Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wanna get away?


With the cold and rainy weekend we just had, it’s hard to believe that the Spring and Summer months are just around the corner. And along with that come planning vacations and road trips alike. Vacations are what we work so hard for during the year. Here are some tips & suggestions that will help prevent the current economic climate from putting a damper on the beautiful weather ahead.

1. Ask the pros- with all the hand held devices out there equipped with WIFI and too many G’s to keep track of you can literally be researching your next vacation while sitting at a drive thru at a fast food restaurant. But the DIY (do-it-yourself) approach isn’t always the most prudent way to go. Sometimes planning your vacation through a certified travel agent can present options that you never knew existed. Especially when traveling abroad. Using a travel agent can be the best way to customize your overall experience, while cutting through all the red tape and providing some invaluable advice and guidance along the way. It can save time and add value for an often, surprisingly reasonable fee. Check with your credit card company, some may provide a similar service that is built into the annual fees of the card.

2. The all inclusive deal- when it comes to traveling the “less is more” philosophy is usually reserved for soul searchers trying to find themselves by back-packing through Europe while, throwing both caution and personal hygiene to the wind. For those of us who left those days behind after we graduated college the “Package Deal” is often a cost saving and convenient way to travel. Bundling all of your major expenses such as flight, lodging, rental car and even food and activities often costs less than paying for each item individually. Top travel sites like Orbitz and Expedia often let you tailor your vacation right down to your scuba gear and massage treatments. This method will give you a grand total to work with and will help minimize any surprises.

3. There's no place like home- sure everyone wants to stay at a 4 star hotel, but staying at one for an extended period of time can leave you with a 4 figure bill as well. Paying considerably less for a house or apartment with kitchen amenities can not only save you money on lodging, but will save you money on food as well. Preparing your own breakfast or lunch and treating yourself to a nice dinner out can be a lot more forgiving on the wallet than ordering room service or dining out for all 3 squares. Home exchanges have become more and more popular with sites like craigslist and homeexchange.com

4. Hit the road- some of us don’t have to travel very far to escape the daily grind. Even with gas prices at an all time high for the month of February taking a road trip could be just what the doctor ordered. Take the scenic route where you can. Road trips are designed to have a little bit of the vacation built into the journey itself. Bring plenty of snacks and even more good music. My plan for my next “mini” vacation is to take a day trip to Santa Barbara. A seed that was planted when one of my best friends was generous enough to offer me his very nice Porsche for the day. Stay tuned…

5. Get insured- an added expense (roughly 5% of the total cost) that is well worth the piece of mind that it provides. A few years ago, my mother had planned an epic 3 week trip through Europe and had fallen ill just one week prior to her departure. Had she not opted for the insurance she would’ve been out almost ten thousand bucks. There are three categories of coverage when it comes to insuring your trip: 1) Trip cancellation/interruption 2) personal belongings coverage 3) Health insurance (in the event that your current medical coverage does not cover you abroad. Again, check with your credit card company to see if any of these insurance options are built into the benefits of the card.

**A special thanks to Jordan Rane-Travel writer at large and an all around good guy**

3 comments:

  1. ooh, i can't wait for the day when we actually need these tips! the thought of a holiday away seems a bit out of reach right now, we don't even see each other given our schedules! but this post will definitely come in handy when we're finally able to plan a trip...thanks for the info!

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  2. Ahhh...remember when we all went to Hawaii, seems like ages ago. What great time we all had. Gotta make that happen again soon.

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  3. seriously. who can even remember those carefree days and that awesome hike we took to that hidden beach? an episode of "lost" feels more real!

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