Luxury Travel on a Shoestring Budget – Money Saving Travel Tips

Love to travel but don’t have the thousands of dollars to do it?

You can get luxury travel on a shoestring budget by planning your vacation or trip just a bit more carefully.

Read a few of these tips, and then go on your well-deserved getaway without burning a hole in your pocket.

Always remember: When planning your trip, timing is key.

For example, school vacation weeks are the worst times to plan trips. Most parents have no choice but to travel at these high-peak seasons, so school vacation periods in any country are always going to be crowded. The airfare is always sky high – no pun intended.

If you’ve traveled during these peak seasons, you may noticed that coach seats during a school vacation week could cost you more money than a first class ticket during the off-season. So remember, unless you MUST travel during these peak periods, avoid winter and spring breaks at all costs.

Here’s another important tip: Regardless of how you decide to book your luxury travel arrangements – either through a travel agent or through an online travel website – make sure that you know exactly who you are working with. For example, your best bet to save on a hotel and car rental package is probably going to be with Priceline.com’s “name your own price” option. However, Priceline.com is not the best choice for international airline travel. You’d be better off with an agent. Either way you go, try to use the same travel agent or service. This makes sure that you build a solid relationship with the company you’re dealing with. If you are loyal to them, they will be loyal to you. Always remember, they want your business.

Think about how frequent flier programs work: if you choose their airline consistently, they’ll reward you by giving you a free flight. Granted, you’ll need to do a lot of flying if you’re just going to earn points sitting on a plane, but with a little research, you’ll find ways to make loyalty programs work in your favor. When booking online or with an agent, make sure you always ask questions. You will never get anywhere from being silent.

If for some reason the company you’re working with makes an error, be sure to take advantage of it. Most companies want to keep up a high level of customer satisfaction, and they rely on their guests to provide them with information on how to achieve that. See if they could possibly upgrade an aspect of your trip. Your coach tickets could turn into first class, or maybe your suite could turn into a deluxe version. Don’t be scared to ask for upgrades. If they say no, then you’re no worse off than before. Your criticism will ensure that yourself (and other travelers) will have a satisfactory luxury vacation.

When you’re looking your vacation online, you should search travel review sites for agents or an agencies who have shown they willing to work with unhappy customers, an have proven that they excel at customer service. Many times, customer service representatives get aggravated with customers who complain, or the service reps are based in a foreign country and can only read from a script. And you probably already know that scripts don’t cover every possible customer service issue that a traveler may encounter.

You’ll find just about any travel service rated on a review site somewhere. Just keep in mind that people like to complain about bad experiences, so you’ll find many more complaints than good reviews for even the most well-known travel services. So take the complaints with a grain of salt. Look for the most commonly re-occurring complaints (like bad customer service). Most bad experiences are not usually the fault of the service. Rather the experience occurred because of the traveler’s misunderstanding of the travel site policies.

* * * Read your travel site’s terms and conditions BEFORE you book reservations * * *

You want to consider all aspects of your deal; not just the price tag. Quality wins over quantity in some cases. You find a rate online offering a room at $20.00 a night. It may sound appealing, right? Maybe you’re taking your family to Disney World and you figured you just need someplace to rest your head at night. But when you check-in, that’s when you discover the bathroom is shared with everyone on the floor, there’s police tape strung across the the door to the room next to yours, and you see prostitutes wandering in the parking lot. Maybe this deal WAS too good to be true.

Do your research. There’s plenty of information available to educate yourself on discounted travel mastery. Most of it is available for free; some of it you may have to pay for if you don’t want to do the research. Go to travel websites and forums specific to the type of trip you’re planning to take: Cruise, adventure tour, etc. If you are itching to take a trip that you don’t want to pay full price for, and you opt to pay for money-saving travel information online, I’d recommend that you only consider offers that give you a 100% money-back guarantee. If you don’t get great money-saving travel tips, at least you can get your money back.

Follow these simple practices, and you’ll have the luxury you want on a shoestring budget.

