3 Tips for Savings on Last Minute Travel

If you’re fortunate enough to have a flexible schedule, or just have a spontaneous streak, last minute travel is a great chance to get away. While you won’t have a chance to plan a very detailed itinerary when you book a holiday shortly before you depart, last minute travel does give you the opportunity to save some money on your trip. The keys to saving on last minute travel are flexibility and timing.

Last Minute Travel

1. Shop Around
Last minute travel sites abound, but sometimes it’s better to get the news right from the horse’s mouth. In other words, in addition to looking at discount travel booking sites, go right to the website of the airline or hotel you’re considering. Sometimes a discount travel site will have the best deals, while in some instances a hotel or airline won’t advertise a last minute deal with third party vendors. You may also get the best last minute travel deals by booking airfare and accommodations separately, so don’t look exclusively at package deals.

2. Keep Your Destination Flexible
When you’re booking last minute air travel, being flexible on your destination is key. If you have your heart set on one particular city, you’re less likely to catch a last minute deal than if you keep an open mind. Instead, look for travel in a particular region that has more than one city and airport. In some cases, you may be able to fly into smaller airports and then drive to your ideal destination, so search airports within a 100 mile radius of the place you want to go. Likewise, hotels in one city may be full due to an event, which hotels in a nearby city may be offering deals.

3. Avoid Weekend Travel
It’s usually cheaper to travel during the middle of the week, so look for last minute deals on a Tuesday or Wednesday as opposed to Friday or Saturday. Since flights leaving in the middle of the week are less popular, airlines are likely to have a few last minutes seats and sell them at a discounted price just to fill the plane. Hotels also discount rooms during the middle of the week, when tourism can slow.

Happy travels!

[Image source: peterguy.merseyblogs.co.uk]

5 Secrets of Inexpensive Travel

Club Med has more than 100 different resorts located all across the globe. From international sites to Ixtapa Resort to the domestic all-inclusive resorts in Florida, travelers can choose between a number of different destinations when booking accommodations. But just because you want to experience all of the luxury that the Club has to offer does not mean you have to spend a fortune doing so.

In today’s turbulent economic times, more and more travelers are becoming cost-conscious when they are booking their vacations. If you need to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life on a limited budget, here are 5 secrets you should learn so that you can save money without compromising the quality of your experience.

1. Save on Airfare

Airfare is one of the biggest expenses you need to save for when traveling across the country or overseas. There are a few ways you can save money on your flight:

– Compare airline prices on the Internet
– Look for flights that depart in the middle of the night or at less popular times (midweek)
– Book 2 months in advance. A research study showed that after 2 months, prices go up.

2. Last Minute Vacation Deals

If you are a procrastinator, it can definitely save you money if you are open with your travel schedule. Many resorts, airlines, and rental car agencies are willing to offer deals to travelers who are booking last minute. This is because the rooms, seats, and cars have not been booked and the company would rather make some money than none. If you have travel dates that are coming up, start looking for last minute deals on travel sites to see just how much you need to spend.

3. Know the Best Days of the Week to Travel

As mentioned, the day of the week you travel will impact the price of your ticket and accommodations. Obviously, many travelers choose Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. To beat the weekend crowd, try and schedule your vacation so you can fly on the cheapest days of the week. Compare the cost of traveling on a Tuesday evening to the cost of traveling on a weekend and you are sure to save money.

4. Off Season Travel

Everyone knows that summer is perhaps the most popular season to travel in. Fall and winter are typically less popular seasons. If you are willing to travel in the off season, you can save money and escape the crowds while you’re on your vacation. If you want an authentic experience while you are traveling overseas and want to pay less for everything from airfare to lodging, this is the way to go.

5. Look For Coupon Codes

If you plan on renting a car to get around, consider looking for coupon codes before you pay the full daily rental price. You may even be able to upgrade your vehicle for free while you save money on the rental charges.

