In tough economy, some travel deals
Posted April 3, 2009

Megan Sebestyen
Staff Writer


With spring break fast approaching, the time has come when students dream of vacations going to a far-off, sun soaked beach.

Students take road trips with their friends for a week of adventures and families embark on a cruise or stay at a resort for a break from the concerns of jobs and school.

But this year’s troubled economy could make taking a vacation difficult.

“The economy has been hard on the travel industry overall,” Sandy Rodley, manager of Via Verde Travel, said.

According to a survey in 2008 by the U.S. Tour Operators Association, 46 percent of Americans are reacting to the troubled economy by taking a trip closer to home.

A survey conducted by the Travel Industry Association found the average overnight trip within the United States lasts three nights and costs an average of $557, excluding transportation.

Funding a vacation is even more difficult for students, many of whom rely on a part-time job for their income.

“I know I can’t do as much because work has cut so many of my hours,” Nora Logsdon, sophomore liberal studies major, said.

“I’m driving less because of the high gas prices,” freshman Johanna Juan said.

Travel is not just a luxury reserved for times of prosperity and those of extreme wealth. Traveling can be affordable even for students on a budget.

“People are still traveling, despite the tough times,” Rodley said. “A lot of our clientele are very loyal and still seems to have the funds and the ability to travel.”

The good news for those in search of deals is that major companies have extended special offers and cut rates to attract potential customers.

Disney is offering special admission packages to Disneyland like two park tickets for the price of one.

Because of the decrease in fuel prices and a lessened demand for airline travel, many airlines have reduced their fares. AirTran Airways now offers one-way tickets for $39 between destinations such as Florida to Puerto Rico.

“There are a lot of great values out there right now,” Rodley said.

Rodley also said people are planning more last-minute travel.

“People are still traveling and they are traveling closer to their travel dates than they normally would. Normally people talk about next summer or next year,” Rodley said.

“The majority of clients are planning to travel next week or next month,” Rodley said.

“All of the industry is switching gears to accommodate people who want to travel last minute,” Rodley said. “People have the money now and want to travel now rather than in six months in case they don ‘t have a job then.”

By taking advantage of low fares and special offers, planning an inexpensive trip can be easy.

Rodley recommends that people do their homework and explore all their options before traveling.

“The trick would be to use a professional in the industry who will do the research for you,” Rodley said.

“We take the time to compare prices and make sure that you are getting the best price. Consumers need to be educated before they travel,” Rodley added.

Those in search of vacation packages should also allow their schedules to be flexible since airline ticket prices can vary on different days of the week.

Vacationers should also avoid tourist hotspots and instead take advantage of the local flavor of a destination.

Dining on local cuisine from street vendors and staying in a local hotel slightly off the beaten path can save quite a lot of money.

Megan Sebestyen can be reached at megan.sebestyen@laverne.edu.

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