In a recent poll of Yapa Now’s Facebook followers, friends and clients, you shared with me the top reason you do not fulfill your travel dreams. The #1 reason was budget. In this economy and job insecurity for so many, it is not a surprise that vacations take a back seat to more important financial concerns.
Do you save for your vacations? Do you find it hard to save for vacations? Or, do you wait until you have vacation time and plan your getaway based on funds available? As a travel agent who works with world wide suppliers, I want to share with you some ways to find yourself taking that dream vacation without breaking the bank or forking over a large sum of cash when the time rolls around again next year. It is possible to experience luxury vacations on a budget when you learn how.
Tip #1 – Book Early
Did you know that you can book air reservations 11 months in advance? Why does that matter, you ask? Like layaway, that means that for a small deposit you can make your reservations for the air and hotel and have another 9 1/2 to 10 months to pay it in full. This allows you to take advantage of the early booking bonuses available and also take advantage of the air prices when they are at their lowest. You can then makes payments toward your trip at your convenience. If you want to pay monthly, weekly or even quarterly, it is at your convenience. I have found that many people find it easier to make payments toward something than to “save” that same amount. We are all used to making payments, right?
The bottom line is you get the most bang for your buck and you do not have to pay it all at once. For many, the amount of the deposit can be as low as $200 for an air/hotel package.
Tip #2 – Cruises
Cruises are another great way to book with a small deposit. There are sales running all the time where you can book your cabin with as low as a $50 deposit. The sales often include on board credits (obc’s) which give you additional money to spend that is not coming out of your pocket.
Tip #3 – Think All-Inclusive
All-inclusive resorts are a thing of beauty for the budget minded traveler. For some reason, the AI’s have gotten a bad rap among people who expect luxury (and the price tag that comes with it). The AI resorts have all the amenities of the European plan resorts and often offer more. With the all-inclusive, all of your meals, drinks, tips and various activities are included at no charge. No, the restaurants are not all buffet style. They usually offer one large buffet style restaurant, two or more theme restaurants, snack bars and lounges. The food is excellent and often multi-cultural (French, local, Japanese, etc). For example, a resort in Mexico could cost you approximately $2,000 including air for 5 nights for two people. Add to that the amount you are saving by not paying for meals, drinks and extras, no extra charges and you can see why they are an excellent choice for the budget minded.
Tip #4 – Travel Club
I am not a fan of time-shares or any way, shape or form of MLM’s. My first bit of advice is to steer clear of them when looking for budget friendly vacation options. With that said, my host agency, KHM Travel Group, just launched a new vacation club. It truly is the evolution of travel and the extras included in membership are outstanding. I will post another article about it later but for now let’s just look at some of the incredible positives. Luxevo offers you a tremendous amount of savings on vacation packages including cruises. Yes, you can find great deals anywhere but where do you find a vacation you purchase that rewards you with Luxpoints of $1 for every $10 you spend. Luxpoints never expire and can be used for your next vacation. Not even the best rewards point credit cards offer that much. Click on the picture below if you want to learn more about Luxevo or watch for my post about it later this week. I will go into detail about the membership and advantages then.
Tip #5 – Beware the Scams
Unfortunately, every day there are dozens of new scams hitting the internet. There is no way to find them all or list them all. The best advice is the old saying “If it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.” If you are determined to book vacations on your own, do a little homework first. Check the airlines for costs of flights to your destination, check the resorts to see what their average daily rate is and compare that to the “deal” you are seeing. Also, check the fine print. Sure it looks good, but are you getting transportation from the airport to the resort or are the taxes and fees included? Don’t let lack of knowledge lead you into a bad financial decision.
In closing, if you can dream it, we can help you make it a reality and within your budget! There are so many options available for the destination of your choice that there will be something you love that work for you financially. If you have tried doing the homework, you know how hard it can be to find that special place. Using a travel agent takes the research out of the equation for you. Let us do the leg work and you reap the benefits.