Travelers looking to save costs have long sought out the best time to buy airfare, the best way to maximize points, how to find the best credit cards, use the best apps and even make the most of a hotel stay.
But while hidden fees can derail a trip’s budget, so too can deceptively cheap rates. Travelers who book on a budget airline may be surprised to find the savings can be marginal — even nonexistent.
A new study out this week says the idea of a cruise vacation is not as popular as it once was, targeting multiple factors for the hit. Regardless of the reason, the numbers show a cruise industry that has its job cut out for it.
Over half of all Americans are less likely to take a cruise now than over a year ago, says the new Harris Poll out this week. But those numbers are heavily skewed to those who have never been on a cruise before and were probably apprehensive about it anyway. Everyone is to a certain degree before their first sailing. Those who have sailed before were not having as many second thoughts.
The March Harris Poll asked 2,052 adults aged 18 and over in an online poll, how they felt about cruising. Those surveyed clearly thought less of cruising since events that included the grounding of Costa Concordia and a fire aboard Carnival Triumph. That trend continued in the May Harris poll, indicating that public perception of cruises continues to fall while airlines soar higher.”More than six in 10 Americans (62 percent) agree that air travel is much more reliable than taking a cruise (up from 57 percent in February), and the majority (56 percent) agree that air travel is much safer (up from 50 percent in February),” says a TravelMole report.
But cruise lines have not stood by idly. Nearly all cruise lines have adopted a new, higher, more efficient focus on safety. The new Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights spells out what will happen in many otherwise cloudy areas.
Will they come back? Better than ever?
Apparently cruise lines think so, investing billions in ships, ports and jobs. Just this week, Costa Cruises announced the building of a new ship, their largest ever.
The 132,500-ton Costa Diadema promises a different experience, breaking up areas of the ship into several ocean-facing venues, each with a different theme. Also, Princess Cruises new generation ship Royal Princess arrived in Southampton for a smattering of inaugural events.
“I wouldn’t give much credibility to the latest Harris or TravelMole polls,” says cruise expert Stewart Chiron, CEO CruiseGuy. “Their findings are highly subjective and run contrary to real life actions of cruise passengers, as ships continue to sail full. “
Maybe it’s a little of the “if you build it, they will come” thing or maybe it’s the faith cruise lines have in their unique travel experience that is becoming more diverse all the time.
“Considering less than 15% of the US population has cruised, I’d say 92% of their respondents have probably never cruised, 75% probably still live with their parents and 48% have never travelled more than 1000 miles from home. Based on current trends, their findings aren’t supported,” concluded Chiron.
County fair season is coming up quickly, showcasing the work of local farmers and ranchers around the United States. Prize livestock and winning agriculture entries will be on display, but many visitors to county fairs have little interest in that sort of thing. People come from miles around for the local food, carnival rides, performers or just to get out of their normal routine and do something different on the weekend. Here are some of the more notable county fairs this year.
Chautauqua County Fair
Listed as one of ten Blue-Ribbon County Fairs by USAToday, the Chautaugua County Fair features the expected agriculturally focused events like a Goat Milking Competition, Livestock Judging Contest and more. Those events showcase the efforts of 4-H and FFA youth club members. Like the nature of county fairs themselves, those two organizations, the FFA (Future Farmers Of America) and 4-H (pledges Head, Hands, Heart and Health to their club, community, country and world) have evolved too, now focusing on citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering and technology programs.
That’s not to say they won’t enjoy features like the demolition derby, the county fair beauty pageant, New York State Police K-9 demonstrations, the baby parade or the jugglers, unicyclists and acrobats of the Dazzling Mills Family, a traveling act not to be missed.
July 22-28, 2013
Dunkirk, NY Admission $10 Parking: $102013 San Mateo County Fair
This year marks the 79th San Mateo County Fair that features contests, opportunities to win ribbons, educational exhibits, carnival rides, commercial vendors, food concessionaires, local performers and main stage artists. Nearly 150,000 visitors are expected this year.
Held at the San Mateo County Event Center, the fair will host traditional events focused on pie baking, home brewing, livestock and agriculture, as well as free summer concerts all nine days of the fair. This year features bands including: Tower of Power, Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Three Dog Night, The Whispers and Morris Day & The Time, as well as award-winning tribute bands Aerorocks and Queen Nation.
Themed “Where Tradition Meets Innovation,” the San Mateo Fair also hosts contests in technology and industrial arts, as well as exhibits and demonstrations in those areas.
Summer travel season is right around the corner but exciting travel opportunities are often limited by price. There are plenty of places to go, but they are often priced out of reach. Still, with some research and timing, summer travel bargains are out there right now. Why? Sellers of travel want occupancy and booking levels to be at a certain target number right about now. If the numbers are not where they want them to be, they bring on the discounts to shore up summer season bookings. Here are some we found as standout bargains.
Disney World, Discounted
Summer is usually a popular time to visit Florida’s Walt Disney World and this year is no exception. Many families have to do vacations during the summer, when kids are out of school, most often driving prices up. Still, with hotel capacity running a bit ahead of reservations, deals are out there. Savings of 30 percent on select Disney hotels on Disney property, free dining with a hotel and ticket package, and more can be found at Disney’s Special Offers webpage.
