One word: VACATION. Now tell me quickly – what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Chances are, the words “beach”, “poolside” or “sun” likely popped in your head first. (Or, if you’re like some of my friends, “margaritas”.) However, for a growing number of people, vacations are also a time to embark on a new adventure or pursue a personal interest. As a recent TD survey found, approximately three-quarters (74 per cent) of Canadians have already taken or are interested in taking an experiential vacation, and almost two-thirds (62 per cent) would consider it if they could find ways to save on the cost of those trips.
So, what are these experiential vacations?
I could easily add to this list: art classes in Paris, culinary tours in Japan, zip-lining in Central America or going on safari in Africa. As for experimenting in my own city? Hey, I’ve heard there’s some pretty spectacular shopping downtown :)
Sounds amazing, right? However, it’s not surprising to hear that more than half (53 per cent) of those surveyed expect an experiential vacation to cost more than a normal one. And while an organized savanna tour can definitely set you back a few more $$, the reality is, planning (and affording) an incredible experiential vacation is actually within reach for many.
“A great way that can help reduce the cost of experiential tourism is to pay for some of your travel purchase costs with loyalty travel rewards that you earn when you make purchases with a travel rewards credit card,” notes Christine Hunter, Vice President, TD Credit Cards. “For example, under the TD Travel Rewards Program, Credit Cardholders can have access to benefits such as travel insurance and preferred car rental rates, and other advantages depending on which card works best for you.”
The good news? You CAN make it happen! Here are some additional tips from Hunter that could make travel more affordable:
Know how much to save: Calculate the full cost of the trip, including all associated costs, such as transportation, accommodation, transfers, tips, activities, meals and travel insurance.
Create a vacation savings account: Have full sight of your expenses – through a monthly credit card statement for example – to identify where day-to-day savings can be made. Then put those extra dollars into a high-interest savings account, which can grow into a nice holiday fund. For example, saving $25 a week can generate $1,300 in a year that you can use for your vacation. It helps to start saving as early as possible.
Look for free or inexpensive activities: Research prices online and see if savings can be made by booking activities before reaching your vacation destination.
Use your loyalty travel rewards to help save on travel costs: Use a travel rewards credit card to pay for all of your everyday purchases, and then redeem the loyalty travel rewards earned on those purchases to help reduce the overall cost of the trip. Remember, to benefit fully from using any credit card, pay the balance on time and in full.
So, will you go pub-crawling in Ireland this year? Or maybe you’d love to see the beauty of Banff, Alberta. Think outside the all-inclusive, friends! Be money-smart, savings-savvy and use a travel rewards program to make it happen.
What is your dream experiential vacation?