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Money Saving Tips for Vacation Travel

Tropical_VacationToday, as we want to grow our own businesses, taking vacations is still very important as a, “mind clearing” exercise. But even if we are just looking to save money, planning a vacation is still a good place to mind the budget and get the best vacation value we can. Looking for ways to save money during your travel this summer? Of course, today’s economy is always a good motivator for money saving as we plan our vacations. So for, “belt tightening” or just looking to get the most vacation for our vacation money, here are some valuable money saving tips:

Travel “Out of Season”

Years ago, before our daughters reached school age, we were able to save a lot of money on several trips to Martha’s Vineyard by going in September, after the Labor Day weekend here in the U.S. – the traditional end to the summer vacation season. At that time of year, the weather is still wonderful… maybe even a bit cooler than the hottest summer days, but swimming, biking, boating and all the other outdoor activities are still great. All the restaurants were still open, tourist attractions still active, but everything was significantly less expensive than it was for those who traveled there “during the season” from the end May until the end of August. Another old trick is to plan air travel across a Saturday night. For some reason, this often creates significant savings. And, of course, avoid travel on those high traffic holiday weekends… both on the roads and in the air. Overall, switching your weekend trips to weekday trips will often help you stretch your vacation budget much further.

Don’t Wait to Book

Today, you can Save Big on Travel Packages at LastMinuteTravel.com, but I’ve generally found that planning ahead saves money – and gives you more choices.  If you have an idea of where you want to travel and what you want to do, when you plan ahead, there are many more choices available and not yet sold out. And, of course, if you find a vacation or package that you like, but it is too expensive, you will know where to look to possibly find it, “at the last minute.” An alternative is, since you are not, “desperate,” you might be in a somewhat better bargaining position to get better pricing. Old story… when I was in the Navy, a LONG time ago, I would often show up at the door of the San Diego (where my ship was home ported) Symphony, and usually was able to get a nice seat for that night’s performance – at below posted prices. Always made for a nice evening.
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Get, “Off the Beaten Path”

Back to Martha’s Vineyard, instead of staying at one of the regular tourist places close to towns and beaches, we opted for a rental property that we shared with another couple, a bit inland, for a lot less money. We had to drive to towns, beaches, and restaurants (but we also cooked in quite a bit – especially for breakfast) but the savings were worth it. So as you investigate and plan your vacation, look for the, “a little out of the way” places that might be more fun, and may very well save you money. This is also how we found the landmark Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, CA… and that place is really special!

Carry Some of Your Own Food

Yes, we know… one of the fun parts about a vacation is not having to cook. But eating out every meal can get pretty expensive. So a good, money-saving compromise is to bring some of your own food for the mobile parts of the trip, then cook some of your own meals where you are staying, and go out for others. A bit of planning here for your “pre-departure” shopping will help you buy the right food at the right price – and since you will most likely be doing the shopping where you usually shop, you’ll know you’re getting the best prices… it will also keep you away from expensive “impulse” items. This shopping list can also help you hold to your “dining out” budget. You might plan, for instance, that during a week’s stay, you might have 3 dinners out, maybe 3 lunches out, and really splurge for one breakfast out (gain less weight that way).

Keep Your Eyes Open for Package Deals

Many vacation locations bundle room, food, and some entertainment and special activities… to really save you a bundle. For instance, Last Minute Cruise Deals – Now in LastMinuteTravel.com and dude ranches are very good, and very convenient this way. Some of these packaged plans may include airport shuttles. Dig a bit deeper to see if an all-inclusive package deal might work best for you.

The important thing is to start planning your vacation as far in advance as possible to take advantage of any savings you can find – and giving yourself extra time to look for deals will leave you in the position of saving money… this is good.

DanSig-02

 

 

 

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Photography Book Reviews

As a person looking to save money in your business and in your travel planning, or possibly someone who is planning on starting your own photography business, you most likely will be looking to save money on your photography, and the best way to do that is to become your own good photographer. Whereas I have had many years of, sometimes expensive, trial an error learning to take pretty good photos (and I have the bad shots to prove it!), today, there are an amazing number of great photography books that you can quickly use to learn to take great photos – save yourself lots of the learning time and expense that I went through. I have reviewed several great books on photography, books I have purchased, read, and learned from myself. Here are some of these photo book reviews:

Photo Nuts and Bolts by Neil Creek – The first of a series of four great books on the basics and mechanics of photography.

Photo Nuts and Shots by Neil Creek – The second in Neil Creek’s photo basics course gets you going on good exposure and good composition.

Photo Nuts and Gear by Neil Creek – Neil Creek’s third book looks at the actual gear, what you might want for what types of photos you might want to take.

Photo Nuts and Post by Neil Creek – This is Neil’s great exploration of what can be done with photos after the shutter is clicked to take a good photo up to a great photo that you will proudly show to friends and family.

Living Landscapes by Todd and Sara Sisson – Todd and Sara explore exploring with your camera, developing your eye and technique for those great photo that you will definitely want large prints of to decorate your walls.

Natural Light: Mastering a Photographer’s Most Powerful Tool by Mitchell Kanashkevich – The title says it all… using just you camera, no additional lighting – this is a great book for travel photographers who want to carry as little equipment as possible.

