Ok, so portfolios are shrinking, but we still love to travel and school vacations still linger on the horizon. So, how do you travel in style without breaking the bank?
This summer we were deciding between two destinations, a family-oriented lake resort within driving distance (a huge savings when flying with six!) and a posh resort in Turks and Caicos. For the same cost, we went to the Caribbean and here’s how.We took advantage of off-season pricing. It was high season at the lake and low season in the Caribbean. Also, because it was off-season, we were finally able to use those airline miles that are non-usable during high season. Then, we made sure the villa had a kitchen, to reduce food cost while keeping meals easy.
Here are five tips for keeping the luxury while cutting the cost:
Big Ticket Items: Rather than skimping here and there, look to reduce or eliminate one of the major costs to free up funds. For us, that means lodging, airfare, car rental and food. To reduce food cost and increase ease, look for lodging where food is included or the rooms have kitchens.
Flights: Try Fare Compare. Set your desired air route, then Fare Compare emails you before the discount is posted, allowing you to grab those limited discount seats. Also, most airlines offer lower prices when you shop Monday through Wednesday. Finally, try different airports.Although driving a bit further can be hard with small kids, the cost savings may be worth it.
Look for specials: There are amazing deals to be found, but on more unusual trips, especially if your dates are flexible. Keep your eyes open and be ready to pull the trigger. Also, when booking, don’t be afraid to ask for a discounted rates or upgrades. Ciao Bambino simplifies this process with requests that go directly to the property, allowing you to ask for the best promotions.
Time to explore your region: If faraway destinations are too much right now, take this opportunity to play tourist in your own region. Think about accessing your local cities, where weekend rates often drop and you can soak in some culture. It can feel like a getaway, at a much lower cost.
Strong Dollar: Head to where your currency is strong. The US dollar is still faring well in parts of Asia, Africa, Central America and South America, and gaining ground daily in Europe.
As a follow-up, New York times had a great article this weekend on this same topic, “Seasons Greetings.” It’s worth a read!