My friend Ryan is famous for his discount vacations. He is practically the king of last minute vacations. Sometimes it will be something classy like a cruise, other times it will be a stay in a hovel-like hotel in Mexico. Either way, he seems happy. The amazing thing about it is that he can afford vacations at all. Ryan has always struck me as someone who lives above his means. He makes a decent living as a teacher, but it is nothing to write home about. Nonetheless, some of his discount vacation trips are pretty impressive. He took a cruise up to Alaska one year, and another year he stayed in a castle in Scotland. He is gone several times a year, and for the life of me I can’t figure out how he manages it.
I finally was overcome with curiosity, and I asked him about his discount vacations. He smiled at me, and said that his secret was smarts. When I wasn’t satisfied with this vague, infuriating answer, he finally leveled with me. He didn’t do anything unusual, he just made finding discount vacation packages his hobbies. If you look at enough places, you can always find an extremely affordable last minute trip one way or another. It is just a matter of keeping an eye out.
When I begged and pleaded, he finally showed me his method for finding discount vacations. I was a little bit surprised by a lot of it. I had figured that it would mostly involve Internet vacation deals, but that only accounted for about half of his trips. He actually spent a lot of time dealing with legitimate vacation travel planners. He had several contacts in the travel industry, and all of them knew to call him when something special came along. He was known for being willing to take vacations anywhere. His only priority was that they were inexpensive and exotic.
Surprisingly, this made him a good client for several of his business contacts. Travel agents are always looking for ways to sell discount vacations. They get big kickbacks, you see, from the tourist industry in regions of decreasing popularity. If they can get people to come to an area that depends on tourism, but that has recently fallen out of favor for one reason or another, they can make a lot of money. Although Ryan’s discount vacation trips were never very expensive, combined they accounted for a lot of cash flow. This is why the travel agents were always willing to set up discount vacations for him.