Affordable Travel Deals Tips – Ways to Find Bargains on Airfare, Car Rental, and Vacation Packages

The internet has made finding affordable travel deals an easy process. Everybody can do it these days – there is no need to hire a travel agent. Whether you’re looking for deals for a specific trip or just want to wait until a good vacation package pops up before jumping on it, the web provides you all the tools you need for doing so.

The best bargains usually don’t last very long so you’ll need to jump on an offer ASAP. Sometimes the best deals are of the last-minute variety, and other times it is recommended to book early in advance. Most experts agree that booking 7 – 8 weeks in advance is ideal.

When looking for cheap hotel rooms, keep in mind that you should never, ever just pick the first good deal you see in a city you are not familiar with. While you will want to jump on deals quickly, you should still take the time to research the hotels and locations. If a bargain hotel does is not close to all of the city’s major sights, you could wind up paying more for your rental car or taxi rides. Does the hotel you are considering offer the amenities you need as well as free breakfast? Is it located within easy walking distance to inexpensive restaurants?

Subscribe to travel discount newsletters and follow the leading travel sites on social media so that you can stay up-to-date on all of the affordable travel deals. If you haven’t already done so, download some apps on your smartphone to receive alerts. These services are free.

As for airline tickets, it is sometimes cheaper to just go ahead and purchase one with the hotel reservation. When airlines and hotels partner together, there are often good discounts available. However, you might be required to fly out of a specific airport and stay at the hotel for a minimum number of nights.

Choosing Cars in Affordable Travel Deals

If you’re going to rent a car, select a vehicle that is in your budget range and show up at the office to pick it up bright and early in the morning. If you can beat the crowd, you’ll likely get the option to upgrade for free!

Another way to potentially save on your upcoming trip is to consider vacation rentals. Sometimes it’s a lot cheaper to rent an apartment or condo for a week instead of staying at a hotel. Travel discount sites now have a section dedicated to these kinds of rentals. Just make sure that it is located in a safe part of the city.

There are always affordable travel deals to somewhere – you just need to be patient and know where to look!

Online websites are the place to look for all of the aforementioned travel search tools. Whether you want to go on a nice cruise or a big, exciting city, you can use the site to compare affordable travel deals. Take the time to look over online coupon offers as well.

Camping Tips For Seniors – Looking For an Economic Way to Travel

More and more seniors are looking to travel with economical ways to do just that. After all, this is the golden years and what better way to travel then trying your hand at camping. Here are five tips to get you started in camping.

First, research campgrounds of areas that you may want to visit. To do that here are a couple of websites that may help you decide on where to go on your next adventure. One site I would suggest is the National Park Service and the other site is Reserve America. Each site is unique in giving information about camping by state, campsite maps, locate by activity and camping gear suggestions.

Secondly, you ask yourself what I would camp in. Of course, owning a RV would be nice and a more comfortable way to travel. That is something you can think about later if you plan on doing a lot of camping in the future. Even so, there is nothing wrong to begin your camping experiences in a decent tent at a more affordable price. Tents come in all sizes and shapes try to find the right one that will meet your needs. You can find them on line or better yet would be to see them in person at a sporting goods store that sells tents. Therefore, you would get a better perspective of the size that you would need. Another thought is you do not have to sleep on the ground if you have an aero bed and a big enough tent it will fit nicely.

Thirdly, the next area of concern is camping equipment. Everything from a camp stove, sleeping bag, cookware, and coolers. Believe it or not you may already have a lot of these items available to you. However, one of the most important items would be a camp stove to cook on. Car camping stoves work very efficiently to cook up sumptuous meals just like home. You can even use the pots and pans you have at home to begin your camp kitchen supplies.

Next, think about planning your meals a head of time. Preparing them at home not only will save time but money as well. Look in your cupboards and refrigerator for smaller items such as coffee, graham crackers, mustard, ketchup, mayo, and seasonings. Granted, look for items missed from your checklist on the road but try local vendors for fresh fruits and vegetables and discount stores instead. Why not ask about senior discounts as well. In addition, purchase blocked ice for the cooler it will last longer.

