Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"5 Tips on How to Get Cheap Travel Packages"

The travel industry is an extremely fast moving one, and, as anyone who is familiar with booking flights or making reservations knows, prices vary widely. Some price fluctuation is for obvious, seasonal reasons; while at other times it seems that fares and fees change for no reason at all. Here some tips on discount travel:

The Direct Route Isn't Always the Cheapest

In many cases there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how airfares work. There are seasonal changes, time of day changes, variations depending on demand, and then what seems like changes for no reason at all. When searching for discount airfares, look at alternate routes to get where you want to go. In many cases, a combination of 2 flights can be cheaper than one flight.

This usually works by taking advantage of very cheap domestic flights within the USA. For example, a return flight from New York to Montreal, Canada, which is a trip just over an hour, usually costs around $300. For the roughly the same price you can find return flight from New York to Los Angeles. The point is that for reasons have to do with traffic, regulations, and taxes, domestic flights are radically cheaper then international ones, mile for mile.

So depending where you want to go, you may find your airfare is much cheaper if you're willing to make a domestic flight first, before switching to an international one. If you live in the northern United States, for example, and want to go to Latin or South America, it will often be much cheaper to first take a domestic flight to a southern hub like Miami or Dallas and then fly further south from there, as opposed to taking a long flight directly from a northern city. When exploring multiple flights, also keep in mind how close you are to a major airline hub - it will be much more expensive to fly internationally directly from a smaller city then to fly to a major hub first.

In many cases if you're willing to put up with the slight inconvenience of two flights, discount travel can be yours. Just remember that as it stands most discount flight websites don't search for flights in this way, so you'll have to do some creative thinking on your own.

Eat Locally

An often overlooked key to discount travel is food costs, which can be drastically reduced by shopping in local supermarkets rather than dining out. Most places you stay will take advantage of tourists as much as possible, and you often don't realize until you do some currency conversion that you're paying $10 for a bad breakfast at your hotel. Instead, buy some healthy snakes and fresh food from a market to eat during your outings. This doesn't mean, of course, that you have to cook - it just means you should grab something fresh that you can eat on the go instead of stopping for lunch at a touristy restaurant.

When you do eat out, you'll save a lot of money by dining on truly local cuisine. Besides making for a more interesting cultural experience, the food the locals eat will be much cheaper, and most of the time better. American style food - especially when it is quite different from a country's normal dining fare - will always cost a premium, and if you can't expand your dining tastes you will pay for it.

To achieve discount travel through food savings, especially when you are in a second world country, look to where the locals eat. Relatively, they don't have nearly as much money as you, so you can safely assume that the restaurants in which the locals dine will be not only more authentic but much cheaper. Avoid restaurants and grocery stores filled with tourists, and selling North American food and produce.

Look Into Renting an Apartment

If you're considering a long stay in a city, look into renting an apartment. This is usually much cheaper than even the cheapest of hostels, and is a tried and tested method of those interested in discount travel. Many countries that receive an influx of North American tourists have a cottage industry of people renting their apartments for a short time.

Unlike North America, where it is difficult to rent an apartment for less than a few months, in many foreign countries you'll find apartments for rent for times that are as short as 2 weeks. Even the cheapest of hotel accommodations is likely going to be more expensive than a short term apartment rental.

Renting an apartment also helps you in other ways. Firstly, you're likely going to become more immersed in the foreign culture by not staying in a hotel or touristy area. Secondly, you will presumably be able to cook in the apartment, which will give you a radical savings on food costs.

Sometimes you'll find apartments that are rented specifically to those interested in discount travel, which will come with basic necessities. But you should also look around for locals who are looking to make a bit of money while they are out of town. In this case, you're likely to have a more enjoyable experience as the apartment will be more nicely furnished and lived-in.

Whatever apartment you choose, if you're interested in discount travel and plan on staying in a city for more than a few weeks, renting an apartment is almost certainly the way to go.

Be Flexible

This is probably the most important concept overall in terms of discount travel. The entire travel industry is basically geared towards charging people for comfort and convince and if there are a lot of particular things that you want to do and see you will no doubt spend more money while traveling.

If you're willing to be more flexible, however -- if you're willing to be more interested in traveling to, say, "South America" as opposed to a particular country in South America, you'll be privy to massive savings. While, granted, not everyone is in a position to do this, if you can be flexible and open to new things in regards to your destinations you have the option of taking whatever is cheap, and you will often save lots of money.

