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How to take a Luxury Vacation on a Budget

Enjoy Your Next Cruise Without Gaining 10 Pounds
Lets face it, one of the joys of a cruise is the sumptuous world class food that is available everywhere and in great quantities. Needless to say, nearly .....
Who doesn't dream of someday taking an expensive, fancy vacation' The problem is, money still doesn't grow on trees and last time I checked, neither do luxury vacations. The great news is that it might be possible to take that dream vacation on your current budget, however tight it may be. Here are a few simple tips that will help in planning an affordable, once in-a-lifetime vacation.

Decide which aspects of your 'luxury vacation' are the most important (and which things don't really matter). For example, for you, the most important thing may be doing expensive activities like visiting theme parks, going on guided tours, skiing, or snowmobiling. To compensate for the big ticket events and activities, cut back on something you won't mind doing without, like perhaps, fine dining or a five-star hotel.
Ask yourself if you are even going to be in your hotel during the day' If you'll be lying on the beach, not your bed, then why pay for the nicest hotel' Or maybe luxury is of lesser importance when it comes to grub. Just by reducing your food budget by avoiding expensive restaurants can really save you a load of cash. Consider using that small fridge in the hotel (you've always wondered why they had it) by visiting the local'dare I say it'grocery store. If you must eat out, then look for less expensive dining options.

Where To Stay
When making reservations, check discount travel websites like Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire, and Orbitz. You can sort hotel options by price listing, which is very helpful in comparing options. These websites also offer discount packages when you buy the flight and hotel from the same site.

If you want to really save money on lodging, note that luxury destinations often have locals who are willing to rent out their houses or condos for a much cheaper price. These will be away from other tourists, have a fabulous location, and you may even have access to a kitchen and more space. Also consider a mom and pop-type Bed n' Breakfast hotel.

Travel
We've all heard of these discount websites, so use them!! Just as a helpful hint, if you buy discount airline tickets during high traffic seasons, you could get bumped to a less-than-desirable flight instead of the direct flight you originally purchased. In this case, the price wouldn't change, but you may lose valuable vacation time! It may be worth the risk, or the hassle, but remember; even the discount prices are more expensive during peak tourist seasons. Instead, consider traveling during the 'off' season.

Transportation
There are a few tricks to renting a car which may fall in your favor. For example, before renting, call your credit card's customer service hotline (on the back of your card) and ask if the card's features include car rental 'loss and damage' coverage or other insurances. If so, then you may be able to waive the car rental's insurance, saving around $10-15 dollars per day, which can definitely add up if you are staying several days or even weeks.

Some vacations may allow for an alternative mode of transportation. If you are planning a trip to Europe, Africa, Argentina, for example, try taking a train. In Europe, the 'Eurail' offers 1st Class tickets for weekly use starting at around $33 a day. This may be cheaper than driving all over Europe in a rental car, paying for gas as you go.

Other Helps
If you are planning visits to theme parks or museums-- check the particular website of the place you are going. They often offer great discounts, printable coupons, or package deals.

If a fancy cruise has always been one of your dreams, consider this: did you know that if you sign up for a cruise as early as possible, it is likely you are going to get bumped to upper class lodging' This is because most people taking a cruise want the cheaper packages, and the lower class rooms fill up quickly.

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