I’m a budget traveler—it’s a badge of honor that I wear proudly. Being a budget traveler means that I can take 5 trips in a year and spend the same amount of money that many people would spend on 1 or 2 trips. And, I always plan vacations with short flight layovers (i.e. 1-2 hours MAX) and do tons of research to make sure that the hotels/resorts I am staying at are highly-rated and the best bang-for-my-buck.
Now, there have been times in my life where I was not the travel planner and it PAINS me to spend money that could easily have been saved with a little pre-planning. I thought I would share an example of a recent trip and the savings that could have been realized with a little more planning.
Location: Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, Riviera Maya Mexico
I should begin by explaining that this is NOT a resort I would normally select due to the cost. It’s very expensive (and was worth it!) but I typically choose more mid-range hotels that also get great reviews (like this one!) to save money that can be used for other trips.
Some of the main ways I save money when vacation planning is to do as much research/price checking ahead of time. Here are some of the main differences you’ll see between being a retail traveler and a budget traveler:
• Flight and hotel were booked separately (save $345 if you book flight and hotel together)
• Transportation was not pre-arranged (save $60 if you pre-arrange transportation)
• A random day trip to Cozumel came up that wasn’t pre-arranged (save $270 and stay on your all-inclusive resort–you paid for the amenities!)
• Don’t park in the most expensive parking lot (save $35 and park in the farthest lot)
• There were hotel and flight upgrade costs (save $620 and be a little less comfortable :-))
• Spa services ($200 per massage! Wow!)
Would I recommend this resort to other travelers? Absolutely. It was just as Grand as the name suggests. I just would save a little cash here and there where you can (and I never take upgrades :-))–it adds up ($1700 for this one trip).
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