Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ways to Save on Travel

Well, at midnight we are off to Costa Rica. I was a travel agent for 10 years and hope to pass along a few suggestions to help you save money on travel:

Sometimes packages including air, hotel and transfers are cheaper than an air ticket! It would have cost us more for this trip to buy air only. These work especially well if you plan to travel for 7 or 14 days.

Just because you choose to stay at an all inclusive does not mean you should eat all your meals there. Shocker but some of the best holidays include local restaurants. Set aside a little in your budget for a dinner out. Browsing forums you will be able to find good memorable restaurants in your budget.

Find out departure taxes and fees before you go. Yes, some countries ask for a departure tax. Most are included in the airline taxes, but some like Costa Rica you pay before they let you on the plane home ($26 usd per person)

Consider renting a car for one day. You could end up saving money over buying a local tour that includes transportation. Make sure it is in a country that is reliable to rent in (Costa Rica is). Some countries are financially safe to rent in but you take your life in your hands (Greece comes to mind).

Take some snacks with you - for the plane, airport and to store in your hotel room. You will save loads not buying things at the airport.

Plan ahead, buy things like suntan lotion and bug spray to take with you as often in tourist locales you could be charged double the price.

Make sure no matter what your budget is you read reviews of your hotel before booking at We ended booking a 3 star all inclusive as it is the highest rated and closest to town (versus being in the jungle at a 4 star and no towns within 45 minutes - unless that is the holiday you want).

Pack in your carry on: anything that you would need to survive a week. Ours: swimsuit, 1 pair underwear, extra pair shorts, extra shirt & all medications. I could live for a week without my blowdryer but no bathing suit would wreck my holiday. I always take earplugs just in case the hotel turns out to be noisier than you are used to.

If travelling locally and not flying check the local State or Province tourism bureau for deals on hotels and camping. Make use of any organizations such as CAA you belong too and don't be shy about asking for discounts.

The best package charter deals often occur within two months of travel. Booking further out may guarantee you a spot but not the best price. If you just have to be somewhere on a certain date or a certain hotel then book early so as not to be disappointed.

***Most important tip: Carry appropriate travel insurance, particularly medical if going out of State or Province, even within your own country. I know of someone who had medical issues in Las Vegas and the bill came to $400,000 for twelve days of hospitalization. Fortunately she survived and even better, her travel insurance which she paid $45 ended up paying the ENTIRE bill. Review your policy carefully before purchasing.

Chow for now and back in a week with loads of Costa Rica photos!

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