Traveling is anything but cheap. While it will cost you money, you can avoid breaking the bank just to have fun if you consider these tips. Take time to do your research, stick to your budget, and experience a new part of the world.

How to save your money and see the world

Getting to see the world requires a rather large investment, but you can work towards that investment. Getting out of your native country and visiting a completely different country, which boasts a unique and diverse culture and way-of-life can be the most rewarding experience of your life. Whether you’re planning on experiencing a popular culture such as the American Lifestyle, or the laid back and completely different way-of-life in Sweden, you will typically need to utilize savings to get you there. Unless you’re currently earning £50,000 a year, it would be unrealistic to assume that you could afford a holiday straight away. The typical consumer needs to save for several months to get there.

Two of the most popular ways of saving for a holiday is through a Savings account or Cash ISA account. These accounts can be managed online, and you’re free to pay cash into them whenever you feel like it. Open a savings account when you would like to make regular savings but still have access to your money incase of emergencies. You have complete control over what you save, and how much you save each month. You won’t have to worry about breaking the bank, because you’re in complete control. After paying off all of your utility bills and necessities, you can simply transfer an amount into that account.

Savings accounts are great and offer great rates for interest. You can deposit and withdraw anytime you wish. Consider a cash ISA if you have longer term goals. With Cash ISA’s, you can only withdraw after one, two, three of five years (depending on the ISA). ISA’s are best for people who struggle to save and often see themselves withdrawing from them. Typically, Cash ISA accounts offer much better interest rates than ordinary savings accounts.

An easy to save for your next holiday is to open up a one-year ISA savings account. Pay in as much money as you can afford, and within one year you’ll have the funds you need to pay for your next holiday.

Autumn’s Warmest Southern European Capital Cities

Autumn’s in full swing with temperatures dropping across Europe, or so one would think, let’s say if you live in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland the thermometer is marking 9-12 degrees Celsius on average already. But not all places in Europe are replacing their closets full of shorts, tees, and sandals with jeans, sweaters, and rainboots. If you’re looking for a getaway to a sunnier place why not try one of the top five warmest capital city destinations in Southern Europe?

Autumn's Warmest Southern European Capital Cities

#1 warmest destination during October: Podgorica, Montenegro – visit the city’s ancient ruins, go for a walk along the river banks, or relax on the beaches of the Adriatic Sea.

#2 Valletta, Malta – great for an island vacation without all the crowds. The capital city only has a population of 7,000.

#3 Nicosia, Cyprus – as the only remaining divided city in the world you can get the taste of two countries in one city, the Turkish side to the north and the Cypriot side to the south.

#4 Athens, Greece – one of the oldest cities in the world and a ferry ride away from the picturesque Greek islands when you’ve had your share of history.

#5 Lisbon, Portugal – get a bit of the river and a bit of the ocean in the same city.

And the best part about these locations are not just the fact that they’re warm even in Autumn, but that there are many low cost flights to get you there.

Getting More Bang For Your Buck In Disney World

It would be reckless to embark on any adventure without prior planning and budgeting. The magical, carefree land of Disneyworld may feel like the perfect place to abandon your rational self, but be warned it could be a costly liberation. Heading to Disney with a pocketful of dollars and letting your holiday play out whilst you’re there, is the quickest way to swallow up your budget on your Florida holidays.

It may seem like a stress-free option, as Disney has absolutely everything covered from transportation and food to entertainment and attractions, but this service with a smile comes at a price.

Your credit card and bank balance will definitely thank you for indulging in a little forward planning and bargain hunting before you go.

Planning
This may not seem like an obvious money saver, but discovering exactly what’s on offer in Disney’s 4 theme parks and 2 water parks before you go allows you to plan what attractions are must-sees. Using Disney’s planning tools on their website will identify shows, attractions and which parks you want to spend the most time in. This will help you make an informed decision when you purchase your park entrance tickets.

