6 Secrets the Travel Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know About Cruise Travel Deals

Cruise travel is a fantastic way to explore the world and you may find yourself a cruise enthusiast after your first taste of the luxury. But there are a few details that don’t show up in the brochures that most first-timers on a cruise travel deal have to learn the hard way. Here is a list of those dirty little secrets that you need to know to make sure that you enjoy your cruise and don’t overspend your budget.

You Get What You Pay For

1) Yes, it’s trite, but in the case of cruise travel deals it is especially true. One sneaky way to get people onboard is to offer low-priced come-on fares that seem too good to be true. Well, often that is the case. Generally speaking, fares that are higher tend to include more. The flip side is that the so-called cruise travel deals may offer a low price fare, but then nickel and dime you to death so that you haven’t saved anything at all.

2) Hidden costs and onboard charges are where the cruise lines make a big chunk of their revenue, so travelers must be aware of what is included and what is not. Below are some examples of the “ala carte” payment system common to many cruise travel deals:

3) Anything you buy onboard will be at least 25% more expensive than you would expect to pay on land. A $6 bottle of suntan lotion will likely run $10 or even more. So whether it’s impulse buying in the gift shop or grabbing items that your husband forgot to pack, expect it to be overpriced. You are a captive audience and can’t go down the street to another store if prices are too high. The list of items in this category is long but things like alcohol, lattes, hair cuts, sodas, dry cleaning, toothpaste, suntan lotion, swimsuits, etc are on the short list.

In addition, every cruise makes it very easy for you to spend via charges to your room tab. There isn’t the emotional moment of pain when you ask yourself, “do I really need this?” like you might if you had to pull out your credit card first.

4) Also expect a few cleverly hidden charges before you ever get onboard the cruise ship. Unexpected fees that were not clearly spelled out in the advertised cruise travel deals can include port taxes, fuel surcharges, and mandatory tips.

5) In addition, the cruise line or vendor will try to sell you on package airfare, airport transfers, and “luggage service” that can be had at a better price elsewhere. At this point your $400 cruise travel deal is starting to approach $1500 and you haven’t even left home yet.

6) The heavily advertised cruise travel deals are often for the least desirable accommodations onboard. Expect rooms near the noisy engine, inside with no windows, at either end of boat where it gets rough, and even below sea level. Check before you book, so you at least know what you’re getting. It doesn’t hurt to inquire about what a more desirable room would cost – you may be pleasantly surprised.

Take an hour and do a little research before you book your next cruise travel deal. You will not regret that small time investment. Make sure you know exactly what is included, what will cost extra, and when and how each cost is assessed. It’s a lot easier to save in advance than it is to try to pay off an unexpected $2000 credit card bill after your trip for the cruise travel deals you saw advertised at just $349 per person. Or was that a cruise travel “steal”?

Last Minute Travel Deals – 9 Ways to Find Last Minute Travel Bargains

Let’s say you’ve got to “get out of Dodge” quickly. You need to find a flight now but you’d still like to find some last minute travel bargains.

In the past you might have had to bite the bullet and pay whatever the travel agent was asking, but nowadays, with the internet, it’s even possible to find last minute travel deals.

If you’ve been looking at the travel industry there’s a lot of competition on the net. That’s really good news for travelers. We now have a lot more options for finding last minute travel packages. With a little bit of research we can compare the cost of airline tickets, hotels and car rentals. And with a little bit of luck we can even find a choice of last minute travel specials.

Here are 9 things to do for you to have a shot at getting those elusive last minute travel bargains.

Be Flexible

While it might not be convenient, if you can travel a day or two earlier or later than you planned you can usually get cheap airfare deals.
Also, if you can leave early in the morning or perhaps take the “red eye” you could save some money.
Don’t Panic – Check Out Several Travel Websites

It’s not a good idea to freak out when you’re looking for last minute flights. Take an extra half hour to look.

