Tag Archives: Travel

How to Save Money When Booking a Vacation Through Your Travel Agency

With an uncertain economy and, for many, an uncertain future, some people are opting to put off vacations. Despite the potential problems on the horizon, that does not have to be the case. When you work with a travel agency, you can save a lot of money. Almost anyone can afford to travel if they follow these six tips when booking a vacation through a travel agency:

Tip #1: Be clear that you’re on a very tight budget.

If you want to save money when you vacation, your best bet is to tell your travel agent that from the start. There is little to be gained by hiding the fact that you want to travel on a shoestring budget. Furthermore, be really clear about what that budget is, since “inexpensive” to one person is not cheap to another. The clearer you are about your price range, the better. That way, your travel agent can put together a vacation package that you can afford, not work for a long time on something that doesn’t even come close to your budget.

Tip #2: Have flexible travel dates and times.

The more options you give your travel agent when it comes to your vacation dates, the better. Flights tend to change prices drastically over the weekend, so moving your vacation just two or three days could save you hundreds of dollars. Avoiding holidays is also good. When you’re flexible, your travel agent can also barter for hotel rooms, show tickets, and so forth with other companies in the travel industry. For example, if your travel agent knows that another agent is trying to fill rooms he or she bought in a chunk for a discounted price, you can get a better deal on one of those rooms. Give your travel agent a bit of wiggle room to negotiate. Likewise, if you are willing to travel at undesirable times, like in the early morning hours or overnight, you may be able to get a cheaper deal, at least on the transportation costs.

Tip #3: Ask for a cheaper version of your dream vacation.

During your initial meeting with your travel agent, have an open mind when it comes to destination. Talk about your dream vacation spot, but then hear out your agent on places that are similar but not as expensive. For example, say you want to visit Aspen for a gorgeous ski vacation. It might be less expensive (but just as fun) to go skiing at one of the resorts in Vermont. You might feel like your compromising too much, but think about your destination choices long and hard. If it is just the name holding you back, you might want to just let go and take a risk on the less expensive location. You might have just as much fun if you stay open-minded

Tip #4: Stay in the United States.

Work with a travel agent who books domestic trips so that you can stay in the United States. In most cases, you should save money on transportation since you will not have to travel as far. You may also be able to travel without documentation, as long as you have a picture ID. When you travel out of the country, you need a passport at the very least, and you may need a visa, certain vaccinations, or other travel documents as well. When you stay in the United States, you should also not have to worry about added cell phone expenses to make calls, losing money on the exchange rate, or paying top dollar to take your luggage with you.

Tip #5: Be willing to do some of the planning yourself.

The whole reason you use a travel agent is to avoid having to do the planning work yourself, but if you compromise on that a bit, you may be able to save money. Instead of working with a travel agent who plans every last detail, get someone that is a little less expensive and just book your flight and hotel through the agent. When it comes to the other stuff, like getting tickets to an event or making restaurant reservations, you can do the work yourself.

Tip #6: Organize a group tour.

A great way to save money on your vacation is to organize a tour through your travel agency. Group rates will apply, but more importantly, the person who organized the vacation typically gets to travel for free. The down side of that is that you have to commit to finding a certain number of people who will go on vacation with you, which can be hard. You are also responsible for them if they do not pay, and you have to, essentially, share you vacation. However, this is a great way to save money and make sure that you can still travel, even if you are on a budget.

Make Money From Your Adventure Travel (Part One)

What if you could not only cut the cost of your next adventure vacation, but turn a profit from your travel as well? Even better, what if you could turn your adventure travel into a high-income business?

If this sounds too good to be true, let me just say that many people do this every day. Yes it takes work, and planning and persistence (the very things required to succeed in any endeavor in life) and don’t expect to get rich. But you can expect to become a high earner and get paid to travel the world – not a bad way to live if you ask me.

There are many ways to make money when you travel, but for now I am going to focus on the big three: 1) Travel photography, 2) Travel writing, and 3) Importing items abroad to be sold on online auction sites.

In this first article, I am going to concentrate on travel photography.

Digital cameras have revolutionized the world of photography and have opened the doors of profit to average people.

  1. With digital cameras, you do not have the expense of film to buy. Aside from the obvious benefit of lowering your costs to enter this field, no films also means you can practice your skills over and over again. Take a look at the photos shot by teenagers on their camera phones that they post on their blogs. You will see some very advanced skill levels on these blogs. In years past, these skills would have taken years to acquire, but with digital cameras the learning curve is much steeper.
  2. Another advance in digital photography is the fact that they can now be displayed, sold and transmitted online. An amateur can set up a small website to display his or her photographs and be in business over night.

But what kinds of photos are most saleable to the adventure traveler? Here is a brief list of ideas I came up with, but you should not limit yourself to my ideas. Study magazines like National Geographic or other travel publications and look at what subject they buy and publish.

What to photograph when you travel abroad, in order to sell your pictures later:

  • Children. Take lots of pictures of local children. Show their activities, play and what they have to deal with in their lives. Don’t take pictures of sad or impoverished, third world children unless you are a photojournalist with a news organization. And even then, don’t expect to sell many of these pictures. Instead, try to find, smiling, and happy children. If you can capture these children at play or engaging in activities unique to their local customs, all the better. Happy children sell photographs.
  • Beaches. I am assuming of course that many of your buyers may be in the travel industry, so you can well understand how saleable beach photographs are.
  • Scenic wonders. The more natural beauty you can shoot the better. If you can take a picture of the wondrous, multi-colored sunset, or the sharp spires of rock formations just off the coast, you will have some very profitable photographs.
  • Dangerous local activities. For the same reason we rubberneck at a traffic accident in the opposite lane, people are fascinated by pictures of someone kissing a cobra, wrestling a crocodile, running through streets full of angry bulls or balancing on a tightrope. If you see such dangerous activities, take a picture.
  • Local customs and local costumes. Readers of travel magazines are interested in what makes the people in other lands different from our own neighborhoods.
  • Historic places. Photographs of the peaceful fields where the battle of Waterloo was fought, the ruin of an old medieval castle, or even the grave of Jim Morrison all hold fascination from a historical perspective.
  • Tourist activities. Just the opposite of local customs, these activities are meant to entice tourists to come to enjoy sports like parasailing, or shooting through jungle trees on a zip line. If someone might be influenced by your picture to make travel plans to this place, you should be able to sell the picture to some publisher.
  • Nightlife. Tourists don’t want to go to bed at eight when they are on vacation. Take pictures of the places they can go to and things they can do when they visit this destination.
  • Places to shop. Another category of pictures that can entice visitors. After all, everyone wants to bring home a souvenir when they travel. Let your photograph show them where.
  • Unusual signs. These are more common than you think, especially when someone with limited English is trying to communicate to travelers. Signs also give local flavor and add humor.
  • Local foods. Can you take pictures of some of the exotic foods that are prepared in this destination? If your photograph looks scrumptious, it is saleable.
  • Animals. Nothing sets the scene of a local place better than indigenous animals. If you can capture the animal’s beauty, your photo will be valuable.

In part two we will discuss how to make travel writing a profitable business you’re your next adventure vacation. And in part three, we will discuss importing products from overseas to be sold online through auction sites like eBay.

COPYRIGHT © 2006, Charles Brown. All rights reserved.