MM Travels : Stretching Your Budget
No one ever said travel was cheap. Nothing in life really is and with our Canadian dollar in decline, we Canadians are feeling the pinch now more than ever. Even though our travel budgets may be slashed significantly, there’s still ways for us to travel smarter and stretch our funds to get the most out of our vacations.
After many years of travelling, we’ve been able to figure out a few tips and tricks that enable our family to keep travelling, even in the hardest of times.
Here are some tips to get you started!
- Look at neighbourly destinations offering deals and packages. For us Canadians, visiting the U.S can be a struggle and with March break around the corner, many families are talking about missing their annual warm destination trips. However, if they were to probe a bit, they’d realize that spots like Myrtle Beach are offering great deals and savings for Canadians through their Can-Am program. Alternatively, look at destinations where the cost of living is cheaper than your current location.
- Speak to a travel agent. Many believe that search engines have eliminated the traditional travel agent but this isn’t necessarily true. For long haul flights especially, these guys have access to special rates and discounts unavailable to the general public due to their associations with networks. I find it best to do your own research and then compare it with what the travel agents have on offer.
- Research travel periods if you have a destination in mind. The best advice I have is to use Google Flights to determine the best times to travel. Simply key in your destination and departure location and click on the calendar to get a view of the flexible date options and price graph. It’s a fabulous way to see the best times to travel if you have a destination in mind. I’ve easily saved $300 per person on average by switching our travel by a couple days or months, especially for long haul destinations like Sri Lanka.
- Look at your frequent flyer miles. We all shop and many of us have credit cards that help us reap our travel rewards, look to see if you can use these to offset your airfare or hotel costs.
- Beware of hidden fees. Many of us are quick to jump on discount deals when we see them but we should always be aware of hidden fees. Recently I was going to jump on a WOW airline deal to Iceland only to realize that by the time I would have paid for our baggage (can’t travel without bags with kids in tow!) and accounted for the onboard meals, it was actually cheaper for us to buy the regular priced ticket!
- Explore nearby airports. Sometimes it’s cheaper to fly to a nearby airport than it is to a central one. We often fly with Porter Airlines because they offer many sales and access to the many cities we want to visit. For example we flew with them to New Jersey and then took the train into New York City and when we want to visit D.C we flew with them to Alexandria, Virginia.
- Forget the hotels. Renting an apartment or room in a house is not only cheaper; it will also enable you to save money by cooking your many meals at home. Only disadvantage is that you will have to forgo the many comforts of hotel service.
- Subscribe to travel newsletters and groups. Many airlines will email travel alerts and offer upgrades during certain periods, so if there’s an airline you frequently travel on, be sure to follow them on social media. Same goes for local travel groups who highlight specials and one off deals from your departure airport.
Don’t cancel your family vacation because of the current exchange rates, instead explore other ways to still stay within your budget and be sure to check out these tips on how to travel on a budget.
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