Starting Your Own Wedding Photography Business – Nick Smith has created a wonderful, and astonishingly reasonably priced book, Digital Wedding Secrets: Tips Tricks & Techniques for Breathtaking Wedding Photography

Sell Your Digital Photos – Michael Kryzer and David Goldsmith, your Camera Career Team have created “Sell Your Digital Photos.” They take a very good look at the very active and, with the right photos, very profitable, stock photography market.

Trick Photography and Special Effects – In about 180 pages, Evan Sharboneau takes you through literally HUNDREDS of special effects that you can create in your camera, in a graphics editing program like PhotoShop, or with some other new programs that can produce some STUNNING results from your photos.

Make $$$ Taking Local Photos – John Carroll’s basic point is that there is quite a bit of money to be made taking photographs locally for newspapers, at children’s parties, for people who want good photos for eBay, selling cars online, etc. His book maps out one path to success in this business.

As I said, I’ve purchased and read these books, so when I recommend them, I’m serious. By all means take a look at the reviews and purchase books that apply to you.

Please Note: Some of the links on the review pages are, “Affiliate Links.” This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission should you purchase from that site. But as you would expect, I only recommend people and companies with whom I already do business, or have done business with in the past, and whom I trust and respect, and I recommend them because I find that they are helpful and useful, not because of any small commissions I make should you decide to purchase from them. Please do not spend any money on any products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your business and personal goals.

Thanks…

DanSig-02

Save Money – Ideas for Vacation Destinations

As you grow your business or if you are just looking for money saving vacation ideas, sometimes, it’s good to think outside the box for something new and different. Get your, “outside the box thinking” going with these mind primers:

vacation_cottage

  • Rent a Lakeside or Vacation Cottage
    The world is full of lakes, large and small (I grew up near Lake Michigan, but we enjoyed tiny Fox Lake more often). And there are many small to medium sized cottages available at a reasonable rent for a few days to a few weeks. Usually there are scenic views, swimming, boating and canoeing, fishing, sailing, hiking, and great places to eat nearby. Often, there are also many historic sites nearby to see and get a flavor of what life may have been like a few hundred to a few thousand years ago (see my previous post). Many also have cooking facilities so you can choose to economically cook for yourself or explore local dining spots and foods. Many of these cottages are near memorable shopping opportunities, theme parks and other entertainment venues, and great historical sites, all just waiting to be explored. Some even feel that they are very remote, but may be just a short drive from metropolitan areas with even more to offer. For instance, take a look at Lastminutetravel Homes Vacation Rentals.

RV_Travel

  • Take a Recreational Vehicle (RV) Tour
    For the ultimate in freedom to explore your country (the U.S. for me), nothing really beats a Recreational Vehicleicon – the combination car and camper that goes where you want to go – kind of like a turtle… you have your home on your back wherever you go. For two days or two months, wander, explore and learn – and enjoy. Here are a few interesting ideas for RV vacationing:

    • Park in a forest (make sure it is legal) and hike and take photos during the day, all the while having your “home base” nearby.
    • Or drive somewhere new every day, and overnight in regular RV parks – which often have electric, water, and sewer facilities. Look at it this way. You may be in a different location every night, but you always have the same bed to look forward to every night… makes for better sleeping.
    • RVs are great ways to visit theme parks. Park your RV close by, and visit the park during the day, but be “home” each night – unless you choose to “go out on the town” in the theme park… but you’ll still have that same comfortable bed waiting for you when you get back.
    • Sight-seeing is great in an RV. Lay out an itinerary of sights you want to see, of course leaving some flexibility to take advantages of opportunities you spot along the way. This way you can cover a big swatch of your country and be back in time for the start of the school year. Friends of our did this a few years ago… they rented an RV and traveled around the US for about 10 weeks during the summer. They had lots of great experiences, took lots of great photos, and didn’t spend as much money as they might have with other forms of vacation. That was quite a few years ago, but they all still talk about the trip – memories that last a lifetime.

    Horseback Riding

  • Horseback Riding on a Dude Ranch
    This is fun… I know I had a lot of fun a few years back when I included a dude ranch on a vacation trip I took in the Western U.S. Though I was single at the time, dude ranches are great for family vacations. You’ll find that they usually are pretty inclusive as they feed you, house you, entertain you, and give you a real adventure… and everyone will enjoy themselves. You will also have the opportunity to take great photos. The ranch I went to is in Colorado, and I got some great photos there, but there are dude ranches all over the country with many different types of scenery. Some dude ranches even include overnight stays on the trail. Bottom line: I highly recommend dude ranches.

Ski-South_America

 

  • Skiing in the Summer?
    Of course, there is always water skiing… but what about snow skiing? Well, yes, it isn’t a mistake. You kind of have a choice – some mountains in the northern hemisphere retain their snow all winter long, and offer skiing. Or… if home is in the northern hemisphere, head South… remember, when we up north are in our Summer months, there is great skiing in the Southern hemisphere… where it is winter… cool! When you get to the skiing destinations, you escape the summer heat, and, again, your family will certainly have exciting times to talk about in the fall… and the kids will really have, “What I did this summer,” stories to tell back at school.

So when you start thinking about what you and your family would like to do this summer, your first stop should be the internet. Do your research, locate the places you would like to visit, and lay out an itinerary that is the vacation YOU and YOUR FAMILY want. Find the prices that fit your budget… and GO!


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