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Thrifty Thursday: Save Hundreds (or Thousands) on Tours by Shopping Around

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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.

living it up on the coast line in Peru

Living it up on the coast line in Peru.

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.

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8 Responses to Thrifty Thursday: Save Hundreds (or Thousands) on Tours by Shopping Around

  1. John of Travel Rinse Repeat April 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    Wow that’s an amazing amount to save. It really does pay to know what you want ahead of time and have some flexibility when shopping around for flights.

  2. Jeremy Branham April 20, 2012 at 5:14 am #

    I have to admit – that was some pretty good research to find savings on the tour.

    • Katrina April 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

      Thanks Jeremy. I’ve travelled with Kumuka twice now and it’s always been a great experience, and they have regular sales – the last was 25% off 🙂

  3. Ian [EagerExistence] April 20, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    That’s some great frugal travel advice right there! And who doesn’t love to save some money travelling. I knew all about travel hacking for flights and airline miles, but that’s the first I’ve heard of being able to do it with tours.

    • Brooke May 2, 2012 at 3:36 am #

      Well at BvtW, we’re all about learning something new 🙂

  4. Brock - Backpack With Brock April 25, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    What a deal! Being able to jump on deals at a moment’s notice is the best way to get a great price

  5. Craig Beaks May 5, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Huge discount! My wife will be ecstatic. Thank you for sharing your experience Katrina. We owe you!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Thrifty Thursday: Get 10% (or more) Off Select Organized Tours | Brooke vs. the World - April 27, 2012

    […] Thursday: Get 10% (or more) Off Select Organized Tours Last week on Thrifty Thursday, we covered the way to get a huge discount off of an organized tour. Katrina shared how she saved […]

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