Your first stop should be at your local travel agent. Ask about special packages to specific destinations that don’t cost an arm and a leg to get to and see the sights. This opens the door to what is sometimes called ‘adventure’ travel. Ever been to the Galapagos Islands? This is an affordable vacation destination, as many travelers are now hearing. Costa Rica, a U.S. territory, is another popular and affordable travel destination. You have no exchange rate to worry about and by going to some of the more out of the way beach locations, you get a better flavor of the culture, enjoying pristine beaches that aren’t overrun with other tourists and at a very attractive price. Give your travel agent the parameters of what you’d like to get out of your vacation, as well as how much you can spend. He or she is going to work very hard to find an affordable travel package that satisfies your objectives and budget.
Do some research on the net, too. Scope out travel destinations you find appealing and try to get a baseline on cost of accommodations. Consider alternative accommodations, such as youth hostels, convents and monasteries (great places to stay, BTW) and residency apartments, sometimes known as ‘efficiencies’. For about the same price as a hotel, you can rent a furnished apartment, with a kitchen, cookware and bedding. It’s obvious you’ll cut your costs by shopping locally and eating at home. Affordable travel plans require flexibility.
Another strategy is to simply throw your wish list out in a Google search. For example, you’ve got a budget of $1000 and would like to get away for 7 days to a beach holiday in Costa Rica. Google it! Something like ‘travel package Costa Rica 6 nights’ ought to get you to a site offering a deal.
Your travel agent is your best ally in finding a good, affordable travel package. The agency makes a commission, but only if you buy the package! After making your own online investigations, see what your travel agent has found. It may be far better than what you were able to find on your own. Especially in difficult economic times, the sharp travel agent’s connections serve your needs well.