Monday, March 24, 2014

Mini-Vacations Not "Nay-cations" - Seven Money-saving Travel Tips

Just read an article telling the reader that 2009 will be the year of "nay-cations". He listed nine reasons why Americans will say NO to travel, among them: the economy, the hassle, and the added costs/fees/surcharges. I'd like to disagree.

Of course, we feel like most of you. Air travel is a complete hassle, from security and baggage fees, lousy or no food, to delayed or cancelled flights. Given a choice (anything less than coast-to-coast!), we drive. BUT ...

Giving up vacations is like giving up chocolate. No matter how tough life gets, we still need to reward ourselves with things to look forward to ... things to enjoy. According to experts, travel is important for a healthy lifestyle. Travel renews and refreshes you - spirit, mind, and body.

We still plan to vacation. They'll be shorter, but perhaps more often. Mini-vacations - anything from a day's outing to a multi-day get-away means a break from our daily routine. These shorter trips give us something to look forward to, and we plan them with enthusiasm. We suggest you do the same.

There are still plenty of bargains out there. Here are some quick tips:

1. Travel off or shoulder season. Prices are much more reasonable and the crowds are smaller.

2. Find lesser-known destinations. Instead of the beach, head inland. Avoid the bigger resort areas. Staying a few miles away often includes similar amenities without the price tag.

3. Ask for package plans. Often, hotels can include attraction tickets, some meals, and other amenities with a three- or four-night stay. Some even offer free nights or discounted rooms. Travel sites discount air/hotel packages when booked at the same time.

4. Be flexible. Check your travel dates with your transportation carrier and hotel. Flights are generally less expensive mid-week. Hotels offer better rates when they have multiple empty rooms.
5. Take advantage of discounts. If you're a member of AAA or other organization, flaunt it. Use those hotel reward plans ... and your credit card points to save money.

6. Look for last-minute travel deals. Hotels, cruises and resorts offer deep discounts when faced with empty rooms. The same goes for tour operators and all-inclusives.

7. Do something different. Stay at a Bed&Breakfast, spend a day or more at a dude ranch, go camping, rent a cottage on a lake. There are plenty of bargains out there, so explore your options!

One benefit of travel is anticipation. Don't deny yourself. Take the opportunity to step away from the pressures of everyday life. Plan shorter trips ... more often! Mini-vacations are the new vacation style. They're sure to be more popular in 2009 than "nay-cations".

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