Frugal Travel- But You'd Never Know It

Thursday, May 6, 2010

It’s been three years since your last vacation. You’ve been working as hard as ever, but with the economy in a tailspin, your company has gone through cutbacks, layoffs, and a suspension of all raises (cost of living included). You’re lucky just to have a job, even if you are doing the work of three people now (for the same pay). So it’s no surprise you haven’t had the extra money to plan a vacation (although honestly, you’re beginning to see Cruella de Vil every time you look in the mirror, what with the pale complexion and crazed two-tone hair…no money for monthly visits to the salon, either). But you just can’t afford the week in Hawaii you’ve been yearning for. Luckily, there are a multitude of other equally desirable options when it comes to planning an island getaway (for a fraction of the cost).

The first thing to look into is a cruise. People seem to have this unfounded notion that cruises are more expensive than other types of vacations, but in truth, they are all inclusive. Imagine lodgings, meals, and transportation all rolled into one cost. And if you live close to a port of departure, you don’t even have to consider airfare. You can choose the length of your cruise (they tend to be in the 3-10 day range), your accommodations (rooms without windows cost less, and how much time do you spend in your room anyway?), and which ports to visit (they generally have many routes to choose from). Of course, any extras are on you (shore excursions, spa visits), but that’s no different from any other vacation.

There are also plenty of exotic locales in and around the United States that will cater to the traveler on a budget. While Hawaii can get a bit pricey, consider as an alternative the islands of the Caribbean. For example, you could enjoy a four-night stay at a resort in Puerto Rico for under $500 per person. That may sound like a lot, but you might pay the same for one night at a similar hotel in Hawaii. And you’ll enjoy equally beautiful beaches (probably less crowded) along with the warm blue waters of the Caribbean.

The Bahamas can be even less expensive. Seasonal sales can get you a room at a beach resort for four nights starting at $300-$400 per person. The trick is to check travel sites and wait for deals on the vacation destination of your choice. There are all kinds of bargains to be found for the patient buyer, and the off season is not only a great time to travel, it is usually easier to get time off work, too. So go get your highlights the natural way and enjoy some fun in the sun at a quarter of the cost!

-Guest Post by Sarah Harris from Massage Therapy
See massage therapy schools and salaries.

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