Photo: By Tadolo
Recently, a reader named Kristin e-mailed me for help with finding a great deal on a vacation. I thought I’d pose this question to y’all, since I know many of you enjoy finding great deals. If you’d like to play travel agent, feel free to post your findings in the comments. Share links if they’re relevent, but realize that they’ll be held for moderation (no need to re-submit). Thanks for your help!
WHO: Kristin and her hubby
WHAT: Her husband would love to go to Hawaii, though Kristin is open to anything like that
WHEN: After March 31. The trip will be 7-10 days long
WHERE: Departing from Knoxville, Tenn. or Johnson City, Tenn. Traveling to…?
WHY: Why not? They’re celebrating 5 years of marriage
HOW MUCH: Kristin is still in the planning stages, but thinks she’d like to do the trip for under $2,000 for everything.
After doing a quick search on Kayak.com to find flights, I’m afraid I have some bad news. It looks like you can expect to pay around $900 per person to fly from Tennessee to Honolulu in April 2010. Add on baggage fees, and well, there goes your 2 grand. That would work well if you could just sleep on the beach and eat found coconuts.
Can you consider other locations?
If you’re looking for something tropical, perhaps you could consider going on a cruise.
For example, this 7-night Carnival cruise departs from Miami and hits Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Jamaica for as little as $389 per person in April for an interior room (there will be additional fees for gratuity and possibly fuel tax, I believe). A flight is looking like it’ll be around $330 each from Knoxville.
That’s $1,438 plus taxes and related fees. BUT! The cruise includes all your meals and lots of on-board entertainment. You can use that spare $600 and upgrade your room, go on a few fun shore excursions or maybe book an appointment for a couples massage at the spa.
Don’t forget to budget for your passports and ground transportation. Oh, and vacation clothes. And souvineers for your children. And etc.
If a cruise sounds like a good fit for you, be sure to check out a variety of departing ports and destinations, as you might be able to find a better deal or a more enjoyable package.
If you prefer to remain on land, consider renting a vacation house in a fun, lower-48 destination. If you’re thinking somewhere sunny, book a rental a few miles from the beach or attractions to save some money.
Last bits of advice:
1. Set your budget and stick to it!
2. Don’t take on debt for your trip. Pay in cash. If you set aside $250 for eight months, you’ll have $2,000.
3. Be open to other, cheaper vacation options.
Readers, what can you suggest for Kristin? And Kristin, what do you think about this post?