Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cheapest Hotel Room Rates Go to Agents

If you travel with any regularity, you’ve undoubtedly noticed just how expensive hotel stays are these days. A myriad of factors are driving room rates sky-high. Travel is becoming more commonplace in our society, pushing demand to its highest levels and communities are levying new and costly “entertainment taxes” on the lodging industry.

It’s no wonder that everyone is looking hard for the cheapest hotel room rates. Online discounters and “name your own price” services that connect consumers with room consolidators are incredibly popular. Nonetheless, most people will never really find the cheapest hotel room rates. Those rates are reserved for travel agents!

The travel industry pumps more than four trillion dollars per year into the economy, and a great deal of that spending is done with the assistance and encouragement of travel agencies. As a result, the lodging industry does its best to take care of its “support network” by rewarding agents with the best possible rates and bonuses.

One expert argues that the travel and tourism industry treats travel agents like “royalty.” The industry relies upon agents for a significant share of its overall business and does its very best to keep agents on its good side. Treating an agent like a VIP improves the chances of that agent sending business back to a given hotel property--at a much higher rate than the one extended to the “insider.”

So, if you are looking for the cheapest hotel room rates, become a travel agent. It’s that simple.

That may sound ridiculous, but it really isn’t. Becoming a travel agent is a quick and painless way to secure the cheapest room rates and a host of other amazing travel-related discounts. At least one online system promises to make its buyers into licensed travel agents (and eligible for all the benefits that entails) within a mere twenty minutes.

You don’t necessarily have to sell travel to others in order to become a licensed agent. You can maintain your standing while only using the deep discounts and other perks for yourself. However, many “amateur” agents do use their licensing to sell travel opportunities to friends, families and others as a part time business. Some find that being an agent is so profitable and enjoyable that they make it into a full-time career.

The costs associated with learning how to become a licensed travel agent are minimal. When compared to the “rack rate” for vacations and lodging, learning to be an agent would appear to be an obvious choice. One can recoup the money associated with learning the trade on a single trip.

If you want the cheapest hotel room rates, you need to move from being an outsider to travel’s inner circle. Becoming an insider means becoming a travel agent. Once you make that move, you will be inundated with incredible rates and offers at the very best possible prices.

Mellisa O'Brien offers a fantastic guide to becoming a travel agent almost instantly and reaping all of the benefits. Her "Travel Industry Secrets" is a recognized winner in the field of discount travel and her inexpensive guide is a proven shortcut to getting the cheapest hotel room rates and other unbelievable bargains. Anyone whose interested in reducing their travel and vacation expenses simply must read what she has to say!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Save Money at Disney World

If you haven’t been to Disney World, you’re probably planning to go. If you have been to the “Magic Kingdom,“ you’re probably planning to visit again. There’s nothing quite like Disney World and the amazing recreational and entertainment opportunities it provides. Disney World is almost perfect. There is, however, one problem.

It isn’t always cheap. In fact, a Disney vacation can be downright expensive. That’s why anyone planning a trip to Orlando should think about learning how to save money at Disney World.

Saving money is usually a pretty easy proposition. You look for the lowest possible prices and pocket the difference. The process is a little more complicated when it comes to traveling to Disney World. It may appear as though you will have to accept the prices you see and just accept the fact that your trip’s bill is growing. That isn’t the case, though. There are a number of ways to trim the cost of your vacation.

One of the best ways to save a bundle on a Disney excursion is by familiarizing yourself with the various ticket options. Disney sells tickets in different combinations for different attractions. The prices vary, too. If you don’t know what you really need and which ticket deals make sense, you will probably end up spending much more than is really necessary.

Another trick to save money at Disney World is by knowing where to shop. Those little knick-knacks and souvenirs can add up to a substantial expenditure if you aren’t careful. Believe it or not, you can find better deals on those items at some locations than others. If you know the “lay of the Disney land,” you can save money.

Handling ticket upgrades intelligently is another great way to save money at Disney World. Sometimes, an upgrade can improve the quality of your visit a great deal. In other cases, the upgrade isn’t worth the expenditure. Knowing when and where to upgrade can help you cut costs.

There are two ways to learn all of the information you’ll need to save money at Disney World. The first is to go there repeatedly and to learn from experience. Although the idea of heading to Orlando regularly may be inviting, it certainly isn’t the most efficient way to learn the ropes.

Alternatively, you can shorten the learning curve and save money at Disney World by learning from others who’ve studied the matter in detail. Former Disney employees and travel experts have assembled a wealth of information about how to make your voyage to the Magic Kingdom easier on your pocketbook.

Beth Haworth is both a former Disney employee and a recognized travel author. Her regularly updated ebook, “The Ultimate Disney World Savings Guide” is a massive collection of hints and tips that can reduce vacation costs substantially. This highly recommended title will tell you all of the ways to make a trip to Disney less expensive while providing you with a one-of-a-kind insider’s perspective on how to have as much fun as possible.

