Friday, 12 February 2010 16:56
Vacations should be special for a number of reasons. For one thing, they don’t happen all that often. For another, they’re a chance to see places that are new and exciting. Plus, they’re an opportunity to spend some quality time with those we love. But unfortunately, vacations sometimes prove to be stressful, making them less than enjoyable.
One of the keys to getting the most enjoyment out of your vacation is planning. While it might sound odd to plan for a leisure activity, making decisions and taking steps in advance makes it a lot easier to concentrate on fun and relaxation once you arrive.
How much? Start by developing a budget. Know how much you want to spend for each day. In addition to food and accommodations, be realistic about admission to attractions and the cost of souvenirs.
Ask experts. Contact your destination’s visitors’ information center. Most will be happy to send you all sorts of free information, and many will include discount coupons and details about hotel package deals that combine discounted rates with free meals and attractions.
Negotiate rates. Most hotels will usually quote a high rate at first. If you say that you don’t think you’ll be able to afford to stay there, they’ll generally offer a lower rate. You can also ask for the “corporate” rate, which is usually lower.
Think free. Many museums, zoos, and other places have “free” days or opportunities to get in for less. Spend a couple minutes on their website, and you may spend less money to get in.
Take public transportation. If you’re visiting a major city like Chicago, New York, or Washington, don’t overlook buses and subways. They’re an affordable (and generally safe) way to get around without having to deal with traffic. Most cities sell visitor passes that allow unlimited rides for just a few dollars. Visit the transit agency’s website before you travel.