Tom Wilt: Hello! I am Tom Wilt, Managing Director AAA Partnership Programs and today we are discussing the basics of international travel. Now, I want to talk to you about how to save for your trip, and doing your trip. Saving money while planning your dream vacation is not just about finding deals and discounts. It's about getting maximum value for your money while taking the trip you really want. The first step is conceptualizing your vacation. Think about what you really want. Are you more interested in seeing the sites along the way, or getting there quickly and then relaxing. Is your interest really in the destination hotel or resort? That's a high consideration from me. Once you have established where you would like to go and how would you like to get there, establish a budget. Visit a travel agent to determine the options available for visiting your destination, such as escorted tours, I recommend, independent travel or cruises. Next determine how much a vacation will cost in total including transportation, accommodations, food and entertainment. Be flexible. Whenever possible the cost of visiting a destination can vary greatly based on the season, local events or even the day of the week. To increase your savings, select two or three possible travel dates and check pricing before booking. Be sure to take advantage of any discounts that maybe available for you. AAA may also qualify of exclusive deals, special fairs, packages and added extras. Member benefits take many forms including discounts, upgrades, vouchers, credits, free passes and gifts. When it's time to book your vacation, again seek the advice of a travel professional. Travel agents work with travel suppliers on a large scale and are in a position to negotiate competitive pricing and are more aware of current offers available. Sometimes your dream vacation is one you may not take for a year or two or more.
However, if you don't start planning now, you may never make the journey. Take the first step. Make savings a part of your vacation planning. Start saving for and planning your vacation as soon as possible. Save as you would for holiday gifts by putting a little money aside each week. And watch out for special discounts and promotions. A vacation is investment in memories. Place the savings in an interest-bearing account and take advantage of the earnings. Money market saving accounts, certificates of deposit earn rates of interest based on current market conditions. You can check current available rates and offers at bankrate.
com. Remember anything truly worthwhile takes effort. So setting a financial goal and sticking to it is an excellent way to feel good about turning your vacation fantasy into reality. There are additional ways to save once you arrive at your destination. Be sure to take advantage of any discounts available to you. There are few programs available that offer savings worldwide. Through worldwide affiliation with motor clubs, AAA is able to offer club members reciprocal services and savings worldwide. AAA's Show Your Card & Save Program is the largest member discount program in the world offering more than 164,000 locations for savings worldwide. Find out what is fun and free or low cost. Many areas have free or low cost recreation opportunities such as hiking, visiting craft shows, antique fairs, car shows, art festivals, flea marts. You can inquire at your hotel or the visitor center about parks, gardens, historical sites or museums in your area. Cut back on souvenirs, they always seem like a good idea at the time. Instead, take a digital camera, capture your trip and photographs and memories to serve as reminders of your vacation. For fun, send digital photos using a cellphone, laptop or hotel computer to friends and families before you get home. Take advantage of public transportation, if available. Public transportation is one of the most inexpensive ways to get around. Research the availability in the system your destination has to offer before you arrive. Keep meal costs down. Meal costs can be reduced by eating the main meal at mid-day to take advantage of lower lunch prices at restaurants. Many restaurants also offer children's menu and early bird dinners at reduced prices. A picnic lunch purchased at a local market can also be fun and a money saving option. So that's the basic of saving for and during your international vacation. Next, Betsy will talk to you about how to plan for emergencies. Travel Safe.