Discount travel doesn't end with the flight, however. Once you arrive, do your best not to be picky, and remind yourself that you're probably going to pay for every bit of inflexibility on your part. Every country you go to will present you with certain choices that are much cheaper then others. Perhaps you'll find that beef is a fraction of the cost of chicken when dining out, for example. Now you may much prefer chicken, but if you're willing to put that aside, you'll save a lot of money. The same goes for drink: in much of South America, rum will be ridiculously cheap, while other types of alcohol will be relatively expensive - maybe you don't particularly like rum, but if you're interested in discount travel, you do when you're in south America.

By basically sticking to a "when in Rome, do as the Romans" idea with your tastes, you will make your trip much more affordable. And if you're willing to be flexible enough that you want to take a trip as opposed to a particular trip, you will find your travel is heavily discounted.

Stay Put

When you travel, the most expensive part of your trip is usually just that: travel. This doesn't mean simply the flight to your destination, but also the traveling you want to do once you get there. Bus trips, car rentals and train tickets will always be relatively expensive, and when you're on the go you also tend to spend more on food and accommodation.

Many travelers arrive in a foreign land with a long inflexible itinerary of things they want to do and places they want to see that has them on busses and trains nonstop. In terms of discount travel, consider the value of staying put for while. Not only you will experience huge savings on transportation and accommodation, but there's a good chance you'll have a more interesting and valuable experience.

Although it is tempting to try and see as much as possible in a foreign country, if you are constantly moving, and in particular if you are constantly moving in touristy areas, its unlikely you'll get a good sense of what the country is like. If you stay in once place for while, though - let's say you rent an apartment for a few weeks in a city - you're going to get a better sense of what it's like to live there. You can experience the culture a bit more, meet some locals, dine in local restaurants etc. . .

Besides saving you money, staying put will also allow you to avoid what many people get sucked into when traveling: being constantly on the go. Ask yourself if you really want to spend your trip sitting on busses and trains, and never staying in the same place two nights in a row. Not only is there a good chance your trip will be more enjoyable when you stay put, but it's guaranteed that you will save a lot of money.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Travel Tips

There are common sense travel tips, like "Check at least three web sites to get the best deal on plane tickets." Then there are the tips that are more along the line of "secrets." These are the little-known tricks learned by experience. Here are some of the best of those.

Cheap Travel Tips

Find out where local visitors from within the country stay. The cheapest "tourist hotel" I could find when in a resort town in Mexico was $135. I asked a local businessman where to find a cheap room, and got one for $10. There wasn't a swimming pool, but the room was spotless. I was there to travel, not to lounge, so this suited me fine.

Negotiating room charges is common in many countries. In Banos, Ecuador, we negotiated our room rate down from $12 to $6 per night, by paying for several nights in advance. The trick here is to be sure that there are other options, then make your final offer and walk away. Most owners will call you back and lower the price.

Consider hostels, if you don't mind sharing a room. They're much more common overseas. This saves you a lot if you are single, because you pay for the bed. I once spent four days in a hostel for $4 per day, breakfast included. I shared a room with several others, and a TV room with travelers from 16 countries.

Hotels in the U.S. are less likely to negotiate, but we have done it. Most small chain motels are not company-owned, but franchises, so it is usually the owner behind the counter. Paying for several nights in advance, or just starting to walk away, has resulted in discounts for us many times.

Travel is often only as cheap as your plane tickets. For international travel, search the fares to several countries that you would like to visit. Go to the cheapest one now - the others will be cheap another time, and a savings of $500 can buy a few extra days, or an extra mini-vacation some other time.

Anywhere you go, there are things you can do to keep it cheaper. Eat where locals eat, for example, instead of at tourist restaurants. See the free and cheap attractions first. You might have so much fun that you'll never get around to doing the expensive things. Higher prices mean better quality with travel bags, but not necessarily with travel experiences.

Other Travel Tips

E-mail important documents to yourself. These should include a copy of your passport, other IDs, phone numbers of the U.S. Consulate offices where you'll be, and your itinerary or e-tickets for any flights. In this way, even if you are robbed and lose everything, you'll have access to all the important documents from any internet cafe in the world.

