Traveling has been a part of our annual routines so finding good deals is a must for us not to break our bank.
When going on vacation, we tried to find the best value that we can get. We usually do not go for five star hotels as we are contented with three or four stars. I do not see ourselves as cheap as we have also stayed at expensive hotels ($300-$400 per night) but we have to use some of our rewards to alleviate the cost somehow.
When it comes to traveling, there are a lot of ways that you can enjoy the vacation and still go within a budget.
These are the ways on how we save money on our vacation:
1. Off-peak Season Travel
I think most people prefer to go on a vacation get away on a week or day to celebrate an event such as a wedding anniversary or a birthday. Sometimes, these dates are aligned to the peak season travel and people will not contemplate on traveling even if it would costs them more. However, the best way to avail huge savings on a travel is to travel during the off-peak season and in order to do so, you may need to re-adjust your travel plans. As an example, my associate at work has been married for at least fifteen years and their wedding anniversary falls during summertime but they usually travel during the spring season to take advantage of the price disparity.
Fortunately for us, our wedding anniversary is in the month of April,which is still covered by the off-peak rates, at least, here in United States. We are saving as much as 50% of the cost of travel when compared to the cost of the peak season travel
2. Using Online Discount Travel Sites for Hotels or Flights Only
The presence of the internet has been very good for consumers like us as now we can access more information at the tip of our hand real time. I think online shopping, including travel, has been transformed dramatically as consumers can browse the internet to find good deals.
As for us, we have been using the online discount travel sites to book hotels and fares. I think hotel and airline companies really encourage consumers to use discount sites as it would really cost you more if you go directly with them. This is one of those industries where going directly to the manufacturer and bypassing the middlemen do not pay off.
3. Using Travel Agents for Vacation Packages
If you think travel agents are dead because of the emergence of the discount travel sites, think again! Some of the best travel deals we got came from using a travel agent particularly on vacation packages. So it’s always best to ask quote from the online travel site and compare the rates to the travel agents. Here are some of the vacation deals we got from travel agents.
- 2005 – Honolulu, Hawaii Trip – Cost is $1,300 ($650 per person) for a five day and four nights package, which includes hotel, airfare, and three tour packages (Polynesian Cultural Center, USS Arizona, and tour of the island). This deal was offered by my travel agent friend. She made the trip herself so she knows first hand about the value of the trip and made the recommendation to us.
- 2008 – Seven-Day Mexican Riviera Cruise – Cost is $750 per person for a room with an open balcony. This was booked using the AAA travel agency and what I like about this deal is that the actual price of the room taken somewhere else is $1,050 so we actually save as much as $300 per person.
4. Using Our Credit Cards to Book Some of Travel Expenses
When it comes to traveling, some of the best deals we got is from using our credit cards. The first one is the reward system, whether in terms of mileage for flights, cash back reward system, and using it for other freebies. As an example, we’ve capitalize on the reward system and have used them to fund our two other trips:
- 2009 – Laughlin, NV trip – The rewards helped us save as much as 30% on our hotel accommodation
- 2010 – La Jolla, CA – The rewards helped us cut a three-day weekend getaway in half.
We have also opened a frequent mileage rewards with Philippine Airlines in order to get free airfares.
The second advantage is when we rent cars. As you know,we’ve been using the credit card so we can avail of the insurance coverage and avoid the $15 per day offered by car rental companies. Usually, this is available when we use the gold or platinum cards of either Visa or MasterCard, or the the $17 one time fee for 30 days use using the American Express.
5. Owning a AAA Club Membership
Owning that AAA club membership is so well worth it as it does pay for itself. We use the card to save money not only on the travel packages but also when we purchase souvenirs. As an example, we are a “Hard Rock Cafe” collectors and everywhere we go, we usually check if there is a store present so we can buy souvenirs. Another advantage of carrying a AAA card is when we dine in. So whenever we go to restaurants or retail stores, we always ask if they are offering AAA discounts.
6. Purchasing Souvenirs at Flea Markets
Just like any other tourist, we have a habit of purchasing souvenirs but only selected items such as a shot glass, spoons, magnets, etc. We have been collecting these little memorabilia from every place we go. When it comes to purchasing these items, we usually go to flea markets if there is one that we can reach. You’ll be surprised that the items sold at flea markets are pretty much the same as the ones sold at regular retail stores but with one difference: flea market price is usually lower by as much as fifty percent!.
What about you? Can you share some tips you use in order to save on your travel?