No matter what your job is, doing the same thing for five or more days a week can make anyone feel stuck. What's the perfect way to get out of a rut? For a lot of people, the answer is to get away from the mundane and take a vacation. Taking a trip — whether it be solo, with a partner, or in a group — can be a great way to recharge and boost your mental health. But an issue that holds many people back from booking one is money. Traveling on a budget can seem impossible, but there are some insider hacks that can help you shave off a few dollars.
Plus, according to CNN, vacations are actually good for your health. Dr. Oz even found that women who don't take vacations were found to be 50 percent more likely to have a heart attack. Luckily, The Dr. Oz Show guest and host of the PBS show, Beyond Your Backyard, Erik "The Travel Guy," has some helpful tips on how you can book the best vacation and save money at the same time.
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Don't Book Your Vacation Online
Most people book their vacations on their computers or even their phones, but according to Erik, that's not always the way to get the best deals. "Even I use a travel agent," he says. Travel agencies often find bulk deals on hotels and air tickets and sell them to you at a cheaper price than listed on a website, so by using a travel agent, you can get a better deal than you would by surfing the internet for deals. Erik says that travel agencies are almost always a free service to use, so you don't even have to spend extra money to have someone help you book your vacation. And, according to Trip Savvy, a website dedicated to helping people maximize and smartly book vacations, travel agents can also help give you insider tips about activities you might enjoy in your desired vacation destination.
Join an Airline Loyalty Program
Unless you're doing a road trip or cruise, you'll probably be taking a plane to get to your vacation destination. If you've ever tried to book a flight before, you know it can sometimes feel like a game when you're trying to find the best prices and times to travel. Erik says that by joining a loyalty program of an airline that flies out of the airport nearest to your hometown, you can rack up points and that will help you save money on flights in the future. And, according to Nerd Wallet, a website that gives money-saving tips, joining a frequent flyer program can also get you better seats on flights, and could even give you the possibility of a free flight in the future with enough points.
Find Out When Value Season Is
According to Erik, there are three travel seasons: peak, shoulder, and value. During peak season, you'll be paying the highest prices, shoulder season is when prices start to drop, and value season is the ideal time to book — when prices are the lowest. Erik's hack for finding value season in the location you're traveling to is by searching the location of where you're traveling plus the letters "c-v-b" which stand for Convention and Visitors Bureau. This search will give you the phone number for the CVB of that location, and they'll be able to tell you when the value season is in that area.
Everyone deserves a vacation once in a while, and by using these tips, you can always make sure that your travel is hassle-free and as inexpensive as possible. Plus, with all the money you'll save by using these tips from Erik "The Travel Guy," you just might have enough left over to take another vacation with your extra vacation days.