Posted on Leave a comment

How to Plan Stress FreeTravel: Lodging and Transportation 3 of 5

Lodging and Transportation
Lodging and Transportation

When planning a vacation, it’s typical to spend a third of your travel budget on lodging. While some travelers spend more, it’s safe to say we all want lodging that’s clean (no bed bugs please), safe, has good customer service, and has amenities.

Searching for ideal lodging using DIY websites can will provide cheap deals, pictures and reviews, but there’s still no guarantee you’ll secure great lodging for a great price (I often wondered if I got the best price for my stay and 9 times out of 10, I didn’t! Darn you DIY sites).

Did you know you can get amazing deals on room rates if you called the hotel directly?

Hotels Deals

If you didn’t know this, don’t be alarmed because most travelers don’t. Hotels can offer the same deals if not better than the DIY sites. This is due to the commission hotels must pay vendors when travelers book through third parties (online, travel agent, etc.). Once you identify the hotel deals you’re interested in, call the hotels direct and ask about their discounts and special offers.

Now let’s talk about hotel chains and brands.

To cater to the wide spectrum of travelers, hotel chains have a variety of brands (the Marriott has Courtyard, Marriott Vacation Club, Spring Hills etc.).

The hotel industry understands travelers vary in preference, style and purpose so they create different brands to cater most traveler’s needs. Marriott’s Spring Hills Suites hotel caters to business travelers. They offer apartment style rooms with amenities like free hot breakfast, fridge and microwave, etc.

How does this information help you?

By understanding hotel brands, you can pick the hotel that best fit your needs. Also, having this knowledge could mean big savings.  Reserving a room during off peak times (hint: booking a room during the weekend at a hotel brand that caters to business travel) could mean big discounts.

Now, I’m going to share with you something that most people don’t think about until they come home from their trip and review their spending. This will save you a good amount of money, you’ll have more fun, and it’s almost a no brainer once you hear it.

Choose lodging near the attractions you’re seeking.

I have friends who booked lodging at a hotel 8 plus miles away from the departure port of their cruise ship. They chose the hotel to save money.
They didn’t take into consideration transportation costs and time. They also missed out on all the fun festivities the night before departure.
Once the cost of transportation was added, it actually cost more to book at their hotel versus staying at one a few blocks away.

Transportation

Transportation is another big ticket expense. Not only will you need a way to get to your destination, you’ll need a way to get around once you arrive. Some hotels offer transportation for a minimal fee and it’s convenient.

I’m a huge fan of using ride share services. It’s inexpensive, the drivers are often times personable, and they are likely to recommend great places to visit.

Air fare fluctuates in price, more so than hotels (of course, you know that).

Knowing when to book your flight for the best price is tricky and sometimes unpredictable. It mostly boils down to demand so paying attention to peak tourist seasons and watching prices will help you save on your flight. The more flexible your are with dates, times, number of stops, airport, and class service, the less expensive the airfare.   Reward programs and membership discounts are great ways to save on air fare.

Tip if you’re visiting a metro area.

Consider purchasing rail passes and other transportation passes a head of time as well. While planning a trip to New York, I purchased a weekend rail pass. It was the best purchase I made. I was free to roam and explore the city as I chose to.

 

Please feel free to ask questions or make comments regarding How To Plan Stress Free Travel.
THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR TRAVEL!
If you’re a semi- expert traveler, why not get paid for it? Click here for details.
Looking for an innovative way to improve your business? Click here to learn more
You are welcome to Contact Us anytime!
Or check us out on Facebook at TamaraBurkett

 

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Plan Stress Free Travel: Itinerary & Activities 2 of 5 Series

Itinerary & Activities
Itinerary & Activities

You decided on your vacation destination and began to create a budget. Now what?

Activities and entertainment are the most important elements to a great travel experience and usually the last item in the budget. Making this mistake can be fatal to a well-deserved vacation!

I’ve witnessed many travelers (including myself) make the mistake of assuming adventure will just fall in their laps without any advance planning. Sure it’s cool to be spontaneous while vacationing, but not having any activities planned can spell disaster or boring trip… Who wants that?

I’ve also witnessed vacations when every minute was planned out and that can be just as horrific. I recall a vacation where we had an activity scheduled every morning, at the crack of dawn, and that was torture… NEVER AGAIN!

Can you relate?

Activities

I have found that a happy blend of excitement, spontaneity and relaxation will create an amazing travel experience.