Lastly, look into a National Park Pass for seniors. They cost you $10.00 dollars, which will give you some wonderful price breaks in camping and other amenities. If you are 62 years of age or older and proof of age you may buy these passes at any national park. Check out this website for more information on this pass http://store.usgs.gov/pass/index.html. Happy travels!

The First Time Camper – Top Travel Tips

With summer comes the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the long warm days and the cool crisp nights. It’s a time to leave the confines of the city and head to seclusion of the wild. Leaving your cares and worries behind, so you can simply relax and in turn, relax simply. It’s time to go camping.

So, let’s be honest, for some people the mere thought of camping is far from a vacation. To others, however, it’s a great escape; a chance to spend time outdoors and to reconnect with the spirit of nature. Now, if you’re a first time camper it is important for you understand a few things up front. Unlike staying in a traditional hotel or condo, you have to differentiate between essential items to pack and those that are more luxurious and probably not needed. For example: will you be staying in place that has cell phone service or Wi-Fi? Do you need an entire make-up bag or can you get by with just a few basic items? Most importantly, how do you plan to stay warm, dry, and fed during your camping trip? The key to safe and successful camping is knowing what necessities to bring with you and what to leave behind.

Your needs may be very different depending on the type of camping you plan on doing. If you are camping in a rustic cabin, tent camping at a campground, or hiking into the woods and pitching a tent they will all call for varying items. Since it is a good idea to have some camping experience under your belt before you go off deep into the woods, your best bet is to start by reserving a campsite at a campground. Even then, there are some important thing to consider when packing for your trip.

Utilities

Before you even start to make a list of items to pack, be sure to find out if the campground has available utilities. If they do not provide electricity, for example, then bringing that plug in cappuccino machine won’t be of much use. Alternatively, you can bring battery operated equipment, but be sure to take additional batteries. If the campground offers running water and hot showers, then you don’t have to worry about taking gallons of water to weigh you down. Finally, find out if there is a grill or fire pit provided so you can plan on how you will be cooking your meals. Getting this information ahead of time will go a long way in avoiding unneeded frustration later.

Weather- Plan for Rain

As much as we would all like to think that our trip will be rain free and that weather forecasting is a perfect science, the fact is, it is always best to plane for the worst. This means planning for both rain and sunshine alike. There is nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night, only to find the floor of your tent soaking wet. So regardless of the forecast, place a tarp or large piece of plastic under your tent to help keep you dry. Also, be sure to have plenty of seam sealer and duct tape, just in case you spring a leak… or two.

While you’re at it, it’s a good idea to also pack some ponchos, raincoats, or umbrellas as well. These items can help you stay dry so that you can still enjoy your activities even when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate. I always like to bring additional socks with me, too. Since there is no clothes dryer nearby, it is pretty miserable to have to go around with wet feet. These items don’t take up much room, so they’re worth adding to your list to pack.

Protect Your Skin

While it can be fun soaking up the warmth of the hot sun, it’s no so fun getting a nasty sunburn. The sun can be deceiving, so make sure to bring sunscreen with a high enough SPF level to keep your skin protected. Generally, this is going to be a SPF of 30 or higher and I tend to prefer the type that won’t run with sweat. Be mindful of younger children, the elderly, and those with fair skin may need a stronger version. Having a hat with a visor to wear while you are out walking, by the lake, or on the water will add an additional layer of protection during those unexpected heat waves.

Protect Yourself from Insects

Regardless where you camp, a few different kinds of insects will probably cross your path. Bring at least one can of insect repellent with you on your trip. You will most likely enjoy the outdoors a lot more if you’re not spending all of your time swatting away pesky pests. That being said, be sure to check your clothes for any insects that might be hiding in there.

