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Top Five Destinations, Value for Your Money!

Top Five Destinations, Value for Your Money!

As a travel writer for a web based travel portal company, I come across quite a few travel destinations and deals and decided to share my top five travel destinations that offer the best deals including value. My focus is always value, not the lowest price. As we all have different budgets, I like to choose from a range of budget accommodations to deluxe. I sifted through everything from little known destinations for a quiet romantic getaway to all-inclusive resorts for the whole family to cruising.

The destinations and properties or cruise make my list when I see true value in the “deal”. For example, if someone says the sale price is $100 per night at 50% off, and I do my homework and realize that the property is always $100 and not really worth it – there is no value. It is when I see they are truly offering a deal that is rare, either a great price that is actually less than you would expect for the level of service and accommodations or if I see tons of added value, I want to recommend it to everyone!

My top destinations and the best deals that go with them:

1) Mexico: All-inclusive resorts continue to be a great value – you just have to be careful that it offers everything it says it does. A one price for all drinks, food, water sports (at most resorts) and activities can save hundreds on your vacation.

The Riu Palace Riviera Maya in Mexico is my first top pick for price-friendly getaway. The Riviera Maya is about 20 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Cancun and a 100-mile long stretch located along the coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula. The center of this beautiful area is Playa del Carmen, just across the ocean from Cozumel Island, and half way between Cancun and Tulum (amazing Mayan Ruins). Playa del Carmen is the perfect home base for exploring Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. The Caribbean reef off shore is a big attraction for travelers as well.

The Riu Palace offers a wide variety of suites on miles of white sandy beachfront property. With restaurants, bars, and snacks available to you 24 hours a day, this four star rated resort marks high when you’re counting pennies. Their current deal: Air & 4 nights from $606. Please note most air inclusive packages give you a sample price from Florida, assume it will be a bit more from other states – the pricing is right on the web site.

I actually found a number of great deals in Cancun as well, and yes, I checked them out through a number of sources. Just go to this site and you will see 50% off (for real) all inclusives in Cancun. During College and University school breaks, it is the Mecca of partying for 18-25yr olds, but during other times of the year it is a good place for everyone. Cancun is a big hotel strip, with tons of bars and …

Quick Way to Save Money on Southwest Airline Flights

Quick Way to Save Money on Southwest Airline Flights

Due to unexpected circumstances, I have to fly to Los Angeles the next day. I am by no means a frequent business traveler. I have always used Southwest Airline to travel from Northern California to Southern California because of their prices. So I go to Southwest website to check their list of available flights, and I was shocked to find out that each flight is priced $124. The total for the roundtrip including taxes and fees is a whopping $269. What happened to their often advertised $49 one-way fare? Apparently, those low fares must be booked certain days in advance (usually 14 days). I also searched other sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity, Expedia, everything except Priceline.

Finally, I gave up looking and decided to pay $269 for the Southwest flight. I was going through the checkout process then I saw a section called “Apply Travel Funds”. After a little bit of research on Southwest website, I learned that you can apply credits from previous unused ticket on your next reservation. Then it hits me, there must be people out there who might be willing to sell these credits at reduced prices before they expire. But where would I find these people? A quick goolge of “southwest travel fund” returns two obvious places: Ebay and Craiglist.

The first place I tried is Ebay. Do a search on “Southwest credit” and BINGO! There are several auctions where people are selling their expiring credits at discounted prices. After a quick scan, I picked up one auction where the original credit amount is $250, but the seller is selling it for $200 Buy-It-Now. That’s a 20% saving! Like every careful ebay user, I verified the seller’s feedbacks and past auctions. I made sure that there are no other hidden charges. In this case, there is no shipping fee since the delivery method is by email. The only information you need from the seller is the flight confirmation number and the name entered in the payment information section of the original reservation.

So I paid the seller via Payal (credit card funded) and send a message to seller letting them know that I am waiting for the name and confirmation number. About 1 hour later, I received an email from the seller with the information I needed. So, I head back to Southwest website and proceed to purchase the flight I had picked earlier. I entered the information provided by the seller and clicked “Apply Ticketless Travel Fund” button. Bam! $250 is taken off from my total amount, and now I only have to pay another $19 to complete the transaction. So, the final price I paid is $219 for tickets originally priced at $269. A saving of $50 for maybe 15 minutes of work.

Just to follow up, I also checked out Craigslist and found several people selling the same thing. However, I opt to go with ebay because it was easier to check the references of the seller on ebay. Also not everyone …