Sunday, September 6, 2009
HOW TO Vacation in Tough Economic Times?
Challenging economic times can put a damper on plenty of travel plans, but smart vacationers will do what they can to make the best of a treacherous financial landscape. Here are some pointers to keep in mind while traveling during a recession or depression.
Step 1 - Have your priorities in order; this is important now more than ever. By determining exactly what’s crucial to your traveling satisfaction (a comfortable lodging, for example) and what’s not so urgent (say upscale dining) you’ll discover where you can cut corners the most. Prime example—if lush comfort isn’t important to you, camping can be a cost-saving alternative to a standard lodging.
Step 2 - Negotiate, and negotiate with confidence. It’s the traveler, not the hotel or airline company that holds the cards in a tough economy. So don’t be shy about asking for discounts that go beyond the advertised savings—companies are desperate for business—and you have nothing to lose by inquiring.
Step 3 - Shop around if you’re not thrilled with your initial findings when researching a destination, lodging and so on. There are plenty of bargains to be found in a struggling economy, so why pay any more than you have to?
Step 4 - Consider group travel, which can save you money in a variety of ways—and also gives you even more influence when it comes to negotiating price points. A hotel, for example, might not be overly concerned with losing one customer—but losing a dozen, or even more, is a different story.
Step 5 - Think about to what extent you can bring along your own food and drinks, which add up to huge expenses on the road. If you drink, for example, bringing an affordable bottle of wine to a nice restaurant (assuming that’s within their policies) will save a few dollars—even taking the likely corkage fee into account.
Step 6 - Stay with friends or relatives for a memorable, enjoyable and cost-saving experience. Even if you politely share some of the expenses of your visit—groceries are a big one, of course—or repay their gracious hospitality—you’ll be saving substantially.
Step 7 - Consider a house or apartment exchange if you have the luxury of planning ahead. A number of reputable groups are now in the business of arranging such exchanges, or you can try to work one out on your own via an online "bulletin board" site. This can really be a dream come true if it works out—a decent place to stay, essentially at no cost.
Step 8 - Be extra sure about your car's upkeep if you're driving. Don’t cut corners on things like tune ups and oil changes, as you’ll actually save money in the long run by taking good care of your vehicle.