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Cheap Vacations

Everyone loves to take a vacation. Yet, we don’t take as many as we would like throughout the year. Why is this? Is it that we don’t have enough time to spare a week? Or perhaps it is that we do not have enough money to spend? Usually people are just busy and don’t want to spend money on an experience when there are bills to pay or physical things to buy. A lot of people have their bleeding money habits, like alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, etc. What if you could take a vacation for less? I know I would go on more vacations a year if they were more affordable. So how do we accomplish this?

Benefits of Vacations:

Vacations are beneficial for various reasons. Vacations are stress relievers. With lower levels of stress, physical health and happiness improves. What if by taking preventative measures, such as taking vacations periodically throughout the year, you could lower blood pressure? Even simply looking forward to an upcoming vacation makes people happier just knowing that it’s coming up in a few months. I have a vacation three months away and I’ve been thinking about it just about every day. I’m so excited for it. It lifts my spirits. Sometimes it’s better to try and take preventative measures rather than waiting for problems to pop up and then trying to fix them. An example is would you rather take a vacation or two per year with your significant other to keep the relationship in a good place and reconnect or wait until you need couples counseling. I’ll take the vacation any day.

Savings Sites: Groupon/Living Social

I love the Groupon and Living Social sites. I have only used them so far for restaurants and goods, but they have vacation packages as well. They offer various types of discounted vacation packages to places all over the world. I want to try one of these for my next vacation. I’ve wanted to try one of the all inclusive resorts in Mexico or someplace near there where there are beautiful sandy beaches with blue water. Also, if you use http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=iqou6QyOfitKIh%2Fr8rpBGA%3D%3D first, you can save even more money. Right now you can save 6% on Living Social purchases and 3% on Groupon by simply going through a link, and this percent changes too so it can be even more! That site is awesome to use prior to purchasing things online in general so check it out!

Credit Card Deals:

It pays to get a Delta Skymiles American Express credit card. When you sign up and spend a certain amount within a specified time period you can get 30,000 bonus miles, which is like $300 off your trip purchase. When you use it to make purchases you get miles too. You get the first year free which is cool. And I upgraded to the platinum card, which you do have to pay a yearly fee to have but you get a complementary companion ticket for a trip as well. Also, a cool thing to try and do if you can while traveling and time is not of the essence is to offer to take a later flight if you flight is over booked. My boyfriend did this on his last work trip and received a voucher for $400, good as cash, off another flight within a year. This doesn’t happen all the time and it doesn’t work if you are trying to catch a cruise ship, but if you can it’s an awesome way to make a good amount of money to bank for a future trip. And the first bag you check is free too with this card!

Booking Site Deals:

Depending on the type of vacation you want to take there are various ways to go about getting the best deal possible. There are lots of sites to try out: Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire, Hotels.com, and Priceline are just a few. I’ve used many of these and have found decent savings.

Las Vegas Vacation:

For a one week hotel stay at the Encore in Las Vegas you can save just over $200 by going through Orbitz rather than directly at the hotel’s site, however this would be different if you have a membership card with the hotel/casino and receive discounts, which many places do in Vegas. I would recommend the Encore/Wynn if you want a relaxing, luxury type of vacation but not a cheap one. Vegas is a place that you can get nice hotels rooms in good areas for cheap prices, it just takes a little research. The ideal place for a room is right in the middle of the strip, think Flamingo area. I wouldn’t really recommend getting one off of it because then you have to get a rental car or taxi all the time. I love to walk so I tend to stay right in the middle so I can walk around everywhere. It is not really feasible to walk from one end (Wynn) to the other end (MGM). So get a taxi, rental car, bus pass, or plan to spend hours walking to do this if you really want to but I don’t recommend it. The weather here also might not be the best when it’s above 100 degrees in the summer to be walking a lot. I like to go in the other months of the year when it’s a little cooler, but the downside is no swimming in the pools when it’s only 70 degrees or so. It seems like pool season is for 90 degree weather out there. For some reason they close the pools down even though the weather is still beautiful.

