According to a study conducted by a leading credit card provider, one among three Americans are planning to spend about $1,000 per head on their next planned travel, which is close to about $4,000 for a family trip on an average. Considering vacation travel, international tours are a major budget buster for many of the travel enthusiasts; however, modest weekend gateway and road trips also add up quickly if not planned properly. So, no matter what you plan in terms of travel or how long you want to go on a trip, it is essential to know ways to reduce expenses, especially if some debt catches you.
In this article, we are trying to compile the advice from a dozen of travel experts who already dug deep into cost-cutting approaches to travel. Here are those for you to have a look.
Saving money on a vacation
#1. Look for the destinations offering favorable currency exchange rates
It the plan is for an abroad travel trip, then the first thing you can consider is the destinations which offer the most favorable exchange rates. This means the local currencies are comparatively weaker against the U.S. dollar. You may also plan to focus on the countries which are experiencing some momentary economic crackdowns or some conditions putting the value of currency downward.
However, don’t simply rush to take advantage of only the favorable exchange rate even when you are in debt while planning travel. More of less often, the currency devaluation may also be a sign of some deeper problems. For example, for the last several years Mexican peso has largely fallen against US dollar, but primarily due to cartel violence out there. This is not a favorable situation for travelers, even when the currency valuation gives some significant advantages.
A smarter example is that of the travelers who visited Lisbon and Porto in Portugal during the fall of 2016-17 when Euro was left at an all-time low against the US dollar. So, the cost for them was nearly 30% lower compared to the rates at the same time in previous years.
#2. Sign up for the cheap flight alerts
If you are not aiming at a specific destination for your travel plan, then it is ideal to sign up for the cheap flight newsletters which curate all discounted flights to different destinations. There are many options like Scott’s Cheap Flights, which are free newsletters coming every once in a while directly to your inbox with the details of all cheaper flights from your desired destinations to different parts of the world.
The deals on it also list what you can expect for the cheapest flight pricings against the normal fair range and also guidelines as to how you can grab such deals. Sometimes, the special deal’s life span may be a day to a week or so, but the travel date may range many months in the future to the whole next year or so. There is some premium version of such newsletters like Scott’s premium which costs about $39 a year.
You may get some better deals on the premium newsletters. When you are in debt, it is also advisable to get the inputs from providers like National debt relief programs through which many travel package providers may put forth their offers for travelers in debt. This way, it is possible to save a lot on your travel budget. Apart from this, early bird, last-minute offer booking and also booking through third party sites when there are special offers also will help reduce the travel cost.
#3. Research your travel plans in Incognito mode and book
While you scour the websites in incognito mode (browser’s equivalent). This mode, your browser cookies are disabled and fail to identify what your intent is. Without tracking your movements and understanding what you desire for, the travel sites will not be able to take advantage of your intentions and put for the biggest rate. If they don’t know which destinations, hotel, or dates you prefer, then chances are high that they present you the biggest personalized rates.
An alternative to this is the use of a good VPN (virtual private network) application, which help to conceal your online activities and hide your IP (geographical location. It also encrypts your data so that the browser cookies and ISPs don’t get your information and cannot use this data for manipulating their offerings to you. Similar to browsing in incognito mode, VPNs also make it difficult for the travel websites to track your movements.
#4. Negotiate rates directly with hotels and package providers
Most of the travelers still don’t know that they can negotiate with the hotels, restraints, airlines, and rental transport providers directly. You can enjoy better benefits than what the online booking sites and travel agents can offer you in this way. Usually, in case of tourism and travel, the rates of these third parties are higher up to 20 to 30%, which you can save by putting a bit more effort to reach to the providers and try for better rates.
Nowadays, many hotels implore customers to make the booking directly. Through this option, you can avoid the hard-nosed negotiators in between who escalate their margins if you are not so keen about getting the best rates or take time to research on this matter. So, rather than accepting all online prices for face value, you can use those as a starting point while booking hotel rooms or flights.
So, rather than accepting all the listed prices for face value, you use them as a reference point to compare the cost and try to negotiate over it smartly. You may feel free to call the locations directly to request price quotes based on your personal needs. Airlines may seem to be much more bureaucratic, so one needs to have a bit of good luck too to negotiate directly to the providers than through the booking agents.
To conclude, it is seen that many tend to postpone or cancel their travel plans as their debts pose a financial concern, and they fear traveling may add more to it. However, plan properly and save cost wherever you can ultimately make all your travel plans come true, that too without tampering your financial status and credit scores.