Tips to Save You Thousands on Vacation
I have to admit it's my toughest conundrum, organizing and planning my family's vacation in a luxurious and exotic location without breaking the bank. Through my worldwide travel experiences..... some that actually broke the bank, I've created a complete list, with the help of 5 expert hospitality owners, on how to save you THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS ON VACATION! Yup... I mean thousands, just follow my simple tips below.
For statistical purposes I've used a four bedroom accommodation with four people as an example, if you are booking a one bedroom condo the savings will be less, but none the less, following these simple steps can result in significant savings.
1. SAVE MONEY ON TRANSPORTATION
Choose an exotic destination that is easy to get to by car, train, or plane. Taking the time to follow this extra step to investigate travel costs at the outset, which can save you hundreds of dollars. Direct flights are less expensive than connecting flight routes. Find your ideal vacation location fairly close to your home or at the very least near the country's mainland where you can find flights at a fraction of the price or better yet drive.
A flight from New York to Tampa, Florida is $350
A flight from New York to Eleuthera, Bahamas is $550
2. TRAVEL OFF SEASON
This may be easier said than done due to work and kid's school schedules but it warrants mentioning. Shoulder season months, like May, September, October, November are still steaming hot in the Southern USA, at the same time hospitality rates plummet. Try your very best to carve out some vacation time during off season to save you a lot of money. This is the step that will probably save you the most and we are talking thousands!
Four Bedroom Luxury Vacation Rental - Anna Maria Island, Florida
March rental rates $3600
September rental rates $2375
3. TRAVEL LAST MINUTE
Granted this is not for the faint of heart and requires more effort to investigate and find those last minute deals, but the savings are tremendous.
Nancy McAleer, a vacation rental homeowner for over 5 years
Anna Maria Island in Central Gulf Coast of Florida
"My tip to the best way to get your hands on a last minute deal are to sign up for newsletters with your favourite accommodation. Many times last minute deals are offered to VIP MEMBERS, occasionally at further reduced rates. Alternatively, you can set yourself up for a Google Alert."
SIGN UP TO BECOME AN ANNA MARIA ISLAND, FLORIDA ~ VIP MEMBER
Enter your name and e-mail in the fields and press enter
Newsletters arrive about once a month
HOW TO CREATE A GOOGLE ALERT
Visit Google Alerts page
In the box: "Create an alert about", enter the words you want to get email notifications for (ie: Last, Minute, Deals, Anna Maria Island).
Click Show options to set the frequency or your alerts, what types of results you want to receive, and more.
Click Create Alert.
Once your alert is set up, you'll start getting emails anytime Google finds new results for your keywords.
Four Star Accommodations - Florida
Average annual rate for 4 bedroom rental - Low Season $2375
Average rate for 4 bedroom rental - Last Minute Deal $1699
4. BOOK A VACATION RENTAL vs HOTEL
Sirenia Beach House
This should go without saying, check out the vacation rental options wherever you travel versus staying in a hotel. it's way more economical to rent a home versus a resort or hotel. You also garner savings by avoiding extra hotel amenity fees and savings from dining in, AND it’s a definite plus when you don’t have to share the pool with others!
"Many vacation rentals have amenities that rival hotel resorts AND there are no added fees to enjoy them all! Although some hotels charge for amenities like valet parking, Wi-Fi and arcade games, etc.... most vacation rentals include those and many others for free. Four Seasons Lodge offers a private INDOOR Swimming Pool, large sauna, foosball table, karaoke machine, free Wi-Fi, flat screen TV's, huge private patio, tons of free parking, and basketball hoop"
Four Star Accommodations - Florida
Vacation Rental average rate for 4 bedrooms for 1 week $2900
Hotel average rate for 4 bedrooms for 1 week $8700*
5. PAY BY CREDIT CARD TO COVER FRAUD
When booking a vacation rental it does pay to take the extra steps to ensure you are booking with a reputable and trusted owner, but in the event, you skip this step DO pay with a credit card that covers fraud.
"Most booking sites are suggesting that it is safer to book through them, but did you know that when you use your credit card to pay for a vacation rental, you are covered for any form of fraud and misrepresentation by your card provider? "
Check your credit card for details before booking.
A Savings of your entire accommodation value in the event of fraud
6. BOOK LONGER STAYS FOR DISCOUNTS
If you can afford to take the time off, try booking a longer stay to leverage a larger discount. Owners often prefer long term guests because they don't have to 'manage you' as you become familiar with the home and they incur fewer administration fees for one reservation versus four or more. Long term stay discounts are usually offered for 3 - 4 week stays or longer and can garner you anywhere from 10 - 25% depending on the rate and location. Note: not all owners offer long term discounts.
*ave. month stay
7. COMMUNICATE YOUR VACATION GOALS
Simply communicating your vacation goals to the hospitality owner will help you save big bucks! On a recent trip to Orlando, I mentioned to a friend who also happens to be a Disney vacation rental owner, that we were celebrating our child's birthday at Universal Studios. She was so incredibly helpful with Insider Tips from presenting ourselves to the park, where to go, to what secrets to find. My daughter ended up getting free food and special treatment throughout the amusement park. Best of all she felt like a superstar.
DO ask the owner if they have any affiliate networks that may offer discounts for sports equipment rentals, baby rentals, and tours. You could save up to 10%!