On a streetcar, I once had a pocket unzipped and the wallet removed without feeling a thing. Many pickpockets are experts. Fortunately, it was a "decoy" wallet, with nothing but a few pieces of paper, and a fake credit card. Other ways to protect money, cards and documents include putting a bill or two under the inner sole of running shoes, safety-pinning a hidden pocket inside your pants, and hiding cash in several different places.

I see young travelers in other countries walking anywhere they feel like it at night, and then being shocked that they are robbed. Aren't there places in New York or Chicago where you wouldn't walk at night? Ask the locals where it is safe and where it isn't, and trust your intuition when it warns you. Leave expensive clothing and jewelry at the hotel when you are just out for a walk. Safety tricks are the most important travel tips.

10 Travel Tips

Notify Family, Friends and Relatives Before leaving on holiday, make sure that you give all travel information to your family and close friends. If anything should happen while travelling, multiple people know where you are and have a better chance of getting a hold of you and others who might need to reach you. Prepare photocopies of your passport, airline tickets, accommodation booking form. It might also help if you leave telephone numbers of where you are stopping just in case anyone needs to get in touch with you urgently. Do you have a valid Visa and/or passport? ALWAYS check your passport and ensure that you renew your visa or apply for one before departing. Make sure your passport does not expire within 6 months of your date of travel. A large majority of countries insist that your passport be valid for at least that time period or a year. Make a copy, in case you lose it while on vacation, you can send the copy to your Embassy. E111 Medical form. Still thousands of UK holidaymakers go on holiday without getting a signed E111 form from your local medical practitioner. This form is free and means that whilst you are in a country which is a member of the European community you will receive free or subsidised medical treatment. Be warned through this does not mean you are covered for return flights, transfers from destination to hospital, and pharmacy costs. Travel Insurance Millions of holidaymakers worldwide go on holiday WITHOUT travel insurance. How crazy can you people be, for the sake of completing a quick form, or telephone conversation you can be covered for any event whilst on holiday. It is so important that people get back in to the habit of buying travel insurance. The decline in holidaymakers taking out insurance is due to the increase in independent travelling, many UK travel agents insisted that you took out travel insurance as part of your booking. Confirm your Reservations Be sure your airline tickets and vacation rental booking is confirmed, otherwise you may have an unpleasant experience if the owners of the property are out of the country and have not left the keys. Visit the airport website, or if you are in the UK look on ceefax, or teletext for the latest flight departures and arrivals from UK airports to find if your plane is on time, back that up with a telephone conversation with the airline. Location of the Vacation Rental When making your booking, you may want to find out if the property is located near a hospital, chemist, police station etc. These services are great in an emergency, and it's always good to know your way around before you arrive. You will find that most owners will have some literature about local doctors, chemists etc you never know what may happen whilst on holiday. Buy a Destination Guide / Language dictionary. Get yourself some travel books to know all the best spots, cheapest restaurants, best food, and hundreds of insights about your destination. You may want to write down some notes from the travel book relevant to the area you are visiting rather than taking the entire book with you to cut down on weight. Most importantly get a language translation dictionary and carry it with you. Learn a few essential terms in the native language of the country you are travelling to. People will appreciate and be a lot more helpful if you at least make an effort, it can also help you in an emergency. Luggage Advice Place photocopies of your identification in your luggage to help your airline or cruise ship to return it if lost while travelling. Another good idea is to get some masking, insulation tape or stickers and put it all over the suitcase, the worst start to a holiday would be to loose your luggage or get it taken by accident because its identical to another holidaymakers. Use your own padlocks instead of the padlocks supplied with suitcases. It is usually safer. Remember to keep the key(s) in your carry-on luggage., don't do what I did and leave the keys in the suitcase! Photocopy your Identifying Documents Photocopy all documents and cards and store it in a secret place in your suitcase. If your wallet is ever stolen, you will know exactly what you have lost and will have all the telephone numbers to call to cancel credit cards and the credit card numbers, etc. at your fingertips. Or instead of photocopying all your important documents and carrying them with you, you can scan everything and email the images to your email account or family and friends as attachments. Airport Transfers Don't forget to try and arrange your transfer to the vacation property before you set off. Worse thing that can happen is that it's 11pm, and there's no buses, and you have to pay a fortune for a hour drive to your accommodation. Most owners will have a contact for airport transfers, or there own management company will pick you up, there's a charge, but it's certainly cheaper than local taxi companies... it's also safer. Cash Safety. Think of this scenario. You've just got to your hotel, and you see a nice bar over the road, you go to your pocket to get all of your foreign currency, and it's not there! Your in a strange country, with a strange language and it's your first day on a holiday you've been paying for all year. Please remember travellers cheques, order them before you go and you will not be in this scenario. This article is not written to scare you but to put your mind on the important issues you will face when booking and organising your next vacation rental holiday. The best holidays I have had are ones where I have organised them myself. Have fun.. but more importantly... BE SAFE!

