Picking A Budget Destination
Picking A Budget Destination
Catharine Hamm (Travel Editor, LA Times) gives expert video advice on: What should I consider when choosing a budget destination?; What are popular budget destinations for singles?; What are good budget destinations for families? and more...
What should I consider when choosing a budget destination?
When you're considering a budget destination you should make sure that the place that you're going has a reasonably moderate cost of living. If the cost of living in that place is high, then chances are you're vacation is going to be expensive as well. So try to look at places where the cost of living is not sky high. New York City, for example, is going to be far more expensive than visiting Kansas City, Missouri. Maybe not on the same level but definitely less expensive
What are popular budget destinations for singles?
The West Coast actually represents some great opportunities for singles. There are many hotels in places like San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle and the variety of lodgings, the variety of accommodations actually represents an opportunity to save money, primarily because of the range of accommodations. All of those cities have vibrant singles scenes, great nightlife and if you choose your hotel wisely because hotels can actually eat up a significant part of your vacation budget, you can do really well and vacation very inexpensively.
What are good budget destinations for families?
The National Parks represent some of the greatest budget destinations for families. I think that in California they have about 15 National Parks, and each one of them represents a different facet of the state. But anywhere in the United States, those parks represent a plethora of opportunities for people to see, enjoy, and learn. I think they are terrific for families.
What are good budget destinations for couples?
Couples can actually find a budget vacation by taking a cruise. Cruises tend to be all inclusive. If you watch your pennies, you can make a very enjoyable vacation out of cruises. The Caribbean is actually a terrific destination because it tends to be a little oversubscribed; there tends to be a few too many ships in the Caribbean, so you might want to consider taking a Caribbean cruise as a couple, and it can actually be very economical if you watch for specials and discounts.
What are good budget cruise destinations?
Budget cruise destinations include the Caribbean. This destination tends to be a little oversubscribed with ships particularly in the winter and you can often find great bargains on destination cruises particularly in the Eastern Caribbean, but also occasionally in the Western Caribbean. Also, when you're looking for a budget cruise, you might want to consider a repositioning cruise which simply means that the ship company is moving the cruise from one place to another. So it's often a one-way passage. For example, ships that are in the Mediterranean in the summer may be moving to the Caribbean in the winter and you may be able to get a trans-Atlantic crossing at a not very expensive rate.
What are good budget resort destinations?
Some good budget resort destinations tend to be tropical. For example, anything along the western coast of Mexico can be actually pretty economical including places in Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan. You just have to make sure that you choose your accommodations wisely so that does not eat up a good part of your vacation budget.
What is an 'all-inclusive' vacation package?
An all-inclusive vacation package is actually what it sounds like, and that means that your meals are included, and your accommodations are included. Often, activities are included, which means you can horseback ride or go hiking, go biking, kayaking, and so forth. All of those things are included in one price.
What is not included in an all-inclusive vacation package?
Sometimes with an all-inclusive vacation package you'll end up seeing something on your bill called a “resort fee”. And a resort fee is a fee that is added on. It could be $25 or $50 that supposedly covers the cost of some of these extra activities. There may be also a swimming pool fee or there maybe a spa fee and even if you don't use those facilities sometimes you can be charged for them. So it's really important to make sure that you take a look at your bill and if you have not used those facilities or if you think there's something unfair about the charge, to raise the issue with somebody in a management position at the accommodation.
Is alcohol included in an all-inclusive vacation package?
Sometimes alcohol is included in an all-inclusive vacation package, but often it's not. A cruise is a good example of something that is all-inclusive up to a point. Alcohol generally is not included on your cruises, but it depends on the cruise line and it depends on the resort. So if that's important to you, you need to double check, because that can really wreck a budget.
Can I save money on an all-inclusive vacation package?
Sometimes you can save money on an all-inclusive vacation package, but sometimes not. It depends on your vacation situation. For example, if you're there with your children, and your children grow tired of eating at the resort's dining room and want to got out to the nearest fast food outlet, then suddenly you're paying double for your meals. You really need to think about how you want to vacation, what the needs of your family are or whoever your travelling companions might be, and then evaluate whether this is going to work for you.
What are some budget destinations I can find in my backyard?
State parks and national parks represent a really terrific nearby vacation destination for people who want to stick closer to home, and I don't think we should overlook those. I lived in the Midwest for many years and there are places like the Flint Hills of Kansas that offer a terrific respite from the work-a-day worries, an opportunity for the family to get out, bond, and see a part of the country that they have not seen together before. You can also engage in little cultural activities within your own area, for example in many places free summer concerts given in parks and so forth. You can go to museums. There are also factory tours that you can take that are a great opportunity for the family to go and see how bread is made or to see how Hallmark cards are done. All of these represent opportunities. You just have to be a little bit creative in suggesting to your family, "Hey, this is a great way to spend some time."
Are theme parks a good budget destination?
If I were choosing a local budget destination, I would probably steer away from theme parks, for a couple of reasons. Theme parks have become quite expensive in the last few years. A single day admission can, for an adult, run sixty dollars or more. If you add onto that the cost of food and drinks and other things that come up during the day, and by the time you get out of there, you can easily have spent one hundred and fifty dollars per person. That, in my mind, is not a family budget destination.