There are so many ways to save money on travel that I wrote a comprehensive reference, The Encyclopedia of Cheap Travel: Save Up to 90% on Lodging, Flights, Tours, Cruises, and More!
The book addresses every aspect of travel so it covers alot of ground. Here are just a few money-saving tips and resources that you’ll find in this book:
1. TOURS: Use a tour operator that specializes in budget travel, such as Gate 1 (http://www.gate1travel.com/) and SmartTours (http://www.smartours.com/). I’ve found little difference between tour packages offered by these companies and other tour operators that charge much more—except for the BIG savings! (Chapter Two has dozens of listings for everything from general sightseeing to safaris).
2. TRAVEL TIP: Travel during the low or off season to save from 40 – 70 percent. The best part is that the crowds are minimal! Off season is usually September 15 – December 15, excluding Thanksgiving. Low season is January 5 until Easter (March or April).
High seasons runs from Easter until mid-September. For some U.S. destinations, high season doesn’t begin until June 15. High season rates also apply mid-December until early January, due to the holidays.
Off season is winter in Europe and Asia, early fall in the Caribbean, and winter in Australia and other Southern Hemisphere destinations. There are companies that specialize in low and off season travel, such as http://www.offpeaktraveler.com/ (See page 26)
3. RESORT VACATIONS: For those looking for reasonable resort stays, book all-inclusive resorts. The cost for all-inclusive may be higher in initial comparison, but in the end you’ll save a lot of $$$ not buying beverages, tipping, meals, fun activities, etc.
The best bargains for exotic resort vacations are often found in the “other Americas,”Asia, and the South Pacific. In Latin America, bargains can be found in Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Belize. In Asia, look for deals to Vietnam, India, Bali, and Thailand. In the South Pacific, Fiji, Moorea, Tahiti, Australia, and New Zealand. One of many resources found in the book is http://www.resortvacationstogo.com/.
(Information on resort deals, including ski resorts, can be found in Chapters Two, Three, and Six).
4. TRAVEL TIP: Watch out for hidden costs. These are things that destroy a budget, such as port charges, alcoholic beverages, meals, optional tours, sightseeing admission fees, airport taxes, luggage fees, airline ancillary fees, parking, cab rides, shuttle flights, tips, etc. Find out if you should buy trip insurance and what you must know about currency conversion and exchange rates and using a credit card overseas. Chapters One and Eight.
5. CRUISES: Use a cruise travel specialist or consolidator when booking a cruise or at least read Chapter Five. The cruise industry is very complicated and getting the best deals comes down to your knowledge of the cruise industry. For instance, did you know that there are 35 different rates for the same cabin? Do you know how many cruise line categories there are? Do you know the difference between a medium and a mega-sized ship? A travel agent who specializes in cruises knows these things and much more. You need to know before you go!
6. LOOKING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT? Get ideas for unusual adventures, such as staying at an underwater lodge or a treetop resort or an igloo or go to space camp! Learn about singles trips, women only adventures, senior tours, eco-adventures, learning vacations, spa vacations, untours, and more. (This information is found throughout the book).
7. LODGING: Sign up to receive great travel deals, such as five star lodging at three star prices with http://www.sniqueaway.com/. The book includes sites to sign up for cheap eats, cheap lodging, cheap flights, cheap cruises, cheap tours, and more.
8. RAIL TRAVEL: Trains are the best way to travel throughout Europe. Eurail’s Select Pass is the best deal for most travelers. See Chapter Three for more information on train travel worldwide.
9. TRAVEL PLANNING: Take the Traveler Profile Quiz in Chapter One to find out what kind of traveler you really are. You might be surprised!
10. AIRFARES: There is a little known website that lets travelers know when airfares will go up or down. So you’ll know if you should jump on the fare you just found or wait for a better deal! (See p.87). Find out how social media and apps can make save you money and make your life easier while traveling.