By Christina VanGinkel
Finding deals on vacations can hinge on myriad details. When you book, your age (senior or student), time of year, and more can all have a bearing on if you can find a deal, and how big a deal it will be. With the rising cost of fuel affecting everything from the drive to your destination to the cost of your airline ticket, finding a way to save money on the overall cost is more important than ever. No one wants to give up their annual vacation, or especially a once in a lifetime getaway because of rising costs, and no should have to. There are deals to be had, with some of them obviously blatant, and others just waiting to be found.
If you belong to any particular, type of organization, such as AARP, SAMS Club, or have a credit card that allows you to accumulate points that can be traded in toward the cost of hotel nights or airline tickets, be sure to use them. These deals can often add up to bigger savings than we realize. Some hotels offer discounts through programs they create, such as the Choice Privileges Reward Program. You accumulate points by staying in their hotels, which can then be traded in for free stays. One free night of a three-night stay is a significant savings.
Online avenues such as Hotwire often have last minute travel discounts available at deep discounts. These might not be good if you need to plan in advance, but if you suddenly find yourself with some extra time and some extra dollars, they might be the magical mix needed to use some of the deals that can be quick to expire.
Planning a group vacation can often net big bargains. The type of group is rarely an issue. It could be a church group, a book club group, even a family group, or a group of co-workers as a long as everyone wants to go to the same destination. Keep in mind that just because you go to a destination as a group does not always mean you must spend the whole time together. Many groups book the travel and hotels together, but everyone is more or less on their own when they arrive. Other groups may also net discounts on attractions, such as tickets to shows, but still spend a large part of the vacation enjoying quiet leisure time. Others may plan to do everything together as a group. Having the details all spelled about before traveling though, can be a good way to avoid confusion and hard feelings, so consider the details. The discounts can be had by being able to provide more business for the destination. For example, if you phone up the hotel you would like to stay at, and ask the rate on a room, then tell them that you would like to know what they could offer you per room if you were to reserve ten rooms instead of the one, you might be pleasantly surprised at the discount they will be able to offer you. Hotels often end each day with empty rooms, so if you can bring in more business by coming as a group, they are often more than willing to share some of the extra funds with you through discounts on the rooms you are renting.
If you have always dreamed of going somewhere in particular, but the cost seems blatantly out of your reach, consider the time of year that you plan to travel. While traveling in the off-season to some destinations will not make sense, other destinations really do not matter. The off-season may even mean less crowds and more leisurely activities than during the peak season, not to mention discounts on everything from lodging to airfare.
Coupon books are another option that can save you big on meals and activities, often the two most expensive parts of any vacation. You can often request these from the tourism bureau of your destination, or websites affiliated with the destination. The Wisconsin Dells is a huge Waterpark vacation spot, made up of many different hotels and activities. You can often find discount coupons for many of the attractions online. Many of the businesses use the books and coupons as a form of advertisement and in return offer the user discounts that can really add up.
If traveling as a family, a hotel that offers free breakfast and allows kids to stay free, can add up to big savings. Breakfast for a family of four can easily cost thirty dollars or more a day. To start each day with this as money saved is always a good deal.