Park tickets
Definitely purchase your park tickets before you go. If you are planning to visit all of Disney’s theme parks, water parks, entertainment zones and attractions, opt for the Ultimate ticket as this allows you unlimited admission. You will often find a 14-day ticket for the price of a 7-day ticket. If you’re only visiting for 7 days, consider buying a 5-day ticket or daily tickets if you think jet-lag will eat into the first few days of your holiday. There’s no point in paying for days that you won’t spend at Disneyworld or the other parks.

Cinderella Castle at Night, Walt Disney World

Accommodation
There is a huge choice of accommodation available both in the Disneyworld resort and surrounding area of Orlando. Depending on your requirements i.e. size of family/party and budget, you can find amazing deals online. Ocean Florida offer budget, moderate and luxury accommodation within Walt Disney World® Resort and extremely close by on International Drive and in exclusive resorts. Choose from hotels, condos and villas in Florida to suit your tastes and your budget.

If you opt for a Disney hotel within the resort, as a guest you will also benefit from Extra Magic Hours and complimentary shuttle transportation around the resort. Extra Magic Hours gives you more time in the parks; therefore more bang for your buck. Just look out for the park which has been designated with the extra hours for that day, either opening an hour earlier than scheduled or remaining open for an extended 3 hours after closing. 16 Extra Magic Hours are available each week.

Keen golfers can also benefit from preferred golf tee times.

Transportation
Disney hotels and some hotels on International Drive and the surrounding Orlando area offer complimentary shuttle transportation to and from and around the resort. If your accommodation doesn’t offer complimentary transportation, the Ultimate ticket allows free bus travel between the parks.

Free events
Certain events at Disney are free, so consider booking your holiday to coincide with these. For instance the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival takes place annually every September to November and is free to enjoy.

Food
Disney has 100s of restaurants to keep you fed and watered from dawn until dusk, but unless your pocket is bottomless, you’ll need to watch how many treats you allow yourself. Again before you go to Disneyworld, check online for deals and coupons to make your dollars stretch further. Other money-saving options include ‘Kids Eat Free’ cards and taking a packed lunch with you to the theme park. If you succumb to Disney’s offerings, eat at lunchtime as opposed to dinnertime when the same plate of food costs less. Look out for Ocean Florida’s Disney Dining Plan packages and 14-day ‘Magic Your Way’ tickets with free Dining Plan package 2013 to take advantage of.

Mickey shaped meal

A little forward planning will free up dollars and ensure you maximise your trip to Disneyworld on your Orlando holidays.

Author Bio
Charlotte Rivington writes on behalf of Ocean Florida, actively blogging about Travel, Food and Drink. She loves traveling and exploring new places as she writes away.

Your Next Vacation: How to Effectively Budget Foreign Currency

When budgeting for a vacation, one of the first steps is ensuring there’ll be enough cash on hand for shopping and dining, as well as miscellaneous expenses. After all, the last thing anyone wants is to be stuck in the hotel room on their final day of vacation because they ran out of money.

For those traveling to a country that uses a foreign currency, managing your cash is especially tricky since you don’t want to waste money on bank fees each time another exchange or ATM withdrawal is needed. Additionally, returning home with a pocket full of foreign currency is a waste since you’ll have to pay yet another fee to exchange it back to your local currency.

The best way, therefore, to maximize your traveling budget is to get the best exchange rate, exchange just enough to have a spending cushion, and be sure to spend the last of your foreign currency before returning home.

Exchange Rates
A quick Google search of exchange rates will return a handy calculator that gives you a good idea of the current exchange rates between your specific currencies. Note, however, that the rates provided here don’t always reflect the most recent rates.

When it comes to actually making an exchange, according to a NYTimes.com article, the best place to do so is at a bank. Since commercial companies offering exchange services are in the business of making money, they will have a higher price tag than a bank, so it’s best to avoid them. Additionally, quite a few American banks, such as Bank of America, have partnerships with foreign banks, meaning customers won’t have to worry about high exchange rates. In fact, at some banks, if a customer makes an ATM withdrawal the fee will be waived. Thus it behooves all travelers to research which banks in their destination country offer the best rates.

