Let’s Deal – LCM 50 Winter 2019

Let’s Deal

This is a busy time of year in Los Cabos, but there are also great promotions for travel, hotels, activities, and meals. Here’s how to find them

By Sandra A. Berry

Maybe you’re like me: You love to vacation but hate the planning, not to mention the cost involved before you even pack a bag. With today’s travel resources, any trip, anywhere in the world can be a pleasure to plan and an experience to remember. Here are some ideas and resources to help you plan your next trip, your wish-trip, or your once-in-a-lifetime around-the-world trip.

Flights

Knowing which one to use is the big question. Several tests have been conducted by companies such as Frommer’s (www.frommers.com), a publication that has been in continuous publication since the 1957 debut of Arthur Frommer’s revolutionary Europe on $5 a Day, which changed the way the world traveled. It’s one of the most trusted names in the travel industry today, so why not take its word for finding the best online travel agencies (OTA)? Momondo (www.momondo.com), a subsidiary of Kayak, was voted the best source for the lowest price in fares. While many theories exist around booking on a Tuesday to save money, the reality is there is no consistent “cheapest day.” Most of the time, it is best to leave on a weekday, though this isn’t always the case. Your best strategy is to get a quick visual of prices for a whole month to see which days are most affordable for your specific route.

Accommodations

Los Cabos has an abundance of choices for hotel accommodations, from bed and breakfast to the most luxurious. There are more than 14,000 rooms available with an estimated 4,000 more to be added between 2018 and 2021. During the off-season, May–September, you can find discounts up to 75 percent. The largest hotel accommodation company in the world does not own any properties. There are hundreds of thousands of places to stay in 35,000 cities in 190 countries via Airbnb (www.airbnb.com), an American company that operates an online marketplace and hospitality service for people to lease or rent short-term lodging including holiday cottages, apartments, hostel beds, hotel rooms, or even a sofabed. I found a trick that I’ve used several times, especially in some of the difficult-to-book hotels in the national parks and that is to wait until the day of travel and call for reservations due to cancellations. This works if you are just a few hours away by car or air to your destination. You might consider this living on the edge, but it can work to your benefit to stay in the most popular place without waiting months on end for a reservation.

Activities

For cost-effective activities, your Los Cabos to-do list may include spending a day at the beach, finding a trail to hike or just enjoying the neighborhood or street life. It’s a great way to get to know the area, and it’s free. Contact the tourist information bureau (www.visitaloscabos .travel)in advance for free coupon books of potential adventures. Pick up a copy of the local newspaper or Los Cabos Magazine or click on www.loscabosguide.com for everything you need to know. You may stumble upon a local event such as a free concert. If planning to snorkel, bring your own snorkel gear to save on rental fees and it doesn’t take up much space. Check the websites of museums or tourist sites to find out if they offer free visiting hours or discounts.  Talk to the locals to get insider tips on what is happening in the community that might be of interest to a visitor, such as a fiesta, concert, wine tasting event, a street fair, or cultural event. Catch a magnificent sunset or sunrise. Visit a local market, especially outdoor markets. Check out the brochure shelf in the lobby of your hotel. Travel like the locals. Rent a bike, use public transportation. Walk as much as you can walk. Hit the street with your feet and get lost in a city or town. It’s amazing what you’ll discover around every corner. Share transportation costs with another traveler, a taxi, minivan, tours, etc. When there are groups of travelers, split the costs.

Food

My best tip: Eat out for breakfast, lunch, or brunch and avoid dinner in a restaurant. Many restaurants offer lunch specials, with menu items offered for a fraction of the cost you’d pay in the evening. At Alcaravea Gourmet, for example, you can get a three-course meal available noon–4:30 p.m. with your choice of fish, fowl, beef, or pasta for approximately $15 U.S. with all the fixings. Eat away from the tourist hotspots. Just one street over will usually be less expensive and more authentic. Have a picnic or barbecue. Purchase food in a local grocery store or market and arrange a picnic in one of the city’s parks or beaches. Make self-contained accommodations with kitchen facilities a priority. Purchasing your own food and cooking it yourself can help you save big. Take along your own food on flights, buses, and trains when practical. When booking a hotel or hostel, look for one that includes breakfast. Eat street food. Besides being frugal, you’re helping the locals…and know it’s safe. Speak of locals, pay attention to where they’re eating and what is popular. Purchase alcohol from a store and enjoy (within moderation) before going out. Take advantage of happy hours and stay away from the expensive imported stuff. Bring a water bottle. Paying for water adds up quickly.

Here in Los Cabos, we are fortunate to be able to offer prepaid vouchers for restaurants and activates at a savings of 35–50 percent of the retail cost (www.loscabosguide .com/discounts).

You can always ask which specials are available for airline, hotels, and restaurants. A friend of mine says she never pays retail. You, too, can negotiate the best deals to suit your pocketbook and still have a great trip with ease of planning and, best of all, peace of mind for not blowing the budget. All it takes is a little planning and patience. The resources are at your fingertips.