Ask an Expert: Daniel L. Spears

Daniel L. Spears standing with an open laptop computer. (Photo by Mike Woodruff)How do you create vacation memories without breaking the bank?
 
Summer trips can be costly, but Daniel L. Spears, assistant professor of hospitality management, offers practical tips for a memorable summer vacation while spending less money.
 
“Tourism numbers are down across the board,” he says. “However, people are going to be traveling more regionally.”
 
Using his professional experience in the industry and his personal experience traveling across the Asia-Pacific and living in 11 states, Spears recommends the following ways to vacation for less:
 
Travel

  • Try a convenient package deal. Purchasing your rental car, hotel and airline ticket as a package typically saves money.
  • If flying, purchase tickets online. Booking online is often cheaper than other means.
  • Research flights leaving on Saturday and midweek for cheaper fares.
  • If driving, use a free gas cost estimator online that shows fuel prices across the country.

Internet resources

  • Check out often overlooked convention and travel bureau web sites for specials.  
  • Sign up for e-mail alerts for last-minute deals on airline, hotel and rental car web sites.
  • Once at your destination, use local papers, hotel and tour operators for discount information on local attractions and restaurants.

Lodging

  • Hotel rates in major destinations are currently reasonable because of decreased demand.
  • Check destination hotel web sites for deals such as “stay two nights, get the third night free.”
  • Camping can be ideal, especially for groups and families. But state and national parks are typically crowded in a tight economy — be aware and plan ahead.
  • Hostels are a viable option, especially for individuals, though you must be flexible and be willing to share a room and facilities with strangers.

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