This question has come to mind recently based on all the amazing travel deals on the web. If you are in any Facebook travel groups, your newsfeed has likely been filled with posts on travel deal after travel deal. I have clicked on and shared a few posts myself. Large numbers of travelers have been booking flights to Turks & Caicos, Australia and Paris in particular this week. I asked myself if these travelers pursued the travel deals on based on the deal itself or a desire to visit that particular location. Personally, I did not book any travel deal this past week and I explain why below. There are pros and cons to both so let’s discuss.
Chasing the travel deal:
I counted and I am currently active in 5 travel groups on Facebook. Being a part of these groups has been amazing. It has exposed me to destinations all over the world through stories and pictures. My bucket list of travel destinations has lengthened as a result of being a part of these groups. Places I had never thought of visiting peaked my interest based on travelers’ experiences. It has also taught me new ways to look for travel deals, book airfare and accommodations online. I have met online and in person very interesting people that share my passion for travel. It alerted me to one of the best airfare “glitch” travel deals to the UAE on Christmas Day 2014. Although I was not able to book this particular deal, I became very aware of the value of these groups in sharing time sensitive travel deals. When a travel deal is posted in one of these groups, there is often discussion of people booking it and encouraging others to do the same. This may be for popular destinations such as Paris or London or destinations such as New Delhi or The Seychelles. I have noticed travelers purchasing tickets to places they may not have even heard of based on the travel deal. There often seems to be pressure from peers to book the deal and worry about the other stuff later. “Other stuff” like getting those particular dates off work, finding a travel partner if you do not desire to travel solo and finding affordable accommodations. Most of the travelers I know work full time and have a travel budget so these are real things to consider. Chasing the travel deal works well for those without a bucket list, a limited travel budget and a flexible work schedule to grab those last minute deals. It also helps to be adventurous and spontaneous. I can definitely understand the excitement of booking a great deal and traveling to someplace new. However, chasing the travel deal is not the only way to do so. So, what is the alternative?
Chasing the Destination:
I remember reading and falling in love with Roman and Greek novels while in high school. I knew I had to get to Rome and Athens to see the ruins and learn more about their history. Fortunately, I have done both. As a young adult I knew I had to see one of the most recognized landmarks in the world. The Eiffel Tower in Paris did not disappoint. As a Jamaican American I had dreams of visiting the motherland. Arriving in South Africa last fall was literally a dream come true. As a romantic I wanted to visit the remarkable Isle of Capri. While on a cruise of the Mediterranean Sea I did just that. To me, there is nothing like crossing a bucket list destination off your list. There is nothing like seeing in person places you have read about and dreamt about. Have you come across any of those articles on “Places to see before you die?” Well, I have a list of places I will make every effort to see while I am able and before I die. I actually keep a mental travel bucket list and every year commit to seeing at least one new place. I have succeeded in doing that for 17 years both nationally and internationally! This year I have planned trips to bucket list destinations of Cuba, Sedona, Charleston and Dubai along with return trips to NYC and Miami. I already have my eye out for next year on deals to Thailand, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Brazil. Since I work full time and have a specific amount of vacation days, I choose my destinations wisely. At my current position I work any day of the week including Holidays. Once my schedule is published, it is very difficult to change it. This makes last minute travel deals and deals based on set dates very difficult for me to book. I also balance personal travel with family time and obligations. And, although I would love to spend all of my income on travel, I have other lifetime goals such as saving money for my retirement house on a beach 🙂 So, even though I am often tempted to book travel deals that come up almost every day, I always keep my eye on my bucket list. Would I consider going someplace off my list based on a great travel deal and recommendations? Absolutely. I have done so in the past. I just do not make a habit of it for the reasons stated above.
So why not do both?
It is very possible to chase the travel deal and the travel destination. Here are some tips on doing so.
Sign up for alerts from your home airport/airline and look out for deals to your bucket list destinations.
Download the Hopper Travel App. I just started using this and I like it! You can save flight itineraries to several destinations and receive alerts when fares drop.
Learn how to use Google Flights . This is the first place I go to for flight information. It has a calendar view showing dates with the lowest fares, airlines and number of stops.
Join travel groups on Facebook. Some of my favorites are Nomadness Travel Tribe, ForBlackWomenOnly Travel Group, Black Girls Fly and Girls Love Travel. By simply scrolling your newsfeed you are sure to come across some of the best travel deals of the day!
So, do you chase the travel deal or the destination? Share your thoughts with us below.
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Dr. Nadeen White is a "Blogger by Day, Physician by Night". She is an award-winning travel blogger, Amazon bestselling author and speaker. The Sophisticated Life Blog covers affordable luxury travel, culinary travel and wine. Her domestic and international travel guides gets people to the destinations of their dreams. So, if you are living the sophisticated life or desire to do so, this is the blog for you!