Here, here. I love planning a vacation. Getting a deal is not only a matter of savings. It's a matter of pride.
On that note, I don't simply go for the cheap. I am all about value. If, for example, I visit Disney World, I like to stay in a Disney Vacation Club resort. I book my vacation using an online points trading system, bargain with the owner, get a huge discount on a nice room, and eat my breakfasts and lunches in the room so that I can splurge on a nice dinner. By doing this, I stay close to the action, my accommodations are nice, and I can enjoy a high quality meal every day.
I tend to follow these tips to save money here and there so that I don't feel guilty buying an expensive meal or staying at a nice resort:
People in general seem to have a fixation on money when it comes to the price of something. I think it's one of the things that has gotten us in trouble as a country and as Americans. It's something that I call the "wal-mart effect". People have been trained to ignore quality, and to think that the lowest priced item is the best one. They've also been trained to ignore the other aspects of the price of something. Price isn't just a monetary thing, it's your time, the resources you used to get there to buy it, your comfort, convenience, and happiness. It's about how long the item will last, when you will have to replace it, and whether or not you get any service if or when it malfunctions. It's not just about the money you are paying for it now, but also about the long term. Buy a cheap pair of shoes...chances are you'll have to buy 3 pairs to one nicer and marginally more expensive pair. Check into a cheap hotel...chances are the service will be horrible, the beds will be uncomfortable, and God only knows what else could go wrong. Buy McDonald's chicken nuggets...I'll just stop right there.
When it comes to theme parks, value is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I think that Disney offers some of the least value for your dollar in the industry. When compared with the attraction lineups of many amusement parks, there aren't really that many rides, unless you pay to visit all the Disney parks. With Disney, the lines are long and everything costs a kidney. However the quality of the attractions, food, and hotels make it a little easier for people to pay out for them. Sea World is the same way....70+ bucks for a ticket to a few good marine shows, a few good rides, and a decent restaurant or two. Personally, I don't see the value in most of the Orlando parks, which is why I don't visit them a ton. Are they worth experiencing at least once...absolutely, but there is little in me that wants to pay that much to go again the next year. I would much rather pay $40 for a ticket to Cedar Point or some other good amusement park, and ride to my hearts content, or if I'm after the value..a season pass.
That's just me though. My advice to people on vacation. Look for deals because they are out there. All it takes is a little internet research. Remember though that the purpose of a vacation is to have a good time, so don't underbudget. Don't be stupid with your money, but remember that life is too short. You work too hard, and you probably get only one (or less) of these a year. Regardless of whether you have to save for a year or a week, bring enough money to make memories and have fun...whatever your taste may be. That's what vacation is for.
Right now, after much planning, Zachary and I will be headed back to Disney for the last time next year. I wanted to make it special, so I have done alot of research to get the best bang for a buck as the Chevy guys say about the Carmaro. I think I have done a "good" job and hopefully Zachary will remember this one as one of the best he has ever taken with his pap-pap.
Bobby, formally known as Bob & Robert!!!!!!!
I don't think I'd be patronizing any of those parks.