Ask A Detroit Expert: Tips For Traveling Internationally On A Budget

June 14, 2014 8:00 AM

A KC-10 jet. U.S. Air Force photo

As amazing and wonderful as Detroit and Michigan are, sometimes you’ve just got get away. Heading across the pond, whether it be to Europe or even to the opposite side of the world, can be an expensive proposition. Everything from flights to lodging to safety and even transportation once you’ve arrived at your destination is going to cost money. And more than likely, it’s going to cost a lot of it. In an effort to best help Metro Detroiters minimize their costs and maximize their joy while they’re abroad, we’ve assembled a few travel tips to help make sure your next international trip doesn’t send you to the poor house.
holland america Ask A Detroit Expert: Tips For Traveling Internationally On A Budget

Jeff Eaton Owner Seven Seas Travel (Courtesy of Seven Seas Travel)

Geoffrey Lenart
Seven Seas Travel
20762 Kelly Road
Eastpointe, MI 48021
(586) 775-7300

Seven Seas Travel of Eastpointe, MI has been in the travel agency business for the last 50 years. It offers convenient payment plans which its customers can utilize to pay for their vacations over time. Seven Seas Travel agents have been to most of the destinations that they book, while some of the agents have even lived in these destinations. Local knowledge of the travel destination can never be overestimated. Seven Seas Travel can arrange custom travel packages and offers a wide variety of guided and semi-guided tours. A weekly custom email can be sent out to subscribers which will highlight a given destination, offering more variety than big, online vendors. Co-owner of Seven Seas Travel, Geoffrey Lenart, shares his tips for traveling internationally and not breaking your bank account.

seven seas Ask A Detroit Expert: Tips For Traveling Internationally On A Budget

Seven Seas Travel Storefront (Courtesy of Seven Seas Travel)

Book Ahead

When it comes to international travel these days, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is air travel costs. While hotels do offer significant discounts on a regular basis, the simple truth of the matter is that airlines have been consistently raising ticket prices for the last three to five years. These air travel costs can quickly price that dream vacation out of reach for international travel. For the busy summer travel season, the best way to save is to book six to nine months in advance when many seats are still available and prices are relatively low. Adept travel agencies can provide even larger discounts as many go through ticket wholesalers and consolidators.

A Guided Tour or Go it Alone?

Guided tours offer the traveler a convenient way to see many destinations within a short period of time at a lower flat-rate price. Most travel agencies do business with around a dozen of these international travel companies and there are plenty of guided tours to choose from. Two to three meals per day, plus daily transport and airfare, are also often included at one flat-rate price. The international travel company does this by buying hotel rooms, airline tickets and local transportation in large quantities which it then passes along to the traveler. In the last two to three years, some international travel companies have created semi-guided tours which allow the traveler a way to connect daily to local guides and move at their own pace. An adept travel agent will know which semi-guided tours are available from which specific international travel company.

The downside to the guided tour approach is that most travel is limited to a handful of popular destinations, the tour does not spend a lot of time at a specific destination and the traveler is always on the go. For those just getting started, this may work best while other travelers are better advised to work with a travel agency more directly to set up attractive custom tours and packages at lower prices than can be found online.

The Advantage Of Group Travel

In the international travel world, more is usually better. If one travels in a group, the more, the merrier, as the larger the group, the greater the discounts that will be offered by travel agents, airline vacation companies and other vendors. Start early in the group planning process and be sure to appoint/find a good group leader who can facilitate the decision-making process on what destinations should be visited, how much to charge group members and bring more group members into the tour. A good group leader will work directly with the travel agency/vendor to minimize the time each group member has to spend in the planning process.

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Avoid Travel In The “High Season”

Most international travel destinations have two to three pricing plans based upon what is called the High, Medium and Low Season. Travelers looking to save money are advised to travel in the Medium and Low Season to avoid Peak or High Season prices and occasional unwanted crowds. Hundreds if not thousands of dollars can be saved in just airline costs alone if you know when to travel. Ask yourself, is there something going on in July that cannot be seen in mid-September or early October? If one does not have school age children to plan around, this option is even more feasible and can provide even more significant benefits as the crowds are gone and one can experience more in less time at a lower price.

Think Outside The Box

Left to their own resources, many travelers will make the mistake of going with familiar name hotels in well-known locations at higher prices. Many others will make the mistake of booking rooms in hotels that offer services and options that will rarely, if ever, be utilized by the traveler. The adept travel agent will work directly with the traveler to avoid these pitfalls and concentrate on what is needed to maximize the value of the vacation dollar. The adept travel agent has knowledge of the lesser-known hotels that offer great value in price and a great location that often lowers local transport costs, such as expensive taxicabs.

Related: Best Hotels And Halls For Weddings In Metro Detroit

Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at

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