How to Save Money on Vacation Travel
By John Krieger, Collin County LIVING WELL Magazine
Change is the Only Constant
If there is one constant in the travel business it is change. Travel is affected by literally everything on this planet from climate to political change. Just look at 2013. So far this year, the travel industry has been affected by the acquisition of American Airlines by US Air, the Carnival Cruise Line’s Triumph mishap, a record-breaking stock market performance, rising tensions in the Middle East and domestic terrorism.
Is it Safe to Travel?
People often ask me if there is any place in the world that’s safe to go. Our shrinking world has forced us, as Americans, to join the world community and face realities the majority of people around the globe have dealt with for years. They continue to travel in growing numbers and so do we. As a frequent international traveler, I can attest to the fact that the world is safer than you think––if you use good judgment. You are at greater risk in some of our major U.S. cities than you are in most foreign destinations.
The Good News
The really good news is that with the exception of airline travel, all travel products have gotten better and the prices are lower than 10 years ago. The economy and proliferation of all kinds of travel products have forced vacation destinations, tour companies, hotels, cruise lines, river cruise companies, even rental car companies to pack more value into their products to attract your discretionary travel dollars. Today’s educated traveler expects more and is willing to pay for it.
Cruise Ship Innovations
Nowhere has innovation had a greater impact than in the cruise industry, which continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Royal Caribbean International (parent company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara Cruises) has consistently pushed the envelope in ship design with countless firsts such as: rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, onboard surfing, full Broadway productions onboard, promenades down the center of the ship, zip lining, balcony cabins with interior views, and the list goes on and on…and most are free.
New Ship: Quantum of the Seas
This week Royal Caribbean announced more innovation with the introduction of their new ship, Quantum of the Seas, which sets sail fall of 2014. Not only will the Quantum have many of the special features already mentioned, it will have many new features like North Star––a spectacular 360-degree journey in a glass sphere more than 300 feet above sea level; SeaPlex––the first ever bumper cars in the largest indoor active space at sea, and the RipCord By iFly––the first skydiving simulator at sea. Be prepared to be WOWed! Children will enjoy other Royal Caribbean signature features like DreamWorks characters onboard, H2O Zone kids’ water park and an endless variety of supervised activities.
Cruise Lines help make Airfare Affordable
If you haven’t considered a cruise vacation, all of the new builds in the cruise industry mean it’s a buyer’s market. Most cruise lines are also packaging their products with airfare. That helps take the sting out of ever increasing air prices. There are so many subtle differences in cruise lines, ships and itineraries that the advice of a travel professional can save you time, money and ensure a trip of a lifetime.
For value, ease of taking, and security, if you’re not cruising, you’re losing.