A most difficult issue for some travelers is the frustration of being constrained by a travel budget. The temptation is to throw all caution to the wind and just go anyway and pick up the pieces when it's all over. I've been there and done that but not anymore.
A couple of those experiences were enough for me and I then went on a mission of finding ways to take a quality family vacation at absolute minimal cost if such a concept was possible.
Grappling with vacation travel budgets and trying to make it all work on paper before actually getting out the door is hard work and when it's all finished you really are in need of a good vacation!
With the vast selection of holiday packages offered currently there is certain to be a holiday that fits comfortably with most people. But all must fit within available budgets.
From a low-cost budget weekend to the most expensive international holiday, the alternatives available are never-ending.
How many times when looking through the colorful travel brochures have we imagined ourselves pictured on the deck of that magnificent cruise liner somewhere in the Pacific or taking a coffee at a sidewalk cafe in Paris in springtime?
The question then is how does one go about achieving that style of vacation on limited funds and not have to take out a mortgage to do it. Well, after a lot of research I came up with some answers. Naturally it requires a little work, and it would be irresponsible not to say a little money, but nowhere near as much as you may at first think.
The more `investigating I did the more convinced I became that these new concepts would work but first it needed a firm commitment to the plan and a determination that this was going to work. That simply meant the ability to think outside the square regardless of obstacles and take on a pro-active attitude and 'do' something rather than just sit around 'thinking' about it.
To be successful, 'money' had to be out of the frame, at least for now while the plans were laid out. "Easier said than done" you may say, perhaps, but the stakes were high and so was the prize - and at that stage anyway we hadn't spent a dime so nothing was at stake other than a little hurt personal pride if things didn't work out, and so I figured it was more than worth a good try.
Does one still 'kick for touch' and go for what looks remarkably similar to all previous vacations or for the outrageously luxurious which normally wouldn't even be considered. The research had revealed a number of strategies that indicated that the second option was not only possible but could be repeated at any time.
There are just two alternatives that I wanted to introduce here which have successfully worked for thousands of travelers including myself for years. There are many more, but for now just two. One is about accommodation and the other is about cruising, or more correctly, luxury cruising. Let's first look at the major vacation expense of accommodation.
Locating safe and comfortable accommodation for the family always comes at a price - until now. There are alternatives to high cost hotel accommodation and when you know the strategies to find them you will never revert to the old way of organising accommodation again!
I saved $9,000 on accommodation in Bavaria during a four week summer vacation by following some very simple suggestions from some friends who travel frequently all over the world and never use hotel accommodation.
The second idea I want to share with you is about cruising.
Thousands of travelers now are attracted to cruising as an alternative to a land based vacation and the associated high hotel accommodation costs.
Just consider how practical that is. A magnificent new ship, a single check-in, no transfers, comfortable suite, all meals and even leisure activities and shopping on board. Then there's the exotic ports of call along the way and you have a complete luxury vacation neatly packaged ready to go.
So how do the costs stack up against a shore based vacation in a five star hotel?
That's a difficult question to answer because the variables are too numerous to make an objective comparison here but both would be comparable on a daily basis and would be substantial.
But since money was not going to be a part of the process it doesn't matter a hoot how much a five star hotel or the world's most luxurious cruise liner would charge. You see I'm talking about free accommodation and free luxury cruising - did you get that? Yes - I did say free!
What would a four week-long family vacation in Vienna in Austria or maybe at a tropical beach on Moorea in Tahiti in five star accommodation next summer cost you? Make some enquiries and get some prices and then see as I did what you will save if you know how to say 'no thanks' to the hotel bill! But it doesn't need to be in Austria or Tahiti though. Think of a location anywhere around the world, put the plan into action, decide when you want to leave and then get packing.
Now, maybe you want to try out your sea legs and take a luxury cruise through the Aegean or around the South Pacific and again you can choose where you want to go and when. Remember I said that you can cruise free, and you can if you are willing to spend an hour or so out of each day at sea chatting informally to a few passengers about a skill, hobby or interest you have. The cruise lines are constantly scouting for suitable people to entertain their guests while at sea. There's a huge bonus that comes with this also. Most folks like to have their spouse, partner or a friend with them on a cruise and the good news is they will get the same benefits from this as you will - what I'm saying now is that they could also cruise free - can you believe that?
When you learn how to apply these little known strategies don't waste a minute - start packing, have a fabulous holiday, and be prepared to save serious money!