When life gives you lemons, take a vacation

“He was a walking refutation of that dogmatic statement, Mens sana in corpore sano. His was a sound mind in an unsound body. He proved the eternal paradox of things. He cashed in on his disabilities. He picked up the lemons that Fate had sent him and started a lemonade-stand.” Marshall P Wilder.

Mass production, mass consumption, mass disillusion; earning a living is hard, nobody said it would be easy, but nobody said it would be this hard either. We live in a modern world with endless options and decisions, something made increasingly difficult in the past two decades with the arrival of the online world and the increased amount of competition it has created among peers.

Truth is, frightening statistics have already proven that this mass build up is not only happening, but increasing,  and it is also the number one reason for mass disillusion or even depression. It doesn’t take very much to understand how busy life has become either, it seems more people are working more overtime, and less time off is naturally leading to less enjoyment in life. While earning a living, being successful and progressing a career are all admirable, the value and benefit of taking time out from this busy lifestyle, should not be ignored.

On the contrary, statistics are on hand to show that people who take more time off work and travel on more vacations, are more satisfied and less stressed. Even if the past few weeks or months have been hectic, even if you have worked every hour of every given day for eight months, having a vacation to look forward to and then utilize to distress is worth far more than any monetary value placed on the vacation.

So why do people not take more vacations? Essentially, this will rarely come down to lack of vacation leave or workload, after all a year is a long time and realistically, everyone can afford to put work on hold for 7 – 10 days to take time out.

The reason most people do not take a vacation is budget, as everyone knows that vacations cost money. However, regardless of whether you are working for minimum wage or a high flying senior investment manager, a vacation is affordable for anyone who looks in the right place. Unfortunately most people still see this “right place” as being a booking engine such as Expedia, Orbitz or another major travel brand when the truth is, these websites no longer offer the value they once did. No, since the arrival of the new rate parity laws, travel brands are no longer able to offer varying prices across different distribution channels which in essence stops them from offering any real discounts or special offers.

The solution? Today the only real way of finding genuine hotel discounts, travel offers, or affordable vacation packages is through a Travel membership club which offer discounts of up to 60-80% to their members in return for a minimal fee. These membership clubs may seem like newcomers to the travel industry but actually, they have been around since the 1970’s and Hotel Etc is one such club who have a five star trust rating, 4 million members and the highest number of repeat customers.

Vacation packages are quite affordable in the modern day but should that be slightly out of the current budget, membership with a travel club is the single best way to find the cheapest hotels or most affordable vacation packages. So next time you feel work gets on top of you or life seems to be moving too fast, for too long; organize your time off, sign up for Hotels Etc, take that vacation  you deserve and leave the phone at home.

It really is true; when life gives you lemons, take a vacation.

7 ways to save money when you travel

Affordable vacation packages, cheap flights, amazing hotel discounts, free activities – everybody wants to find as much value as possible on vacation, and to help you do that, here are 7 ways to save money when you travel:

Consider an “open jaw” flight itinerary

“Open Jaw” is a term given to a flight schedule which arrives in a particular city, but then departs from an airport in another location. For anyone traveling to Cancun for a one week each vacation this will not be as relevant, but for anyone planning to see Europe, South America, Asia etc and hoping to do some overland travel, flying back from an alternative city is a great option.

Not only is the airfare less expensive, but an open jaw ticket also saves you the extra cost of returning to your trip starting point, never mind the inconvenience it causes to get back there.

Avoid traveling during peak season

Spring break, Christmas and school holidays are always more expensive and in order to ensure the lowest possible cost of a vacation, it is always a good idea to avoid travel at peak season.

Many of the best vacation packages to the Caribbean, or anywhere for that matter, will have more availability outside of this time meaning the rates for hotels, flights and anything tourism related, will be much more affordable. When you consider some of the best hotel discounts which can be found during these times, it is quite often the case that a vacation at this time will provide much more value, with less crowds, cheap hotel rooms and low airfare.

Best Hotel discounts

Save money when you travel by turning off your cellphone data

Have you ever arrived home from vacation to an insanely big phone bill? It happens. Availing of international roaming, checking your emails and even sending a few text messages can prove to be a large unnecessary cost on your vacation.

With every resort and hotel being fully equipped with free Wi-Fi, there is really no reason to be wasting money on expensive tariffs while on vacation. Skype, Facebook, and email are all capable of calling and sending instant messages from the local Wi-Fi which is entirely free.

Avoid renting a car when staying in the city

Renting a car can be a wonderful idea which can make travel outside of a destination convenient and highly enjoyable. However, if you are visiting a destination with plans of exploring the city, there really is no need for the added expense of having a car at your disposal, .

Even a train or bus ride around the city can make a family trip seem like more of an adventure, not to mention the fact that not having to worry about a car parked out on the street can reduce stress. Leave the car at home, discover the city on foot, and live adventurously on your next vacation.

Be careful with tipping

It’s good to tip, it’s only right, and everybody appreciates it. However, North Americans are the only people’s around the world who are generally known to tip more than 10 – 15 %.

Tipping extravagant amounts every time on vacation can be an enormous cost in itself. For example, if you have 3 meals a day and tip 25% each time, you are not far off paying for a fourth, non existent meal on every day of the vacation.

By all means tip, but within reason, you need to have some money left when the vacation is over.

Use Hotel discounts

In this modern age of technology, there s no excuse for not knowing about the huge hotel discounts being offered by travel membership clubs. Recent laws may have prevented Expedia, Orbitz and other travel brands from providing discounted cruises, packages or hotel rooms, but where they have lost their value, Travel clubs have taken their place.

Stop wasting time, and money by getting signed up for a travel membership with Hotels Etc and start saving up to 60-80% on hotels rooms, packages and much more.

Research free things to do at your destination

Not everything costs money once on location, in fact many of the best activities are free. A quick search online for travel blogs, reviews or trip reports will often result in a number of fun and completely free activities to help you save money on vacation.

A secret beach, a nearby mountain hike, a free walking tour or visit to some local landmarks. Even a trip around a lesser known part of town can result in cheap eateries, hidden attractions, and the free excitement that comes with not knowing where you are going.

All of the above are simple ways to ensure your vacation provides enough value, without leaving you in debt on the return back home and a great way to get started with saving money for future travels, is by signing up for Hotels Etc here.