“The Ultimate Disney World Savings Guide” is a perfect example of how you can save money at Disney World by learning from an expert.

If you haven’t been to Disney World, you just don’t know what you’re missing! It’s an amazing vacation, and one that is heartily recommended for any family. If the matter of cost has been holding you back, learn some great ways to save money at Disney World and head down to Florida as soon as possible! You’ll be glad you did!

Finding Cheap Airline Tickets

Travel is expensive and one of the most costly components of taking a vacation can be airfare. That’s why so many people are interested in finding cheap airline tickets.

Here are some suggestions for getting the best possible deals on airfare:

First, be patient. The best deal won’t necessarily appear in front of you in a matter of minutes. You may be tempted to make one or two phone calls and to check one of the major websites and make a decision. However, you are more likely to secure the best possible bargain if you are patient and willing to scour a variety of possibilities in search of a deal. Finding cheap airline tickets requires dedication and time. Fortunately, you can amass savings that make it well worth the time invested.

Second, don’t count on the airlines. Many people wrongly assume they can get the best possible deal by contacting the airline directly. That’s appealing on its face. After all, we’ve all been taught that the best prices come when you can “cut out the middle man.” That logic is faulty when applied to airline tickets. Airlines dump countless tickets on consolidators at rates far lower than they quote customers. You can often find better deals by using a so-called “middle man” because the consolidator managed an amazing cut-rate deal.

Third, remember that not all websites are created equal. Just because you found one set of prices on Priceline doesn’t mean you’ll encounter the same deals at Orbitz. Although prices are often relatively consistent, you can occasionally find bargain variations by looking at all of the well-known sites. Considering the small amount of time it requires to “shop around,” there’s no reason to assume you won’t have better luck finding cheap airline tickets at another site.

Fourth, learn from the experts. People within the travel industry know a great deal about getting the best possible deals. Their very business relies upon securing tickets as inexpensively as possible. Some industry insiders maintain that you can save a fortune by using professional techniques and secrets. Guides like “Why Not Fly Free?” and other titles from those within the travel industry may help you find the best possible rates.

Finally, think ahead or be prepared to act impulsively. There are two great ways to secure bargain airfare. Those who plan ahead and book flights months in advance can usually get much better rates than those who wait until a week before their planned departure. If you aren’t big on advance planning, you can also hold out for a last second deal. If you’re a flexible traveler who’s more interested in finding a bargain getaway than going on a planned vacation, you might be able to get tickets on the cheap at the last minute.

Finding cheap airline tickets isn’t impossible. If you combine dedication and patience with a little knowledge, you can cut your travel costs significantly.

Tickets -- Timing is Everything

You want tickets to the hottest concert in years. The event has been sold out for weeks, so you start checking alternate avenues. There are some decent deals on eBay, but you know that’s a crapshoot that could very well end poorly. The classifieds in your local paper aren’t that helpful. The ticket brokers have seats - some great ones - but the prices are higher than you expected.

What do you do? You have a few choices. You could skip the concert of a lifetime. Not happening. You can wait and hope to find another option or hope that prices go down. You can take a deep breath and buy the tickets right away.

It’s all about timing. If you buy early, you might get a great deal compared to what’s happening at show-time. If you can muster the courage and patience, you may be able to get the seats for a fraction of today’s retail price by waiting until the event’s date gets closer.

So, how do you know which way to go? The honest answer is that you probably don’t. In fact, even the expert ticket brokers who are holding seats don’t know for sure. Buying and selling tickets is more art than science.

I spent several years working for a successful ticket broker. I saw shows that we didn’t expect to be hot go absolutely crazy. I spent thousands of dollars on tickets that rotted away because the show just didn’t catch on with the public. Even the best make the wrong choices.

With that being said, here are a few guidelines to help you get the best possible price for tickets.

If it’s very early and the tickets just became available, you will probably be better off waiting until things cool off. Buyers go nuts after a show goes on sale and tend to settle down later.

Look at the calendar and take an objective look at the scheduling of the event. Is it opposite any other big to-do’s that might decrease interest? Is it on a weekday in the evening? Use the information you gather to guide your decision.

Is the performer red hot right now because of a recent album release, television appearance, etc? If so, you might want to let the hoopla die down before buying. If, on the other hand, the show is likely to come right on the heels of something likely to increase artist popularity, early purchases might be a good idea.

Think about what you really want. Are you only going to be satisfied with the best possible seats, or could you live with a decent alternative? Is it more important for you to save a few bucks or to have the sense of security that you own your tickets to the big show? If you decide to wait it out and guess wrong, will you be able to pay a little more for the tickets? That assessment of your personal situation should influence your decision.

After considering those factors, decide whether to buy now or later.

Sometimes, waiting pays. Other times, it ends up costing your more and losing your shot at the first row! It’s all a matter of timing - and a little luck.

Whenever you decide to purchase the tickets, make sure you buy them from an experienced and respected ticket brokerage. Avoid the fly-by-night outfits and deal with a professional. The few extra dollars it may cost are great insurance against a horrible experience.

