The following is a Thrifty Thursday guest post by Katrina Robinson.
I am a solo female traveler. As such, I completely understand that it is not everyone’s idea of a holiday/ adventure experience, but I feel more comfortable and safe when traveling as part of an organized tour (it’s also my family’s preference!). So when planning a trip to South America last year I started with brochures from the big travel companies (Intrepid, Gecko, Gap, and Kumuka) to compare routes, inclusions, duration and departure dates.
It didn’t take long to find the exact tour I wanted – 56 days traveling from Quito in Ecuador, down through Peru and Bolivia ending in Santiago, Chile with Kumuka Worldwide.
Two fabulous months of relaxing in the Amazon, trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, taking loco photos on the Uyuni salt flats and beaches, beaches, beaches! The tour included all transportation, accommodation, the Inca Trail (plus many other entrance fees) and food for approximately 35% of the trip. It also included a driver and a tour leader who were readily available to help, offer shopping and eating recommendations and became friends over the weeks.
It sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Well it did to me too.
One problem though, the tour cost was pushing out my overall budget.
Being a thrifty traveler, I didn’t pay full price and here’s how I did it:
The tour cost $6,270 AUSTRALIAN dollars, however it was only $5,610 US dollars. Kumuka let you select what currency you pay in (unlike other tour companies), so you can also take advantage of good exchange rates.
I had time to look around, so I signed up to receive Kumuka emails, followed them on Facebook (where there are regular sales advertised) and would occasionally Google external companies offering sales. Through Facebook I found Affordable Tours who were offering 35% off the US prices on selected Kumuka tours. Thanks to my travel consultant, Alan, I paid $3,646.
That’s a massive saving of $2,624!
I was doing the happy dance that for the original price of the tour, I had the tour and my airfares (during peak holiday periods) covered.
So what’s the catch?
I had to pay in full at time of booking. In my case I’d been saving and planning for a while so it wasn’t a stretch. For those who do like to wait until it’s almost trip time, I checked the site and last minute deals offered less than $1,000 discounts. Sometimes the early bird does get the worm!
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Thrifty Thursday is seeking guest bloggers to share their very own mind-blowing budget-busting travel tips. DIY tours and gear, extreme savings, how-to-have-a-$25-travel-day posts — anything that shows the numbers and is not your standard “don’t eat out” type tips are welcome. Contact Brooke.