All you have to do is sign up for the player’s rewards card at two sets of properties: the Total Rewards player’s card and the Mlife player’s card. Most casinos fall under one of these two cards. For example Total Rewards encompasses: Caesars, Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, The Quad, Paris, Planet Hollywood, and Rio. Mlife encompasses: MGM Grand, Aria, Bellagio, Vdara, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Monte-Carlo, New York New York, Luxor, Excalibur, and Circus Circus. Generally speaking Total Rewards properties are not so expensive compared to the Mlife properties. Mlife is a bit more luxurious. But both sets of properties have a variety of casinos/hotels from cheaper to very expensive. Whenever you gamble, buy something, book a hotel room… just make sure to use your card! It gives you points that you can use to purchase food, plus when they see you gambling then you can get discounted room offers or show tickets. My favorite rooms based on price and location: Flamingo, Harrah’s, and Bally’s. My favorite rooms based on the actual elegance of the room: Bellagio, Encore, Wynn, PH, and Paris. My favorite pool is the one at the Flamingo because they have flamingos and other types of birds and fish outside to look at, plus it’s beautiful with all of the greenery and palm trees surrounding the pool. I’ve stayed at quite a few properties in Las Vegas, most were because I got the room free or discounted with my Total Rewards Players Club Card. It’s great when you can get a vacation for super cheap by getting comped rooms, free food from rewards card credits, and free drinks at all of the casinos! I didn’t even mention that when you gamble in Vegas the drinks are free! Just be sure to tip a dollar or two to the server. The higher end casinos give out Grey Goose/Cîroc too! Vegas is one of my favorite places to travel to because it’s a fun, cheap vacation if you do it right. How many people can say that about Vegas?!

Cruise Vacation:

I have been on two cruises in my life. Cruises aren’t the cheapest type of vacation but they are defiantly worth it. Money can add up quickly with a cruise so just be sure to have everything figured out ahead of time prior to booking to make sure you are happy price wise. At first you see deals for just $50/night for a cruise for a week so you think this vacation will cost $350 which isn’t bad at all when you think about the fact that most places you travel to that price alone will only cover a hotel for about 3 nights. With a cruise you get a nice room to sleep in, tons of activities, delicious food, and spectacular views. But, when you add another person, because rates are based on double occupancy, it turns to $700. Then add on a few hundred dollars more for port fees, taxes, and tips. Then there is the flight, taxi ride to the port, a hotel room to stay in the night before leaving for the cruise if you are going during the winter to be sure to allow enough time in case of flight delays. Needless to say it adds up quickly. It is still so worth it. I’m thinking about taking my next cruise with my boyfriend next year in January. January to me is one of the best times of the year to cruise: prices are typically as cheap as they get, you avoid hurricane season, flights aren’t bad because of all the holiday travel in November and December so prices are pretty good, and it’s my birthday! The only thing I would suggest due to weather is to get in the night before and stay in a hotel in case of flight delays. Also, you will need extra money for alcohol (since that’s not included), excursions, and souvenirs. Cruising is a great economical vacation. Be sure to use tons of sunscreen! It’s easy to get burned while cruising.

Visit Friends and Family:

Why not go travel to somewhere a friend or family member lives and has invited you out to stay? I have friends in California, Utah, Florida, New York, and Germany. I’ve visited all except two so far. This gives you a personal tour guide, a place to stay for free, and an opportunity to catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a while. All you have to pay for is your flight and food. It’s a good idea to treat your host to a dinner out or some sort of way to thank them for letting you stay at their home, and as always leave the place cleaner than you found it. Their home isn’t a hotel, be courteous.

Road Trip:

These types of trips are great because you don’t have to worry about airport security and what you can and cannot pack in your bag, you can travel at your own pace, and stop to see sights along the way. It’s a great way to travel within your own state or to a neighboring state. Niagara Falls is a great place for people who live in Michigan to go see. Sometimes my boyfriend and I would go to a small downtown area to stay so we can walk around, have a few drinks, eat dinner, watch a movie, go bowling, and just walk to our room at the end of the night.

Up North:

Maybe this is just a thing that people in Michigan do? I’m not sure. But people around here love to go to one of the Great Lakes for the weekend or head Up North to beautiful serene nature. There they can swim, walk around forest paths, bike, fish, or simply watch deer. It’s a laidback type of vacation for outdoorsy type of people.

Florida:

This is a great place to go if you love the sun and water. If you can find friends or family members to go with you and share a time share or rent out someone’s home it’s a great time. Just be sure to lather up with sunscreen! Don’t forget to check out Disney World and Universal Studios.

Europe:

This is a very pricey vacation. I’ve only traveled to Europe twice, once in high school for a class trip to Spain and the other time to visit my friend who lives in Germany. Flights alone will be more than $1,000 per person, plus hotel, food, car rental, and activity costs will add up quickly. It’s very much worth it to see such a vastly different culture from America. I can’t wait to go back one day. I hope to see the UK, France, and Italy. This will have to be one vacation that I need to save up a few thousand for.

No matter what type of vacation you find enjoyable or what your budget is, just try to take time out of your busy schedule to relax and enjoy life. Life goes by so quickly, make sure to spend quality time with those that you love to benefit your health! Your health is a great excuse to take a vacation!

Travel


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