Travel Series: Volume 7
You know by now that I love to travel, but did you know I am a serious “Deal Junkie?” It’s like a very clever game where you hunt down the best offers and sometimes stack them to save the most money possible. Whether it is a bag of groceries, a new toaster or an expensive vacation, I do my best to spend as little as possible for the best product that I can get. It excites me. Game On!
I do most of my grocery shopping at Meijer because it is near me and not much else is. They have the MPerks program with digital coupons and a decent reward system. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I use Ibotta and Checkout 51 Rebate apps. Nothing thrills me like being able to buy something on sale, use a digital coupon and get a significant rebate too. Trifecta! It makes me giddy. Now imagine that kind of thinking on a grander scale with travel. Knowing when the vendor offers specials, adding in extra discounts, topping it with BOGO airfare….Bazinga! Win, win, win some more.
While I was picking the brains of my friends, I made sure to talk to Phung who had used a Deal Vendor to book a vacation. Deal Vendors are sites like Groupon and Living Social that offer all different types of items, including travel, at discounted prices. Many bundle airfare and hotels together. You can get some fantastic deals this way. Phung, who had always planned her own travel, was able to grab a great deal on a trip to Greece through the Living Social site. It included her air and her hotel stays. By taking advantage of a Cyber Monday deal, she scored a Me+3=Free offer. That means if she got 3 other people to travel with her, she travels free. She was also able to stack a 15% off (up to $50) on their first Living Social purchase. So the final cost per person with air for 11 nights was $1325. Score!
Now let’s talk about her experience.
- They received vouchers after booking that required them to work with a travel company to make the arrangements. The operator there was very helpful . Although several hotels were listed on the Living Social site, they were not able to choose between them. Instead they were assigned by the travel company based on availability. The good news is they were all clean medium grade hotels. (Uprgrades were available for a fee.)
- Air travel timing was a little clunky with them arriving in Athens well before hotel check in time. The hotel made every effort to get them in earlier and held their luggage while they explored.
- The Advertising listed 11 days – Athens & Greek Islands. In fact two of those days were actually their travel days leaving only 9 days for the trip itself.
The Take Away: She liked having a Tour Company arrange her foreign transportation and lodging as it took away an element of stress from the planning. Although they bought a package, they were given their itinerary and travel vouchers and had the freedom to fill in their days as they liked without being part of a big group. And yes, she would do it again if the deal was right!
Travel Tip: Sign up and follow sites that promote tourism or discount travel so they alert you when there is a great deal available.
Sight Seeing Deals
Hop on Hop Off
I was chatting with my friend Morpha recently about her packing expertise. Somehow, we got on the subject of how using services like Hop On Hop Off can be really economical when seeing a lot of sites in a big city. She suggested that we consider this option when we are in London on our trip in June. We do have days free to explore and there are a LOT of sites to see. Mark and I successfully used Hop on Hop Off in San Antonio on a previous trip and it was perfect for a 1 day, semi independant site seeing adventure. I checked into it and the pricing is really reasonable and it is such a flexible way to explore so many attractions. One of the trips even cruises under the London Bridge at no additional cost.
Travel Tip: Use the free WiFi when on the Hop On Hop Off tour bus in Europe where WiFi is often hard to get.
City Passes work a lot like Hop on Hop Off Tickets. You get a 1-2 day pass to see a number of sites for one price. They usually have multiple offers depending on how many sites you will visit. As you can see below, for this New York City Pass you can choose 3 or 6 attractions. Make your selection based on how much time you will have available.
Check with Hotels you stay with to see if they have discount books for local attractions and look for Lobby displays with brochures that may have coupons attached. I can’t say this enough, if you are willing to invest some time in Research, you can save a ton of money when you travel and get to do everything you want to do. Happy Saving!
PS: You must check out this Blog Post from blog site “Your Mileage May Vary.” This is the coolest idea for planning a vacation. Give it a read!
Next post we talk about Preparing and Packing for your Trip
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