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.

The best vacation packages: Two reasons why timing is everything

Budget is always the main concern for most people when it comes to booking a vacation, but that most definitely does not mean you should ever decide against staying in the best hotels in Mexico, the best resorts in Varadero or dining in the top restaurants of Punta Cana. The truth is, timing is everything when it comes to finding the best vacation packages to the Caribbean or anywhere else, and if you also avail of hotel discounts, you can quite easily organize a dream vacation without even having to worry about it breaking the bank.

Aside from using hotel discounts, there are two simple factors which most people ignore, and they  could end up being the simple factors that help you save even more money on the next vacation.


1. Don’t’ worry about when everyone else is taking their vacation

Unfortunately, most of us are easily influenced by what everyone else is doing and there is already enough advertising and marketing online nowadays to know that some of the most popular times to take a vacation, are Spring break, Christmas or at the height of the summer months.

However, is it really necessary to travel at the same time as everyone else? Most resorts or travel destinations are open for at least 6 months of the year and offer a full service regardless as to which month you decide to join them.

So if you really do want to save money and afford the best vacation packages, don’t worry about when everyone else is taking their vacation. If you consider the shoulder months when the weather is just as nice, there are less crowds and more availability, chances are, you will find that dream vacation for the fraction of the cost.


2. Don’t wait for last minute packages

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is generally no such thing as a last minute vacation package. It is not impossible, and on a rare occasion they do come about, but 99% of the time you will end up with no vacation at all if you take the route of waiting until the last moment. The best time to book the best vacation packages is right now, and the facts are that hotels, flights and almost any service is priced according to availability which means if you book early, you will not only get to choose the best option, but you will also receive it at the best price.

Although airlines or charter flights will not always be announced as far in advance as say, flights to Europe, you can at least book your discounted vacation approximately 6 – 8 months before departure and take comfort in knowing that it’s likely you got the best hotel deal.

Ultimately, by avoiding these two pitfalls you are ensuring the best possible time for booking that dream vacation, and then providing you avail of the best hotel discounts with a Travel club such as Hotels Etc, you should have no issues affording the best vacation package, without it breaking the bank.

5 Best cruise destinations in the Caribbean

Cruise vacations to the Craibbean have taken on a whole new meaning in recent years with a large number of new suppliers entering the market with some of the best cruise vacation packages, and some equally amazing cruise ships. However, even with so many cheap cruise packages in the market, it can still be difficult choosing which one is most suitable for your trip.

With this in mind, sometimes it can be easier to choose a vacation package based on the best cruise destinations in the Caribbean and here our recommendations:

Cozumel, Mexico

This popular cruise destination off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is the perfect blend of culture, crafts and ancient civilization.

The centre of town may be highly populated with other tourists, but Cozumel still provides some of the best souvenirs and shopping options in all of Mexico. There are many small crafts such as china sets or quaint handmade board games but arguably the most popular items in town, are the wide selection of rare diamonds on offer.

Once you have finished acquainting yourself with the main town, there is a plethora of historical attractions scattered around the island which are waiting to be explored. Cozumel is infamous for the Mayans of course, and it is here, where you can travel deep into the rainforest to visit the San Gervasio ruins or Tulum, the most popular and spectacular of all the Mayan remnants on the island.

Old San Juan
San Juan offers an excellent variety of food, attractions and as with Cozumel above, great shopping.

The city in general has a spectacular and cosmopolitan appearance with a huge number of modern café’s, restaurants and a very lively nightlife but the old town is entirely the opposite and a great showcase of the 16th century origins of San Juan. Walking is the best way to see the old town and the many historic buildings create the illusion of  stepping back in time to an old city somewhere in Europe.
In terms of excursions, there are several day trip in San Juan but the most fascinating of these is El Morro, a Spanish fortress on the very edge of the peninsula. The fortress is a photographer’s dream and the perfect place to visit for an afternoon stroll amidst ancient civilization and pleasant surroundings.

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau is one of the most alluring ports in which to arrive on a cruise, with the appearance of a very quaint town on a particularly small island.

There are many historic buildings to explore in the town such as Christ Church Cathedral or Parliament Square, but the highlight of the town itself most visitors, is usually the myriad of alleyways and backstreets which hide beyond the face of the waterfront.

Again, Nassau is a popular cruise stop but it is easy to see why as all the main attractions on the island are a short distance away, which is vitally important when limited for time. You can easily find affordable transport to any location and with interesting attractions such as Fort Fincastle or Queen’s Staircase.

Grenada is one of the less visited parts of the Caribbean for cruise itineraries but for anyone who prefers to see culture or more traditional experiences but still enjoy the beach at the same time, this is most certainly the place to do it.
Waterfalls, lush mountains and stunning landscapes await in Grand Etang National Park those adventurous enough to take a hike and with Grenada being a Spice island, it also offers a nice opportunity to mingle with the locals in the town markets, where they sell ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, along with many different fresh produce such as coconuts or other fruits.
However, a trip to Grenada is still about the sun, sea and relaxation and the white sands of Grand Anse Beach are amongst the finest in the Caribbean. Taking into account that the island is less crowded than most destinations, Grenada is a very peaceful destination which offers a little bit of everything, just off the beaten track.

Falmouth, Jamaica

Falmouth is the youngest of all the ports on this list with it being built only a few years ago for the sole purpose of restoring a forgotten part of Jamaica. As a result, Falmouth is an extremely unique city full of Georgian architecture with a rich history to explore.

You can take a shore excursion to Ochos Rious or Montego Bay upon arrival to visit the beach, go snorkeling or even to swim with dolphins, but the most popular activity in Falmouth is actually to visit the nearby sugar plantations, for which the area is renowned.

Provided you stay in the same area for the day, Falmouth also makes for a very quaint and charming town to walk around. There are many boutique stores, markets and craft offerings while the famous Jerky Chicken is a must try, along with the incredibly fresh fruit which are grown local to the port.

Check out Hotels Etc for all the best cruise discounts or to book the best vacation packages to the Caribbean.