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Cheap or Best?


We get requests all the time that go something like..."We want a cheap vacation somewhere. Where can we go that is fun, cheap and beautiful?" That question usually leads to us asking, "how cheap is cheap and what are you willing to sacrifice for your cheap vacation?" And that is where we really figure out what someone really wants. They want a cheap vacation that includes:

1) Ritz-like accommodations

2) Ocean views

3) Great flight times

4) 6 nights or more

5) Fun activities

And the list goes on. Basically what travelers want these days are 5 star trips at 2 star prices. They went somewhere on the internet and saw that you can go to a 4 ½ star resort for 6 nights for $500 per person. So now people expect to get the Four Seasons for Motel 6 prices.

But here is what so many don't know about those "cheap" deals. First, many would-be-vacationers don't see that the flights are possibly overnight flights. For example, a flight may be leaving Nashville at 2pm but after connecting and layovers, it does not arrive until 10am the next day. That means the price is reflecting a day shorter than you intended. Travelers sometimes miss that little "+1" in the flight detail which means it leaves one day but arrives the next day. Or the flights are double connecting flights and have you leaving in the morning and not arriving at your destinaiton until late that night. Anytime you add connections to flights, you are adding risks such as possible lost luggage, flight delays etc. And who wants to spend their entire first day of their vacation wandering through airports?

Second, cheap deals are usually leaving off one or more components to the trip. Not all online cheap travel sites show you a price per person that includes fees and taxes. They wait until you are on the "book it" page before disclosing ALL the costs. A lot of discount sites also leave off small things like ground transportation. So you have your flights and your hotel in Los Cabos booked. You fly in and then realize that you have no way to get from the airport to the resort you chose. Depending on which area of Cabo, that can be another $25 to $50 per person each way.

Third, cheap deals also can mean cheap service. You land in Punta Cana, you take your shuttle to the resort and low and behold the resort has no record of your reservation. The cheap package site did not send over the paperwork after you clicked the "book it" button. You show your confirmation but the resort sees you booked it through and they tell you to call them because they did not do what they were supposed to do. So you hop on the international call and after about 4 hours or more, you have someone tell you its the resorts fault and that it is between you and the resort manager.

And fourth, cheap deals usually mean cheap rooms, cheap food, cheap drinks, cheap everything else. Some say that rooms are not that important, but when rain happens on a trip, rooms can become very important. Room location can be important if you don't want to overlook employee parking lots or construction sites next door etc. Who wants to settle for bland, tasteless food on vacation. The pictures and description on the cheap booking site made the resort look like a Four Seasons, but it turned out to be closer to a Red Roof Inn.

So here is a secret about travel; there are no 5 star packages out there for 2 star prices. If you want a Four Seasons or a St Regis or a Ritz level vacation, then plan accordingly and budget for it. If you see what looks like a 5 star vacation for a 2 star price, please please look at the details of the trip before getting too excited.

And decide whether you want the best vacation possible or the cheapest? The two are seldom synonymous. The best vacation will maximize your time at your destination. The best vacation will have flights that have realistic connection times and hopefully no more than a single connection. The best vacation will have you at a resort that fits your families preferences and in a room that offers the comfort you deserve while on vacation. The best vacation will have the service you expect, especially if something unforeseen goes wrong. The best vacation has you coming home with the best memories possible. Contact us today to discuss your next travel destination.

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