Check out several sites. You could find discounts that will save you a lot of money.
If you want to find one of the last minute travel specials it’s usually not a good idea to jump on the first thing you see.

Fly on Tuesday or Wednesday

If your schedule permits, try to book your flights mid-week. That’s usually the slowest part of the week.

You can often save at least 25% on your airline tickets by flying on one of those days.
Sign Up For Travel Alerts

This you’re going to have to do in advance. Airlines email people that are on their travel alerts list about last minute travel bargains.

So sign up today in case you might need it tomorrow.
Subscribe to Online Travel Newsletters

A lot of sites that are related to travel have newsletters.

Some of them will let you know when there are last minute travel deals. They’ll send you an email when they find any last minute travel bargains that meet your criteria.
Look at Airlines Websites

Some airlines only post their last minute travel deals on their own website. Some airlines don’t post last minute travel specials on any website.

But because some do…

when you check directly on the airlines’ websites you might find one of the last seats on a flight you want that you won’t find anywhere else.
Look for Package Deals

This could help if you’re traveling with someone.

Sometimes you’ll find last minute travel packages that cover your airline tickets and hotel reservations, but they’re usually for double occupancy.
See If There’s Another Airport Nearby

If you’re flying into a major airport, check to see if there’s a smaller airport nearby.

Often flying into a smaller airport can save you both time and money.
Find A Good Travel Agent

Again, this is something you’ll have to prepare for. Internet reservations have cut into travel agents’ income.

A lot of times, in order to generate a loyal clientele, travel agents will use their inside information to find last minute travel bargains and pass them on to you.
If you find a travel agent who goes out of their way to help you, consider using them for making travel arrangements for you in the future. They could be worth their weight in gold.

How to Divorce Your Travel Agent and Plan Your Own Trip

When thinking about international travel, most people’s first thought is to hire a travel agent. Why? In several years of travel, I have never been able to find a travel agent who can beat the deals I find for myself. It does take a little more time, yes, but it makes the trip all the more worthwhile when you realize you are the one who designed the trip. It belongs to you.

Research your destination The first thing you should do is research your destination. If, for example, you are going to England, decide if it would better suit you to drive or take the train. If you decide to drive, you will need to investigate things such as insurance, rules of the road, and mileage. You also need to figure out what interests you – do you want to see historical sites? Do you want to visit amusement parks? What strikes you as fun? Use the internet to find the tourism sites for the area, but don’t neglect YouTube or a simple internet search to find out what others have found in the area.

Cut your biggest expenses The first expense you will encounter in international travel is your airfare. There are many sites out there that will be of use to you. Cheaptickets.com, Travelocity.com, and Kayak.com are just three of the sites. A few sites allow you to receive email alerts when the price drops. Start looking several months out and make sure you check out nearby airports. It seems strange, but sometimes smaller airports can have even better deals than larger ones. Check out fares daily or at least every other day.

For hotels in Europe, I’ve found that it is best to mix and match. Travelodge or Premier Inns are great inexpensive hotels that are kind to the wallet, but it is also nice to splurge a bit. Bed and Breakfasts are one fairly inexpensive ways to do that. Don’t forget to factor in that you are saving money on breakfast!

One way to find an inexpensive hotel is to simply type “cheap hotel Paris” and look at the results. Make sure you check out reviews on the hotel, though, before you book!

For transportation, one inexpensive car rental clearinghouse is AutoEurope.com. Simply type in your destination and the site pulls up the best rates it has. If you can find a cheaper rate through a rental agency, AutoEurope’s customer service agents will often match it. Also, check to see what the cost for gas is in your chosen locale. If you are staying close to major cities, it might be best to stick with the train or bus, as it is not easy to drive in a large town. If you are planning to drive and visit a major city, plan for that city to be last and drop the car off beforehand. Paying for parking will often be expensive.

Despite the current economy, travel is still a luxury that you should not give up! With a little planning you can enjoy a wonderful vacation and go exactly where YOU want to go. No pre-packaged deals for you!