Accommodation Travel Tips


Do a hotel research on the net looking not only for the cheapest rates but also considering the amenities and services provided, location, possible references from other people. Travel guidebooks can also be very helpful for choosing the hotel that suits you best. Be as much flexible with your trip schedule as possible. For example, business class hotels often have lower weekend rates.

As soon as you reserved the room(s) online, document all information about the hotel(s). The easiest way is to print out the whole page off your computer screen so you will have a clear statement that you can use as evidence in case of misplacing or incorrectly entering your information by a hotel clerk. Take a copy with you, make another one for your relatives so they will know when and where you are going to stay so they can contact you in emergency cases.


Learn the proper check-in and check-out times. Confirm the amenities and services the hotel provides. Ask for directions, a local map. Get a card with the hotel's name, address and phone number so you can show it to a taxi driver or a passer-by in the street if you get lost.

Some hotels may provide extra services that you may not know about unless you ask for it:

- laundry service,

- hair dryers,

- voltage converters/ adaptors,

- newspaper service,

- complementary meals,

- access to fax machine, copier, printer, computer, Internet connection,

- cable TV, rental movies, video games,

- portable beds, baby cribs,

- complementary shuttle service to airport,

- rental safe for your money, jewellery, documents,

- telephone access charges,

- fees for using mini-bar,

- guided tours, excursions.


Safety should be a priority for everybody and you have to take some precautions. We devoted a whole separate page to travel safety including hotel safety measures so we will skip this part here. When you go out for the day, leave your key at the reception desk. Confirm closing time. Some hotels do lock up at night and you're expected to keep the key if you stay out late.


Check out your room for left-behind items. If you need extra time for staying over the regular check-out time (usually it ranges from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m), make a request in advance or the hotel may charge you an additional night.

Review the hotel bill making sure that all charges are accurate.

We wish you a successful and safe trip!

A Game Plan For Travel Plans

When making travel plans, it is important to strive for those plans that are beneficial to your trip and to your pocketbook. In order to provide you with a little help in planning your travel plans, we have put together a few detailed items we find to be valuable. By using these tricks of the trade, you can have a great vacation and have travel plans set with savings long beforehand.

Let's get planning your travel plans.

Step 1. Be as flexible as you can be. If you are, then you will have many options available to you. If you can pick your travel dates, do so in the mid week. Avoid weekend travelers. This will give you more flexibility in the hotels you stay at. It will save you money as well. Not to mention that it will also reduce line times and wait times. Planning on staying longer than a week? Then book your stay from mid week to mid week.

Step 2. Plan early. The earlier that you book your travel plans the better. You get better rates and you get more choices. Availability is often limited. Also, as the demand for room on a plane or in a hotel increase so do those prices!

Step 3. Shop around. In order to save the most, look for the best deal. You can use online travel agency, a normal travel agency or book your travel plans yourself. There is no better way to save money than to compare the rates of several companies. Remember to include any taxes, fees, and other charges associated with using the online travel agencies as well.

Step 4. Loose the extras. Unless your vacation is centered on the hotel you are staying at, look for those that have fewer frills. No sense in paying more for a hotel with a pool and spa if you won't have the time to take advantage of it, now is there?

Step 5. For airlines, it is often cheaper and less crowded to fly during off peak hours. Again, we are talking about avoiding the weekend rush. Also, if you fly in the middle of the night, you will get to catch a few z's while saving a few dollars as well. Look for routes that may take longer but offer a cheaper price. This could be those that have layovers. If you don't mind, you'll save money this way over direct flights.

The most valuable tips are those that you use. If something does not apply to your travel plans, then find ways of lowering the price in your own way. Driving is cheaper than flying but remember that the cost of gas, the wear on the car and the longer trip means more costs as well. You may have to book a room where as during the flight you wouldn't.

In the end, it is wise to begin planning your travel plans as soon as you can. By shopping around and comparing prices it is easy to save some money. You'll have the security of knowing that everything is ready to go as well. Travel plans don't have to be difficult at all!

