It’s true what has been said “nothing in life is free”. However, there are a few things to consider if your budget is tight but you still want to include travel in 2009. If you have decided to not “stay local”, then here are the biggest expenditures: airfare, hotel, car rental, and food. That being said, if you are open to new ideas and destinations, plan a trip based on where you can get the biggest discount.
Figure out and round up all of your frequent flyer or reward programs information. Find out if you are eligible for airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, etc. What are you saving them for? You can't line your casket with them!
Look into deals-especially package deals. A lot of reputable companies put together travel packages to save you time and money. They buy the product in bulk (just like buying ten gallons of chicken stock at Costco) and then they pass the savings on to you. Due to the slumping economy, A LOT of hoteliers are offering deep discounts.
Airlines have a myriad of financial issues, so they too are offering great deals to destinations. My particular favorite is the companion ticket - a family of four can save big money if you shop around for them.
Every place in America (and most in the world) have an official tourism bureau. Once you have selected a destination, call the official Convention & Visitors Bureau and ask them “what’s free”. You’d be surprised at the number of activities you and your travel mates can take part in that doesn’t cost one red penny.
Keep an eye on the souvenir purchases. For parents, I always recommend buying their children little notepads and call it their birthday wish list. While on vacation, tell the children to pick out things they would like for their birthday. This is especially helpful at theme parks.
Eat a huge breakfast. Breakfast food is very cheap (for the most part) and it helps cut down on all the snack-food purchases throughout the day. Skip the booze. I love to tip ‘um back just as much as the next guy. But if you are trying to cut down on expenses, then cut out or limit the restaurant alcohol purchases.
I am not suggesting you pitch a tent in the driveway and call it travel, but I do want you to understand that even if you are trying to save a couple of bucks, you can still explore new places (to you) in this world without missing a mortgage payment.
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. As the host of the Emmy award- winning, nationally syndicated television television for PBS and the Create channel, "Beyond Your Backyard," I travel (on average) 25 weeks per year. I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet cool people, experience new places, eat delicious food and work with the best production crew in the world. Hopefully, through this blog, you will join me on my travels and be reminded just how exciting it is to be alive!