The allure of travel appeals to so many people. Experiencing new cultures, places, & foods all lead to lasting memories. But traveling can be costly, even for the most frugal. Getting to where we want to go can require some creative budgeting, and there’s no shortage of travel tips out there. All will save you money, but how much?
Skip a meal – $10/day
Skip on souvenirs – $100/trip
How about saving $650 per person?
One of the most under-rate traveling techniques also returns the best savings.Okay FinEngr, what’s the tip already!!! I’m at the computer with my suitcase!
T R A V E L O F F – S E A S O N
That’s it? Who’d want to go when it’s too [hot/cold]?
Don’t blow me off just yet, I made some startling finds while writing this post.
An all-time favorite of mine, Go Today, offers some great vacation packages. Since I’ve been using the site, they’ve narrowed the focus to solely European vacations. Previously, they had something for each corner of the world, but maybe those weren’t as popular.
Checked out their top trips – London, Paris, Prague, & Munich. Each of these packages includes: round trip airfare, 6-night hotel accommodations with taxes/service charges, and continental breakfasts daily.
Taking a look at the highest/lowest prices, here are the differences for the same trip, different month:LONDON Lowest – $719 Highest – $1,239 PARIS Lowest – $739 Highest – $1,149 PRAGUE Lowest – $749 Highest – $1,399 MUNICH Lowest – $1,029 Highest – $,589
See the trend? All of these represent a 50% premium with the Prague trip topping the list – costing almost TWICE as much for the EXACT same trip. So the question becomes… how important is it to travel in July/August instead of September/October?
The best part? You don’t have to travel during the extreme weather conditions. Even adjusting your travel arrangements one week can make a big difference. Here’s a look at the day changes between those same packages:LONDON Sept. 2nd – $1,239 Sept. 3rd – $869 PARIS May 23rd – $899 May 24th – $1,149 PRAGUE Sept 1st – $1,099 Sept 2nd – $799 MUNICH Sept 1st – $1,589 Sept 2nd – $1,029
You may be wondering how places vary so drastically for the same services. Think like a hotelier for a moment. You’re open year-round, so your expenses are year-round. Half the year the weather is great, the other half not so much. During that less than perfect time, your guest count drops drastically.
You’ve got two options.
- Raise your peak rates in hopes of offsetting less guests during non-peak season.
- Offer your accommodations AT OR BELOW cost during non-peak season to offset expenses.
If you chose Option #1, you may drive away guests with the higher rates. More importantly, you may not get the number of guests needed to break even – let alone make a profit! Choosing Option #2, you have a better chance of turning a profit, while maintaining competitive rates during the peak season.
You may disagree, but I’m maintaining that traveling off-peak has got to be one of the most under-rated and under-utilized travel savings techniques.
Sure, depending on when and where you inevitably end up going there are downfalls, like not having the “ideal” weather conditions. But there are always inherent risks in traveling – political instability, becoming sick abroad, or losing your passport.
Going back to the example packages one last time, do you realize if you went to both Prague and Munich at the lowest possible cost (versus the highest), you’d be saving $1,210 – enough to take another trip to Paris or London with a little left over!
The pricing should be incentive enough, but there are other benefits to traveling off-peak. Namely, the solitude. Fighting through crowds of tourists, waiting in long lines to see the attractions, and simply seeing too many of yourself in others can put a damper on your trip just as much as the weather would.
This is a good stopping point, and we’ll resume this last theme in the next post.
Until then, HAPPY TRAVELS!The first post in a two part series, our next article will be on the industry’s unknown & best travel experts.