July 21, 2009

Vacationing with Family- Doing Your Own Research





If you have the time and the patience, doing your own research on a vacation is much cheaper then if you hire someone to do it for you. With the Internet, you have all of the info at your fingers. Maybe even more.
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When you decide you want to go to "X" location for your vacation, go to work! Research the area. Are you going to camp or are you going to stay in a hotel? How about a house? A house sounds extravagant, BUT if you have a family or two traveling with you, this may be the way to go! If it is just you, a hotel or apartment may be the more cost effective way to go. If you are going to go camping, make sure your vehicle can withstand the traveling! If you are traveling in mountains, you may want to check with a mechanic to make sure your vehicle can handle the weight of your camper. If not, another option would be better then having to repair your van or truck when you get back! (Speaking from personal experience here!)
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So, let say you are wanting to visit Niagara Falls. First, do a search on Niagara Falls. Are there any big events going on? During the holidays, Spring Break or big events at the vacation spot itself, cost will obviously be increased during these times. Is it worth it to you to go at these times, or can you put it off a week or two? Then start to look for your housing or places to camp.
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Instead of making a thousand copies if web pages from your computer, grab a notebook and write down info (notebooks are like $.05 this time of year). If the address is too much to keep track of, tag it under your FAVORITES at the top or left side of your screen. I have a folder under my favorites labeled "Vacations", and when I see a great place or am doing research on a vacation, I save the link there.
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In your notebook, don't be afraid to take lots of notes. You don't want to come back later and find a price for SOMETHING, but you don't know if it was for the certain date you were wanting or another date. Make them detailed, and make sure to always get a phone number for the place. You can always call them and ask questions later. We always do this! The Internet does not include answers for everything!
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Also, like we have talked about before, decide a budget. How much can you spend? Keep with it. Don't be afraid to say NO to something. You don't want to have to have your electric turned off because you decided to do more then you should have on your vacation! (That of course is an extreme, but you know what I'm sayin'!)
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If you need a hotel along the way to your destination, do your own checking here also. Look at Travelocity, Priceline or TravelZoo. These are great places to compare lots of different hotel prices, as well as flights and car rental. I have used all of these and have had good experiences with them all. They will provide you with detailed maps, and phone numbers also. These also include great prices for VERY nice hotels. We have stayed in some pretty "ritzy" hotels before, and payed a lot less then you would think!
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Before you book any vacation, make sure you read up on it. Figure in all costs. Travel (gas, airline tickets, etc), Housing, Consider the reviews (is there review after review that says this place has horrible service? Don't book it!).
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A lot of this is just common sense, but I wanted to encourage you to dig, then dig further! And you can do it! I actually enjoy it! I like knowing that we aren't going to go broke on hidden costs. I love knowing I have contacted the place and they have given me more info then the Internet provided.
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Have fun, and I want to encourage you: life is short, kids grow FAST... get out there and have some fun with them without going broke!
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PS- I am in no way being compensated by Travelocity, Priceline or Travel Zoo, but if they would like to compensate me, I would humbly accept. ;)

3 comments:

Michele said...

There are so many things people can do for so little money that there isn't an excuse not to go on vacation. Thank goodness for the internet!

Flor said...

Its really a good idea to do some research on a vacation trips before any decision. Internet is the best way to get great travel deals. Priceline is one of my favorite travel websites.

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