Hike the Blue Mountains in Jamaica Strawberry Hill is offering guests 25 percent off rates for stays through October 31 with its “Discover the Blue Mountains” package. The three-night stay includes two hikes on Gordon Town Trail and Settlement Trail, daily breakfast, a fruit and cheese welcome amenity, dinner with a bottle of wine, daily Blackwell Rum cocktail and a spa treatment. Don’t come home without a pound or two of that Blue Mountain coffee.Summer for Less at Nantucket Island Resorts– Nantucket, Massachusetts Nantucket Island Resorts is offering 30 percent off room rates at White Elephant Village, The Wauwinet and the White Elephant Hotel to guests who book five consecutive nights July 7-19. Rates start at $2,500 for five nights. Visit nantucketislandresorts.com/hotel-deals for more.
Pick A Cruise, Any Cruise
Practically every cruise line sailing has felt the sting of recent widely publicized events so prices have gone down. Some lines are advertising like never before, others have quietlyjust not raised pricing as they might have normally done at this time of the year, choosing instead to go for maximized occupancy. Best deals can be found in the Mediterranean where prices can be as low as $75 per person, per day. Short Caribbean and Bahamas sailings are also showing fall-like pricing for summer sailings. That never happens.
Cheap Not Good Enough? How About Free?
Ultra-luxe cruise line Crystal Cruises is allowing kids ages 17 and under to sail free when sharing a third berth stateroom with two adults. Families can choose from seven- to 15-day voyages in the Mediterranean, Western Europe, North Cape, Baltic, British Isles, Canary Islands and across the Atlantic from May-December aboard Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. Book by June 28, 2013.
Take A Road Trip, You Will Not Be Alone
Compared to many summer travel options, a road trip is still a standout winner for budget-minded vacationers. A timely YP survey published in TravelPulse compared driving versus flying and found that Americans believe they have a greater flexibility in schedule (35 percent) and sight-seeing (33 percent) when driving vs. flying. They also liked having the ability to easily take more stuff with them (11 percent), avoiding crowds and security lines (9 percent), and the ability to more easily take pets (7 percent).
Perhaps something a bit more exotic? How about one of these James Bond-inspired destinations?
Those who travel all the time can go to far away places as routinely as others might go to buy groceries. They have somehow managed to be employed in an occupation that requires travel as part of what they do. Commonly, we might think of sales people who hit the road to get face time with regular or prospective customers, and many do. People with the word “travel,” or something like it, in their job title are normally on the move a lot too. Travel writers, flight crews and astronauts come to mind.
But there are a number of other occupations that include travel as a key element of the job description. Some travel occasionally and for others, the job is on the road. If a traveling job sounds like a good fit, consider thinking along these lines:
Pick your topic (one that you love would be a good choice), get credentialed and throw your hat in the ring to teach anywhere on the planet. TeachAbroad can tell you all about it here.
The idea for this post actually came from a teacher. Also the photographer on last Saturday’s Photo of the Day, Lauren Irons is TheTravelingTeacher and her travel/work has seen Cambodia, Malaysia, Morocco, India and other countries around the world. Irons takes fans along for the ride via her blog, rich in colorful photos and first-hand accounts of her adventure.
“Join the Navy, See the world” is still a very viable option for an occupation that might have a great amount of travel, and not always into battle zones. The U.S. Navy, even today, touts the travel opportunities available:
“If you enjoy traveling, you will be able to take advantage of flying for free on military aircraft as they travel to different destinations around the world. You will even be able to hook up with lodging at the different Navy bases and other military bases, which are under an American flag. This will allow you to see even more great places while you are enlisted in the US Navy.”
Medical people other than doctors
Don’t get me wrong; there are traveling doctors too. Doctors Without Borders will be quite happy to tell you about their volunteer opportunities. But Nurses, aides, technicians and others are in high demand worldwide.
“In college I dreamed of having an international career,” writes Caroline Polt, RN at Transitions Abroad, an online source that helps people work, live, study and/or volunteer abroad. “Several years after my sister ventured off to foreign lands to teach English, I decided to pursue the same route,” continues Polt, noting, “healthcare organizations worldwide are scrambling to recruit nurses.”
Part of being a travel agent is experiencing destinations, modes of travel and other elements of booking travel that require personal contact.
These days, webinars have taken the place of a lot of what travel agents commonly saw on familiarization trips, hosted by a tour operator, resort, cruise line or other travel source. Still, there are a whole lot of free or reduced-price options that can get you traveling all the time.
These are people that are experts in their field so they travel to share their knowledge/gifts with others. For example, someone who is an expert on repairing a certain amusement ride at Disney World is an invaluable resource. Someone who is an expert at repairing amusement rides in general will be on the road a lot.
Work On A Cruise Ship
Jobs are available and cruise lines are hiring now. AllCruiseJobs lists job openings, currently boasting 665 cruise ship jobs from 49 recruiters. Think working on a floating hotel is something you might like to do? A reality check is in order.
“They eat, sleep and live on the two crew-only decks when they are off-duty, and only enter passenger areas to work,” says Paul Motter from CruiseMates in a FoxNews report. Yes, they do sail to exotic destinations all over the world, but on the ship, they are in a world quite different than paying passengers when not working.
“The crew area also includes a bar, usually open every night for varying hours for drinks and dancing, and a deck area with a small swimming pool and deck chairs,” says Motter. “Everyone works seven days a week, but the number of hours varies a great deal depending on the particular job. “
Or Any Other Job On The Planet
The key, it seems, is to actively search for the job that will have the right amount of travel for you. Want to be home on the weekends? There are jobs that can make that happen. Want to travel just in the United States? Other jobs do that too.
Maybe travel is not the number one priority when looking for a job. Indeed, for many, any job in a tough job market will do. But that surely does not mean that we can’t make our jobs what we want them to be, eventually.