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Where to Find the Best Travel Bargains on a Budget


With the economy weighing heavy on many people’s minds, a vacation would be just the thing to ease your stress levels and escape from it all, even for just a long weekend. But the conundrum facing many families is how to fit this luxury into an already tight budget.

Travel prices are more affordable now than they’ve been in years.

Well, there is a silver lining to the ongoing U.S. recession, and that is deep discounts on a variety of travel destinations. Vacations are now at the most affordable prices they’ve been in years.

Hotel room prices are down about 2.7 percent from a year ago and now average $103 a night in the United States. Airfares are also down 6 percent from this time last year, according to Travelocity, and cruise prices are down anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent, depending on the destination.

"If you can afford travel, you will never have a better opportunity,” Steven Kalt, vice president of Bee Kalt Travel in Michigan told

The Best Travel Deals Right Now

  • Cruises: Cruise ships have to sail whether they’re full to capacity or way under, so they’ve been cutting costs drastically, especially at the last minute. They’re also growing in popularity because food and entertainment is included, and you only have to unpack once, yet get to see several destinations.

Generally a cruise that’s less than $100 a day per person is considered a bargain by cruise experts, but now rates are down to as low as $50 a day! Also take advantage of low add-on rates for kids and if you live near a port, no added airfare costs.

Cruise bargains can be found for less than $50 per person, per day, a deep discount from typical rates.

  • All-Inclusive Packages: Package deals won’t always save you money, but often they do. Right now you can find all-inclusive trips at low rates, including airfare. Some of the best package deals according to Orbitz CEO Barney Harford are now in Mexico, the Caribbean, Las Vegas and Orlando, Florida. Hawaii and London are also offering irresistible deals to entice travelers.
  • Disney World: The theme park is offering a "Buy 4 Get 3 Free" deal, which gets you three free nights and three free days of theme-park tickets when you buy a four-night ticket/hotel package, through April 4, and again in later April, May and June.

Tips for Finding the Best Travel Deals

Now that you know there are deals to be had out there, how do you go about finding them? First and foremost, you must do your homework and compare prices. Start by checking out some of the popular travel sites online like Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity.

Also enlist the help of a travel agent, who may be able to find even better deals, or get you added perks, than you’d find online.

Next, as you price your trip check package deals as well as a la carte options, and if your dates are flexible price your trip at different times of the year, or even different days of the week. Also consider house swaps or renting a vacation home directly from its owner instead of staying at a hotel.

If you find that a vacation can be squeezed into your budget, take advantage of the rest, relaxation and family time it will afford you now. While some experts are predicting travel fares to stay low through 2009, others believe prices are going to bottom out soon, with an inevitable rise soon to follow.

Recommended Reading 

Six Inexpensive U.S. Vacation Destinations Everyone Should Consider

How to Get the Best Rates at Hotels: 10 Insider Tips

Sources March 8, 2009 March 8, 2009 March 4, 2009 January 25, 2009

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