Front Row Tickets -- Not Always the Best

You salivate at the very idea of it. Sitting in the front row at the fifty yard line for the big football game is every fan’s dream, right? The idea of being so close to the action is irresistible. As you shop for tickets, you find a broker who has a pair of seats right there. Midfield. Row one.

Buy them, right?

Not necessarily.

The front row ticket often isn’t the best ticket. In many cases, it is actually quite inferior to other options. It may sound ridiculous to casual fans who don’t get “right down in front” often, but you may end up happier with seats a little bit higher up.

Here’s why…

First, front row tickets may limit your vision of the entire playing field (or stage if attending a concert). Sitting at mid-court may seem like a good idea, but you could end up with blind spots on your side of the court at a basketball game. The corners of the end zone might be invisible at a football game.

Second, getting close to the action invariably trades off with perspective. Did you know the seats offering the best persepective at most events are the ones on the second level (often referred to as the “club” level). That’s because those seats extend over the lower level but are up high enough to provide a panoramic view of the action.

Third, there is such a thing as being too close to the participants. Being at the fifty for a playoff game sounds great, but it gets annoying when you find yourself staring at the back of the third-string defensive lineman for three hours. Oh, and there’s nothing more annoying than trying to get a view of the action when the television truck is rolling right in front of your face!

Fourth, particularly at concerts, the first row experience can be a lot like sitting in the first row at the movies. Bring your Tylenol, because a sore neck is likely after staring upwards for the whole show! If you are up a little higher, you won’t have to act like a stargazer while gazing at your favorite singing star!

There are advantages to the first row. If you’re taking photographs, it’s wonderful. If you are just dying to hear the crash of the shoulder pads or the squeak of sneakers, there is nothing quite like it.

In many cases, however, you can get a better view by scooting up a little bit. To make matters even better, not everyone knows this. As a professional ticket broker, I learned that first row seats always commanded a premium price even when better views were available. That’s because so many people are absolutely convinced they need to be in Row One. You can save a few bucks by moving up while actually improving your experience!

The next time you are ticket shopping, don’t worry too much about finding your way into the front row!

How to Get Free Airline Tickets

We’d all like to travel more often. There are so many interesting and exciting places to visit and today’s airline system makes it so easy to see every corner of the world. Who wouldn’t like to fly to foreign countries, visit fascinating and exotic locales, take romantic getaways, have more exciting family vacations, or just “get away from it all” for a few days?

Unfortunately, most of us spend more time sitting on the couch watching television than we do globe-trotting. We’d all love to travel, but there’s a problem. Money. Flying isn’t cheap. Airfare has never been a real bargain and with the rising fuel and security costs associated with travel these days, the costs just seem to keep growing.

What if you could fly for free? If you knew how to get free airline tickets, things would be different. If the cost barrier was removed, where would you go?

We’ve all heard rumors about how one can secure free tickets, but many of us assume the truth is different. The very idea of getting free tickets seems impossible. Can it really be done? Does someone know how to get free airline tickets?

Believe it or not, it is possible. Let’s look at a few ways to hit the friendly skies without spending the high prices usually associated with airfare.

First, you can win tickets. That may seem unlikely, but there are always people dangling free airline tickets in front of the public as part of a promotion or marketing promotion. Sometimes those tickets are for specific destinations at designated times, but in other cases they are more open-ended propositions. Contests are one popular way of getting freebies.

Second, you can often get free tickets when buying something else. “Free tickets” may be bundled with vacation packages, but that’s not the only way. Other major purchases may include vouchers or free airline tickets as an incentive to make a purchase. Free tickets can accompany big ticket item buys or organizational memberships.

Third, you can get free air travel by paying for other trips. The major airlines are in vicious competition with one another for the public’s travel dollars. Frequent flyer programs have gone from being a nice way of getting a few trinkets after repeated cross-country flights to being a legitimate way to earn free airline tickets for future trips. If you travel regularly and are not a frequent flyer club member with your preferred carrier, you should make the effort to join. Also be aware of which credit cards give you additional free frequent flyer miles with every purchase. You can turn your shopping sprees into a source of free tickets.

Fourth, there are those who claim that those with insider knowledge know how to get free airline tickets. For instance, David Tinney has written a book titled “Why Not Fly Free?” The guide’s promotional materials claim that anyone can learn how to get free airline tickets by utilizing “secrets the airlines don’t want you to know.” Tinney, an experienced travel agency owner claims that its possible to go anywhere in the world while only paying the required tax on tickets--the tickets themselves are absolutely free.

Can you get free airline tickets? Undoubtedly. It may not be easy and the presence of some free offers shouldn’t stop you for searching for the best travel bargains (just in case you can’t book that flight for nothing), but there are free airline tickets out there.

You don’t necessarily have to take out a second mortgage in order to have a vacation. That little getaway doesn’t need to result in a bankruptcy. If you can get free airfare, travel can finally go from being a pipedream to a reality.