How 'Saving' Can Be CostlySeptember 20, 2011 By: Ruthanne Terrero Travel Agent
|Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero|
I was walking behind two guys in the lobby of our office building the other day and at first, I thought they were completely annoying because they weren’t walking fast enough for my taste. But then I heard a delicious travel-related comment come from one of them and it made all of my angst worthwhile.
The man in question was talking about a business trip for which he was flying out of Newark Liberty International Airport. A colleague who had to be on the same business trip bought his ticket on Priceline, using the “Name Your Own Price” program, which doesn’t reveal your itinerary or airline until after the transaction has been sealed.
This colleague ended up getting a ticket that required him to drive to Westchester County Airport, about 48 miles from Newark and not a fun drive, thanks to a variety of bridges and freeways along the way. Worse, it was an early morning flight, so he had to drive there the night before and stay in a hotel. All told, the experience cost him $300 more than the flight out of Newark. Worst of all, his co-workers, including his boss, were annoyed over the cost and the disruption to the meeting schedule this penny-wise gentleman had caused.
While many of us wouldn’t have done what this poor soul did, I’m sure we’ve all strived to save a bit here and there, especially in this economy. But sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense. If your clients are booking air on their own, tell them to think the entire process through before they book an airport that’s not in their hometown to save money. They should consider the cost of parking their car at the airport (if it’s too expensive to take a cab or livery service), not to mention the drive home. Is it worth saving a few hundred dollars when they have to drive two hours to get back to their house after a 10-hour flight from Hawaii? They need to weigh the value against the cost. The value of their time and emotional well-being may win out if they really think it through.
Of course, there are some very sound bargain strategies to save money on a trip that combines a bit of luxury with a sense of savvy. Here’s one idea I tried recently. After a week of dining out on a vacation, all we really wanted to do was have a simple meal and a nice glass of wine without going for yet another gourmet experience that would cost another few hundred dollars. We picked up a good bottle of wine at a grocery store, ordered a few appetizers from room service at the hotel and sat out on the balcony at our leisure, truly enjoying ourselves. If you plan to recommend this to your clients, be sure you’ve booked decent-sized accommodations for them. If they’re squeezed into a tiny room and have to sit on the bed drinking a bottle of wine, it might not be their classiest memory and they may wonder why in the world you ever suggested it.
Here’s another money-saving idea I’m experimenting with: signing up to receive Groupon deals for a destination I’m planning to visit. I’ll need to give this time, however. If I’m looking to collect a few offers for half-off dinners and deals on local attractions, I’ll have to wait a few weeks since many Groupon deals are for local services such as laser hair removal, which is not much of a vacation experience if you ask me.
Do you have any money-saving tips that you share with your clients before they embark on a trip? E-mail me and let me know so I can share them with all of our readers.