Travel Agents Reveal the Best Ways to Save
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Traveling can be pricey and most travelers are looking for ways to save a few bucks here and there. Saving money depends on where, when and how you travel.
“Be on the lookout for new properties, which may have introductory pricing that can’t be beat.” said Megan Velez, vice president of product for Destination Weddings Travel Group. “Take advantage now before their standard pricing launches.”
Once you know where you want to go, book early. “Booking early usually provides the best value, selection and availability,” said Muffett Grubb, owner of Cruise Holidays. “In my experience, there aren’t as many last-minute deals as we have seen in the past. And often, those deals don’t have the best selection and availability in terms of accommodations and airline schedules.”
When you travel can also help you to save money. “Travel in the shoulder season, when the weather is still good, but rates are lower,” said Henley Vazquez, CEO/co-founder of Passported. “Book your hotel ahead of time, since the least expensive rooms tend to sell out first. If staying in a luxury hotel, book through a travel agent. Almost every good hotel has agency partnerships that will get you free breakfasts, spa and resort credits and room upgrades for the same price as if you booked direct.”
If you're traveling to Europe, Tracee Williams said that it's less expensive to travel to Europe Monday through Thursday.
“You will also find better seat availability,” said the Vacation.com member who is with luxury vacation designer Destinations. “For example, travel to Italy is lovely during September and October, and you don’t have the crowds that you do in peak summer months.”
If you are staying at a condo resort or townhome, the easy way to save money is to utilize the kitchen. “Most of the resorts that line Grace Bay beach on the main tourist island of Providenciales are condo resorts, so you’d likely have a full kitchen in your unit,” said Val Kalliecharan, Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands. “Eating out every day and night can add up quickly, so save money by stocking up on some food items at the grocery store that you can prepare in your unit, and even grab some alcohol while you’re at it.”
If you don’t want to cook on your own, Karen La Rosa, owner of La Rosa Works, Sicily Tours and Travel, said to consider staying at a hotel that serves a free breakfast for their guests. “Have more than a coffee,” she said. “For lunch, every town in Sicily has a colorful market. In the big cities they are daily. They are so much fun to walk through and while admiring the incredible produce, you can amass a sack full of fruit, cheese, olives, nuts, and other fresh items to eat for lunch in a local park or green space. Buy a bottle of wine and enjoy the leftovers for an appetizer later.”
Tina Aldatz, CEO of Savvy Travelers also suggests buying bottled water and wine in bulk at a local supermarket before you reach the resort. “It saves a fortune,” she said.
La Rosa also said that if a client wants a five-star experience but only has a three- or four-star budget, she can help. “I am often able to satisfy them in a three- or four-star hotel in an upgraded room; a room with a sea or mountain view or a suite size,” said La Rosa. “It’s a strategy that often works.”
Where you travel to may also help you to save some cash. “Latin America is still a major bargain,” said Kalliecharan. “There are beautiful hotels in Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and more that come at a fraction of the price that you’d pay in the Caribbean.”
If you’re tying the knot on your vacation, consider marrying on a weekday. “There are often savings to be had for destination weddings midweek,” Velez said. “Guests are already taking the time off for the celebration, so take advantage of the cost savings of marrying in the middle of the week. Couples will also enjoy dramatic savings if they continue on to their honeymoon at the same locale. Since they are already on-site, there is the immediate airfare savings, and an all-inclusive resort may offer honeymoon concessions to couples that plan their entire day with them.”
You should have travel insurance just in case, but if you’re traveling with a group, Alan Rosen, vacation.com member and president of Sand & C Travel said that a group travel insurance policy can save you some bucks. “We use a group policy from Travel Insured with as few as 10 people; it’s perfect for friends or family groups that is less expensive and provides better coverage than many other policies,” he said.
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