Now the right combination of these three components really depends on the individual or family. One concept that remains true for most people is this….

The first outing sets the tone for your whole trip.

Ok, I know you may be quick to disagree with me and cite the need to recuperate from jet lag.

Rest may be needed for some people. And I agree, traveling to your destination can be exhausting (for this reason, I typically wait until the next day to schedule an activity unless the destination is only a couple of hours away). No matter when you schedule your first activity, the anticipation of it and how you feel afterwards will most often determine your attitude for the rest of your trip.
And remember attitude is everything!

Itinerary

When creating your vacation itinerary, create a rough schedule of your daily activities and research them ahead of time. Let the first activity be a “hello world” experience that invites the inner child to come out and play.

The activity can be anything that excites you from site seeing to shopping, recreational activities, lounging by the pool, you name it. The goal is to end the activity feeling excited and exhilarated.

The next tip is a no brainer and I’m sure you already do this, but just incase you need a reminder… add some free time to your itinerary.

Free time serves a variety of purposes. Of course, you want time to relax and to explore.

While touring Munich Germany with a group of students, we were given some free time in the middle of the day. We spent our time wandering around the city and I met a young family that was from Appleton Wisconsin. It was so hilarious and fun connecting with random people!

Do you remember a trip where you went off the beaten path and just explored? Wasn’t it fun?

Last but not least, try to purchase tickets for activities and event before you leave.

Often times you can find pre-packaged sight-seeing deals that can be purchased before you leave for vacation.
I always encourage my clients to purchase tickets ahead of time because it saves time, money, and it’s one less thing to buy while you’re on your trip. Using apps like Travel Advisor, Yelp, and even Groupon, are great resources to find discounts and ideas for activities.

Remember to schedule an awesome activity for your first outing if you want to plan the ultimate vacation. And don’t forget to add ample free time in your schedule. Now it’s your time to let the fun begin!!!

 

Please feel free to ask questions or make comments regarding How To Plan Stress Free Travel.
THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR TRAVEL!
If you’re a semi- expert traveler, why not get paid for it? Click here for details.
Looking for an innovative way to improve your business? Click here to learn more
You are welcome to Contact Us anytime!
Or check us out on Facebook at TamaraBurkett

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Prepare a Travel Budget 1 of 5 Part Series

Congratulations, you finally decided to take the vacation of your dreams. You’ve read travel magazines, online reviews and asked your loved ones where you should go. You want your vacation to be magical, filled with adventure, relaxation, and fun… lots of fun. Now comes the hard part….

Creating a travel budget (Yikes)!

How much will this trip of a lifetime cost?

Travel expenses can vary greatly depending on travel preferences, so it’s important to make a travel budget early on.

Most experts will tell you to start with the biggest expense first, but that’s not what I suggest and here’s why…

Flight and lodging are usually the biggest expenses, but if those things aren’t important  to you, then they don’t have to be the biggest part of your budget.
Some travelers value recreational activities and entertainment more so then lodging. I suggest you prioritize what’s most important and budget accordingly.

Yes, I know, this may sound counter intuitive for some of you and that’s ok.

I’ve found when travelers start with the biggest expense (transportation and lodging), they leave little room in their budget for activities and entertainment which is a big NO, NO.
Why?

A great travel experience is created when you do.

Don’t get me wrong, staying at a luxury hotel is exciting and it enhances the travel experience. The same can be true for transportation. Remember, creating a travel budget is the foundation for your epic vacation. It’s the cornerstone of your travel experience.

When I think about the vacations I had, the best travel memories are of the different activities I experienced. Like the one time we went ziplining, or when we went on a Segway tour. The hotels we stayed in were nice, but that’s not what made the trip fun. What made it fun was what we did and who we befriended.

Now what I’m suggesting doesn’t mean you can’t have your cake and eat it too (luxury lodging, exciting activities, the best transportation). It simply implies that you should create a budget that reflect what’s most important to you.

Running out of money, or worrying about cash flow during your trip is stressful and can quickly ruin your trip.

Which brings me to the next golden nugget…Including miscellaneous expenses into your budget!!!!

This is a must because unexpected things happen while you’re travelling. The unexpected can be anything from illness to a spontaneous outing. No matter the reason, you can’t go wrong with having miscellaneous cash.
If nothing else, returning home with extra cash in your pocket is a lovely feeling.

Of course meals, travel insurance, and travel gear should be included in your budget as well, especially if you’re traveling abroad.

