Here are a few recommendations if you are searching for the lowest possible trip cost.
1.) Be a responsible shopper / be realistic. If you are looking for some absurd price for airfare/hotel/parties, sooner or later, someone unscrupulous might actually offer it up – only for you to be disappointed or ripped off later on.
Trips with airfare/beachfront hotel: $850 is about your starting point per person – and you won’t be all that happy at that low of a price….$900 to $975, sure, you can find some stuff.
Trips with motor coach/party bus & hotel $425-$650 is a reasonable range per person depending on how nice you want your hotel included
Trips where you get a condo or hotel, meals, maybe the parties included in South Padre, Panama City, or you go skiing – (you get yourself there transportation not provided) $325-$550 per person depending on how nice you want your hotel
Use these ranges for 2014 winter break and spring break 2014 pricing as a guide, not as a rule.
2.) Use the points in number one to further set proper expectations. If you really only have $600, stop trying to find this mythical $600 trip with airfare. Look at party bus/hotel trips that actually might be really bad ass for that price range – you have an IPOD, lap top, your cell phone, etc. you can stay busy…it’s much better than getting the shaft on a piss hole hotel.
So, consider your options. Does someone’s dad have a big ass SUV you can talk into letting you borrow to road trip it skiing or to south padre? That might be a good option with everyone splitting gas costs. What we are saying here is, if you only have $500, look for a $500 trip. You can’t walk into the Ferrari dealer asking for Chevy prices, after all.
3.) If you gotta have airfare or a bus included, consider looking at airports close to you that might not be your very first choice. If you are in New York, it’s reasonable that you can look at going out of BWI (Baltimore) or EWR (Newark). Same goes, this year, if you are upstate NY; consider taking the train to the City to save a BUNCH of dough. Indianapolis to Chicago isn’t that bad, Oklahoma City to Dallas is a couple of hours. These are just a few examples for you.
4.) Be prepared to pay in full for the trip at the time you book it. You can find travel agents willing to deal if you can pay in full when you book – otherwise you (and they) are talking in mythical terms about how in 3 months you want to book it – airfare could be sold out, OR simply fuel went up 19xs (for no reason I might add).
5.) For about the first time in nearly a decade, our Company is considering the fact that potentially 50% of students that would have booked a spring break trip might not be able to. This has nothing to do with fuel as much as the fact that scheduled airlines have cut routes down 10, 20, even 30% – no seats means business people are eating up leisure traveler seats at an astonishing rate, and they are not nearly as price sensitive as someone going to Cancun to get drunk, tan, & laid for a week’s vaca. This boils down to the fact that many college students accustomed to booking in December (or even January) are going to not be able to afford the airfare inclusive trip. So, they will look at road tripping to South Padre or Florida. Now, even “condo only” prices are sky high late in the game. Where the F am I going with this? Book early – or you might not find a trip, at ANY price. What does book early mean? If you have to have airfare included, try to get it done by Oct. 1. After that, it’s going to be a crap shoot on price. If you want a sweet deal on a road trip down (condo) package, book before Dec. 1. After that, tour operators like Inertia Tours will simply HAVE to charge more as there will only be so much space available. One of the big problems in travel is many of the BIG travel agents like Orbitz, Expedia, Priceline, etc. have educated us as consumers that Last Minute Travel bookings will SAVE us money as hotels want to simply GIVE it away rather than have it empty. Well, turn that on its head once….if you owned a hotel, and were at 95% occupancy in late January with tour operators, would you GIVE away the remaining 5% of your rooms? Of course not, you’d also charge an arm & a leg – that’s how supply & demand works – so stay ahead of the curve on this.
6.) Consider bringing more people, or using maximum occupancy in each hotel or condo space. Putting 4 people in a hotel room vs. 2 obviously will save you cash per person.
7.) Avoid the shorter trip pitfall. Many students email is saying, but, we only want a 3 or 4 night trip because that will save us money, RIGHT? WRONG. yeah, it’ll save you 15-25% (max 25%) vs. going a full week, but when you consider no matter how you get to your destination, 2 full days of travel are required to get there and get settled in, a 3 night trip becomes a nightmare of frayed nerves and no relaxation. Try to get the most bang for your buck by going 5 to 7 nights.
8.) Concentrate on TOTAL PACKAGE VALUE and inclusions, versus AIR & HOTEL. This is not some business trip where “your hotel won’t mattter” – bullshit. You are on vacation and want a nice pool, want a pleasant hotel staff, want a nice beach in front. Otherwise, stay home, because one thing I can tell you is, there is nothing worse than staying in a shithole hotel when next door there is a 4 or 5 stars that for $15 or $20 more per person per day you COULD have stayed THERE!!! It’ll drive you bonkers.
This alludes me to the point of consider NOT going all inclusive – tour operators like Inertia Tours include basic food/meal packages that hook you up & keep costs down – something you won’t find online from the Expedias and Travelocities of the world (which are great sites for business travel).
9.) Override the one cheap bitch friend you have. We all have one in our travel group. Tell them to sit down and shut the F up. You will be spending your $1000 and they won’t be paying for your trip to hell, so unless they are, you have EVERY right to speak up and say, look, guys, to stay at Saida Towers vs. the padre hotel plain Jane is only $10/day per person more. I’m all FOR paying a bit more cash for something nice.
You will find elsewhere on our website how we say this: Wal-Mart has HANDS DOWN the lowest price on clothes. They in fact have a “low price guarantee.” Do you buy all of your clothes at Wal-Mart? Not unless you are straight trailer you’re not. We find it ABSURD that travel markets itself that THE LOWEST PRICE RULES. One trip cannot be compared to another generally speaking! An all-inclusive 5 star resort in Cancun vs. another 5 star resort in Cancun is NOT the same trip. Want an example? Old people. Need I say more? The “biggest” online travel agencies use OLD PEOPLE hotel with OLD BASTARDS that bitch if you fart too loud LOL. Our hotels are PARTY HARD properties – you can have fun at.
In conclusion – if you go for the “cheapest trip possible” and “want the nicest trip possible” the world is at odds against you here. Nice stuff costs money because the business people that provide nice shit know they can charge more. If you are in college, USE YOUR BRAIN folks!
Keepin’ it on the down low real