more all-inclusive the better. Make certain that once a deposit is made, the price is locked in and not subject to change with fluctuating exchange rates, including: Eastern Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Argentina and China.
5. Rely on a professional.
While the Internet brings the world to your fingertips, the amount of information is overwhelming. Don’t be too quick to click. Unwary travelers discover that online deals are not always what they seem. When professional travel agents understand personal interests and budgets, they are masters at comparing travel options and uncovering legitimate promotions and perks that won’t weaken the wallet.
6. Join the clubs.
Inquire about senior, corporate and first responder discounts. Enroll in airline, hotel and rental car membership programs. Members get preferred rates and rewards. Factor in freebies like complimentary breakfasts, free parking, free Internet access and free local shuttle transportation.
7. Capitalize on local promotions.
Make the first stop at your destination the local tourism office or chamber of commerce and stock up on local discount coupons and inside tips. Many major cities offer a “City Pass” (citypass.com or smartdestinations.com) that provides admission to multiple attractions, and shopping and dining discounts at savings of 50% or more. In Europe, 44 cities offer a European City Card (europeancitycards.com) with similar savings. Purchase passes online prior to arrival for additional savings.
8. Safeguard your vacation investment.
Unforeseen events, illness and other problems that cause vacation cancellations are costly. Some medical insurance plans and Medicare do not cover illness or medical evacuation at international destinations. When trip costs cannot be recovered, it pays to spend a little money to protect your travel investment.
9. Take advantage of special offers.
Deals and special offers can lead to big vacation savings, like dollars off, cruise on-board credits and more. We update our travelers often regarding special offers, so like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or contact your Boscov’s Travel Specialist and ask to be signed up to receive updates via email.