Websites like www.budgetyourtrip.com and www.tripcipe.com are great resources when planning your travel budget. A travel agent is also a great resource for suggestions and booking your travel.

I hope my tips serve you well as you begin to plan your next excursion!

Please feel free to ask questions or make comments regarding How To Plan Stress Free Travel.
THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR TRAVEL!
If you’re a semi- expert traveler, why not get paid for it? Click here for details.
Looking for an innovative way to improve your business? Click here to learn more
You are welcome to Contact Us anytime!
Or check us out on Facebook at TamaraBurkett

 

 

Posted on Leave a comment

How To Plan Stress Free Travel 5 Part Series

Stress Free Travel
Stress Free Travel

Summer travel has officially started and while savvy travelers planned out their summer excursions months ago, others are just now planning getaways.

Although I’m a huge fan of planning travel months in advance, unexpected “stuff” can happen and a few short weeks can be all you have.  However much time you have to plan your summer adventures, avoiding travel stress will ensure memorable experiences and resources well spent.

Did you know that poorly planned and stressful vacations eliminate the positive benefits of time away?*

Wow, that’s mind blowing!!!!

In the online Business Harvard Review, an article by Shawn Anchor states that most of the happiness obtained from vacation is dependent upon the stress level of the vacation. Which means the more stressful the travel experience, the less it benefits your well-being.

This explains why I’ve had lack luster trips and needed a “vacation” from my vacation. All the time spent figuring out where to buy this and that, how to find blah, blah, blah, is exhausting and can suck the fun out of getting away!

Isn’t the purpose of  leisure travel to decompress, have fun, and come back rejuvenated?

If you’re nodding your head and thinking, heck yea, then you can appreciate a well planned adventure my friend.  I’ll share with you 5 tips to stress free travel.

When suggestions below are applied, travelers create an inclusive trip that eliminates stress, enhances experiences, and increases happiness.

Ok, I know you want to overlook this. However, after research and personal experience, I assure you the more thorough you are in planning your trip, the less stress you will have.

5 Tips To Stress Free Travel

1. Allocation of travel funds
How to prioritize your budget.

2. Itinerary & Activities
How to create a daily schedule of activities based on your budget.

3. Choosing Lodging & transportation
How to choose the best lodging for your excursion.

4. All-Inclusive Vacations
What to know about exclusions before you book your vacation.

5. Travel Agent or Online Booking
The pros and cons of having a travel agent versus self-booking travel.

Isn’t it interesting how each point seem like a no brainer? I think so! These 5 tips appear to be common sense, yet so many travelers disregard the importance of each idea.

In this 5 part series, we’ll explore steps you can take during travel planning so that you reap the benefits of being away.

Let’s help you plan a fabulous trip!

 

Please feel free to ask questions or make comments regarding How To Plan Stress Free Travel.
THANKS FOR ALLOWING ME TO HELP YOU IMPROVE YOUR TRAVEL!
If you’re a semi- expert traveler, why not get paid for it? Click here for details.
Looking for an innovative way to improve your business? Click here to learn more
You are welcome to Contact Us anytime!
Or check us out on Facebook at TamaraBurkett

Posted on Leave a comment

Tamara Burkett Welcomes You To TamaraBurkett.com!

Tamara Burkett at TamaraBurkett.com Welcomes You!

 

Tamara Burkett welcomes you to our new web home!

Hello, I’m Tamara Burkett, your Independent Travel Agent, and I want to change the way you think about travel.

I had many travel experiences, some amazing and others

Picture of Tamara Burkett, your independent travel agent.
Tamara Burkett, your independent travel agent.

not so great but through them all, I developed a better awareness of self and acceptance of others. I believe that travel is more than time to relax and have fun or a sign of social status. An epic travel experience includes connection to self, family and community. Combine these elements with advance planning, and research and an amazing travel adventure is created. Helping others to design meaningful, fantastic vacations is the focus of my website.

I developed TamaraBurkett.com to simplify travel and provide you with what the insider’s know of the products and services available to you for travel.  My site includes a weekly blog, information on travel certificates, destination reviews, travel deals, and more.

If you are looking for a better way to travel or how to travel more, you are in the right place!  I have a

variety of services and would be more than happy to accommodate your travel needs.

Thanks again and welcome to my TamaraBurkett.com

You are welcome to Contact Us anytime!

Or check us out on Facebook at TamaraBurket