Avoiding a Pocket Full of Unusable Cash
To avoid having foreign currency left over at the end of your trip; make sure you don’t exchange more than you need. With that in mind, you don’t want to handicap your trip with a cash shortage.

A great way to manage your spending is to leave the gift and souvenir shopping for last. This way you you’ll have more than enough to cover gifts for your family, friends and coworkers. You’ll also have a little left over to buy gifts for people you’d otherwise overlook.

Another great way to get rid of your extra foreign cash is to upgrade you dining experience over the last few days. Instead of a three-star restaurant, check out the four-star one that has all the travel magazines really excited. By choosing this option, you’re not trying to cram extra activities into what’s presumably an already-packed itinerary but you still get to experience the best your host nation has to offer.

Be sure, however, not to spend you last dollar until right before boarding the plane. 501Places.com has a great blog offering advice on how to get rid of your foreign cash. Entering the airport without foreign cash is risky because you never know what services you will have to pay for, such as hiring someone to assist with your luggage or even buying something to nosh on if your flight gets delayed. Since airport shops are notoriously overpriced, it shouldn’t be a problem to blow through your remaining cash.

Sell Your Currency
This last option for getting rid of your foreign currency is either a risky one or a great one, depending on the circumstances. If you have an abundance of cash but no more room in your luggage to buy more stuff, or just don’t want to spend that much money, consider selling the currency back to fellow travelers.

Of course this is a risky deal since you must always be wary of counterfeit bills, but when staying at a hotel or even enjoying the city you often run into visitors from your country, state or even town. If you have an abundance of cash and they’re running low, consider selling them your money. By doing so, you have the benefit of avoiding pricey exchange fees and both parties benefit.

When choosing this option, however, travelers should be confident in the sale. Any doubt you may have is reason enough to walk away. An abundance of foreign cash is always better than a fist full of counterfeit bills.
If you need more travel tips, be sure to visit Kanetix’s Infocentre for Travel Insurance where you can read various articles on traveling and saving money on travel insurance. Kanetix offers a free online travel insurance quote comparison service where you can compare real-time quotes from the best travel insurance companies in Canada. To start your free comparison, visit Kanetix.ca – Travel Insurance Canada and fill out an application.

Travel Trends – Hawaii [Infographic]

FlipKey Travel Trends: Hawaii Infographic
FlipKey Travel Trends: Hawaii by vacation rentals site FlipKey.com:

In an effort to extend the summer, we bring you travel trends from the Aloha State: Hawaii vacation rentals offer great value for groups of all sizes, but we discovered that Hawaii truly sparkles as a top spot for romantic rendezvous. 45% of all travelers planning Hawaii vacations travel in groups of two, and the short romantic getaway is a surprisingly popular option for islands that are a few thousand miles from everything.

Hawaii’s romantic appeal doesn’t exactly come as a surprise. Between honeymoons, destination weddings, and anniversary trips, couples have countless excuses to escape to the islands. It is interesting that the love birds of paradise flock to the islands around Valentines Day: mid-February is peak travel season, and the nightly rates spike right during that period.

The good news: the spots where you will find love are also spots where you can find deals – none of these romantic hideaways are among the most expensive locales in the state. A deeper look at the data reveals the top five couples destinations:

Honolulu, Oahu
Haleiwa, Oahu
Kailua-Kona, Big Island
Lahaina, Maui
Kihei, Maui

The other good news: Now is the time to travel. Forget Valentine’s Day, with its crowds and the pressure to be romantic. If you’re thinking of traveling to the islands, consider a fall escape. It’s still summer in Hawaii, and the best rates can be had before the holidays. Nothing heats things up like a quick jaunt to Paradise right when the weather is getting colder back home.