10 Travel Tips

Going away on vacation should be an enjoyable experience but everyone has a horror story to tell. Perhaps your hotel room was robbed, or perhaps a careless spouse accidentally gambled away more money than they realized, or perhaps you simply lost your wallets somewhere between the airport and hotel. Here are 10 ways to make sure that your trip is a success in spite of those obstacles.

1. Use a hidden wallet to carry most of your valuables and identification.

2. If you feel comfortable sending it in the mail, mail a money order or a traveler's checks to yourself at your hotel so that even if you lose some of your money, more will be coming.

3. While you don't have to be too strict, you should have an agenda and leave it with someone at home. This way, if something happens in the area where you are vacationing, your loved ones will be able to have a fairly good idea of where you are.

4. Keep copies of identification at home, even if you take the originals with you.

5. When you go on vacation, choose one credit card to bring, rather than bringing all of them. This way, if your wallet gets stolen, you will minimize your losses.

6. Another option is to choose a preloaded credit card, which is really more like a debit card that you put money "on" so that if you end up losing your wallet the thieves cannot wreck your credit rating.

7. Bring important phone numbers with you on your trip and put them in two different places. Bring a phone number that will cancel your credit card; if you're traveling out of the country bring a phone number to reach the embassy; bring phone numbers of close family and friends who can help you if you get into trouble; and bring phone numbers of the hotel and car rental company as well.

8. You'll want to have your travel insurance information. Be sure to keep a copy of your travel insurance at home as well as on your trip so that a family member can access it if necessary.

9. Bring basic medical information with you, like blood type and allergies, and make sure that the medical information is translated into the primary language of the place you are going to so that non-English-speaking doctors will have no problem understanding the situation.

10. Know what kind of insurance is covered on your credit card, if that is how you are using to paying for your trip. For example, some credit cards cover car rental insurance, but may not cover it in the country are you are going to. Be sure to know what insurance you have before you leave.

Health Tips for Traveller

Travelling in Canada Each year, over one million visitors come to Canada to explore this vast land. From cosmopolitan cities to majestic mountain ranges, Canada's landscape is as diverse as its people. Travel, whether abroad or in one's own country, is a richly rewarding experience, but there are always potential health risks. Visitors who travel to Canada are wise to consider a number of health tips before embarking on their journey. The Great Outdoors For the outdoor enthusiast, Canada is a veritable playground. Home to countless lakes and forests, Canada is the ideal destination for adventure seekers. To ensure that illness does not spoil your vacation, be aware of the environmental factors. The weather in Canada can vary greatly from province to province, thereby necessitating that you pack weather-appropriate clothing. To ensure that you are prepared for Canada's extremes in climate, be sure to research the area that you will be visiting. Failing to dress accordingly may result in your health being compromised. In the summer months, be sure to protect yourself from a variety of bugs with insect repellant. Most of them are a mere annoyance, but a bite from an infected mosquito can have potentially dangerous effects. Air Quality & Sunshine Canada's urban centers offer some of the finest cultural events in North America, and much like all large cities throughout the world, Canadian cities can be subject to periodic reduced air quality due to traffic and industry. For those travellers who are prone to respiratory problems, it is smart to equip yourself with any necessary medications before leaving home. In addition, seasonal allergens, such as pollen and ragweed are prevalent in most Canadian cities and can inhibit your ability to enjoy the outdoors. During the summertime, Canadian cities offer an impressive lineup of festivals and other special events, but you can be easily deprived of their enjoyment if you do not protect yourself from the sun. The UV index in the summer months can be very high and travellers can experience the ill effects of over-exposure to the sun's rays. Medical Emergencies Health tips are helpful but they do not guarantee that you will stay in optimal good health while travelling. The best way to safeguard yourself from costly medical bills is to have valid health insurance. If you are a visitor to Canada from another country, sickness can leave you with a heavy financial burden. Before leaving your own country, be sure to purchase health insurance that will cover you in the event of a medical emergency. Provincial Coverage? If you are a resident of Canada and are visiting another province, be aware that your provincial health plan will not cover all medical expenses incurred out of province. For example, citizens of Ontario will find that OHIP does not provide for ambulance costs and accidental dental expenses incurred in another province. A little research will inform you of the omissions in your provincial health coverage. If you do not feel that your provincial health care is adequate, it may be wise to purchase supplemental health insurance before your trip.