Thick Layers

Because warm days can quickly turn to chilly nights, you will want to pack for all occasions. Go ahead and throw a swim suit in your bag, but you will also want to pack a long sleeve shirt, long pants, and a sweatshirt. If you are camping in a warm climate you may not be concerned about the chilly nights, but it is still important to think ahead, consider weather patterns, and pack accordingly. Bottom line; it is always better to peel layers off than to wish you had brought warmer clothing.

Food

One of the greatest things about camping is being able to experiment with cooking. Whatever you decide to cook on your trip, also consider the essential tools to make the process easier. Tinfoil works wonders when cooking vegetables, for example, and don’t forget to bring a spatula or grilling fork if you’re cooking meat. As much as you might like to only pack paper plates and plastic utensils, you will not be very happy when your plastic fork melts while flipping steaks over the campfire. This doesn’t mean you have to pack the whole kitchen (after all the goal is to pack light), but you will want a few multipurpose tools to make your cooking experience a little easier. Finally, if you are packing meats, condiments, or dairy products, be sure to have large enough cooler that will maintain temperature during your trip. Remember, depending on where you are staying, ice may not be readily accessible. You don’t want your food to spoil before it can be eaten.

Planning for a camping trip may seem like a lot of work, but planning ahead and ridding your packing list of unnecessary items can help simplify the process. When all is said and done, the most important things to consider are your basic fundamental needs: food and water, shelter, clothing, and safety. Everything else is optional and can only add to the enjoyment of your camping experience.

Camping is an opportunity to reconnect with nature, enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, and experience a different way of life. Enjoy the essence of camping by leaving a few luxuries behind and getting away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday routine. By keeping it simple and planning ahead, camping can be a fun and stress free way to enjoy the great outdoors while spending quality time with friends and family.

Where to Find Vacation Deals – A Guide to Comparison Search Tools, Travel Discount Apps, & More

There are many ways to find vacation deals these days. The average person who once didn’t have access to airfare and hotel discounts can now easily look over and compare tons of great deals for business travel, vacation packages, cruises, and more. If you’re wondering where to find vacation deals, you’re already off to a good start.

One place you’ll want to look is comparison sites. These sites work with most major and budget airlines in the world, hundreds of thousands of hotels, all the car rental companies, dozens of cruise lines, and so forth. They provide search tools that are easy to use. All you have to do is enter the dates you’re interested in traveling, your departure city, intended destination, and number of people traveling. There are options to search for airfare alone, hotel accommodation alone, car rental alone, cruise fare, or a combination of these. Sometimes extra savings are possible if you bundle everything at once.

If you don’t have anything specific in mind, there are “Daily Deals”, “Vacation Packages”, “Things to Do”, etc… sections to check out. You will be able to view all of the current deals on both domestic and international vacations.

While this is a great way to find discounts on popular vacation spots like the Caribbean, Cancun, Vegas, Paris, New York, Orlando, Hawaii, etc… , you still might be wondering where to find vacation deals at destinations that aren’t as popular. Just enter the first couple of letters of the destination and the search function will automatically suggest the name of that destination as well as the nearest airport. Play around with the dates – the more flexible you are, the easier it will be to find a discount rate.

Where Else to Find Vacation Deals

Another place to find travel discounts is with newsletters and apps. Have the newest deals sent right to your inbox or smartphone the very second they pop up. Some apps will even let you specify your budget and the destinations you are interested in. There are newsletters dedicated to general travel deals and some that are for specialty travel, like Caribbean cruises and Maui adventures.

There are bidding sites as well that will allow you to bid on hotel rooms and airfare. However, you need to be particularly savvy and this strategy isn’t for everyone.

Now that you know where to find vacation deals, be sure to use a service that is reliable and offers 24/7 customer service, whether you choose to the search and comparison option, newsletter service, app, etc. Also, use promo codes and other special offers to bring the price down even more.

Get all of the savings opportunities you need online. It is by far the best place to search for, find, and compare travel rates. You can also book right through the sites or apps. This is where to find vacation deals and affordable business travel services. Be sure to use online coupons when you book your trip.