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How Much It Costs To Stay 5 Days in These 4 Caribbean Destinations

If you’re planning to visit the Caribbean, you’re not alone. “When it comes to exotic travel destinations, the Caribbean is one of the most popular choices people make to enjoy the always-summery weather, soak in some sun and relax on the picture-perfect beaches,” said Mercedes Zach, travel expert at ASAP Tickets.  

Though the Caribbean has a lot to offer, Zach assures customers that traveling there doesn’t have to break the bank. “Some might think that a vacation in the Caribbean is something only luxury travelers can afford, but the truth is that among over 5,000 islands, reefs and cays there is something for every taste and budget.” Aaron Sutherland, founder at Jetsetter, said, “Travelers flock to the Dominican Republic for its affordable all-inclusive resorts, stunning beaches like Punta Cana, and vibrant nightlife. The Dominican Republic is a great destination for water sports enthusiasts, offering world-class snorkeling, diving, and kiteboarding.” According to Sutherland, round-trip flights can be found for as low as $350 from major U.S. cities during the off-season. He said that budget-friendly all-inclusive resorts start around $100 per night, while smaller hotels and guesthouses can be found for even less.

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Restaurant Tipping Is So Different Internationally — Here’s What To Know

Have you ever found yourself in a mild panic when it’s time to pay your dinner bill on a vacation because you forgot to look up tipping etiquette in that country? You’re definitely not alone. Tipping expectations vary greatly throughout the world, and it can be hard to keep it all straight. Even if you know tipping isn’t standard in a particular region, it can still feel really weird not to leave a tip. Beyond that, in some places, tipping can even be seen as offensive.

It’s important to tip with the currency that’s used in the region you’re visiting. Even if you’re feeling desperate to empty your wallet of U.S. dollars, they’re probably not going to be all that useful to someone who lives in a country that doesn’t use them. “Be sure to tip in the local currency, as in most foreign countries, waiters won’t appreciate having to exchange the U.S. dollars,” said Alonso Marly, a travel agent at Skylux Travel. You’ll also want to follow local norms around whether cash or card tips are preferred. Often, cash is easier.

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7 Most Affordable Beach Vacations After Labor Day

If you’re planning a summer beach trip, chances are you’re not the only one with that idea. Summer’s the prime time to catch some waves, lay out in the sun, and take a dip in the ocean. But unfortunately, this increased popularity means many of the more popular beaches get crowded and fees — from parking to accommodations — tend to rise.

“In my opinion, one of the best Californian beach towns is Oxnard, an idyllic spot on the southern coast with a small-town feel and weather temperature of around 70 degrees, even during the colder months,” said Mercedes Zach, Travel Expert at Asaptickets, part of Trevolution Group.

“It is home to miles of pristine golden duned beaches, including the famous Mandalay Beach, as well as historic Victorian-era architecture and some of the best taquerias in the state,” Zach continued. “Also, its picturesque harbor offers kayaking and cycling opportunities while serving as the closest access point to the stunning Channel Islands National Park.” There’s no shortage of options in Oxnard, and you can keep costs relatively low. According to Zach, the average solo traveler spends less than $200 a day there — all things included.

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4 Budget-Friendly Getaways That Are Perfect for Solo Travel

Mercedes Zach, travel agent at ASAP Tickets, said that solo travel is an appealing option for taking a break from your daily life and unlocking a new level of freedom. She explained that it’s also a great way to get yourself out of your comfort zone, meet new people, unwind and rejuvenate on your own terms. But it can also be stressful to plan — and hard on your budget. “Over the years, I’ve helped many solo travelers to book their trips, and I know how overwhelming it might be at times to manage everything and choose the best destination when there’s no one else helping with these decisions,” she said. “While going overseas might seem like a tempting option, I would advise starting with a domestic solo trip that will be a less stressful and more convenient option, especially for those traveling alone for the very first time.”

Here are Zach’s expert insights on the best cities for enjoying your solo trip this summer without breaking the bank. Zach said if you’d like to visit parks and go on picturesque hikes, Salt Lake City in Utah is a great place to start. She suggested Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Antelope Island State Park as some of the many options near the city that any nature and active adventure lover will appreciate.

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Our Essential Guide to Solo Travel for Beginners

Travelling alone can be daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. Here’s everything you need to think about as a first-time solo traveller. Until recently, I’d never have even considered going out to lunch by myself, let alone travelling across the world. But after a couple of years watching countless friends venture to exotic locations, the allure of solo travel is becoming more and more difficult to resist. According to leading online travel agent Opodo, the main reason travellers embark on solo journeys is so they can be in control of their own decision-making. For someone who’s never travelled by themself — and tends towards disorganisation — this is both exciting and terrifying. I sat down with a few expert solo travellers to figure out what I need to consider before finally taking the leap. Over the years I’ve come to learn that sometimes the best way to reduce stress and anxiety over approaching any new thing is to research it in depth.

“Safety is the number one thing you should take extra care of when traveling to other countries and continents solo,” says Mercedes Zach, travel expert at ASAP Tickets, part of Trevolution Group. “Do some extra research to make sure that you stay in a safe neighbourhood, be aware of your surroundings and gather information on where to seek help in case something unexpected happens,” she advises.

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Shopping Around for Travel Agencies? Start Here

The data is in: millennials and Gen X are flocking to travel agencies once again. But what’s behind the sudden uptick after decades of steady decline at travel agencies? To put it simply, travel agents can take the work out of planning trips while also delivering a truly unforgettable and budget-friendly adventure. In short: they’re worth the fees in many cases. But that doesn’t mean that every travel agency shines. If you’re considering working with a travel agent, take a closer look at how they work and what you can expect from the experience. For certain groups, especially active and retired military, travel agents can leverage hefty deals. In other cases, on the other hand, a travel agent might only provide the barest assistance in booking hotels, flights, and more. Expedia, for example, is considered a travel agency.

There’s great variation, in other words. For now, let’s stick with well-known and up-and-coming agencies that are geared toward US travelers. Since they came back into fashion (starting around 2020), the travel agency industry has evolved in more than one way. Want to explore the top-rated travel agencies in the US? Do it here. I’ve got the crème of the crop listed below. There’s no one-size-fits-all travel agency. My selections are based on the number of positive reviews, recommendations from major publications, and specialized approaches. All options listed below meet the American Society of Travel Advisors accreditation.

To read about Trevolution Group, click here

I’m a Travel Expert: 5 Countries Frugal Travelers Will Be Visiting This Summer

Summer is in full swing, and Americans are happily setting up their “Out of Office” auto replies and hopping on planes to get out of dodge for a well-deserved vacation. International getaways are typically more expensive than domestic ones, but that doesn’t make them unattainable for travelers on a tight budget. GOBankingRates talked with a few travel experts to find out which countries frugal travelers are visiting this summer, and why.  With beautiful beaches, a cool climate and tons of awesome water activities, Vietnam is a wonderful country to visit in summer. It’s even more wonderful if you’re looking to save money. “Vietnam is known for its value-for-money accommodation from family guesthouses and remote resorts to budget hostels and more high-end hotels in larger cities ranging from just $35 a night,” said Mercedes Zach, a travel expert at ASAPTickets, part of TrEvolution Group. “Not to mention its very affordable local food scene starting from $1 per meal. On average, a one-week trip to Vietnam for two people costs around $850 including accommodation, dining, local transportation and sightseeing.”

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Here’s Why Flights Keep Getting More And More Expensive

If you’ve been daydreaming about jetting off to amazing destinations only to have airfare prices slap you back to reality, it’s not you — it’s the economy. According to CNBC, airline tickets have been climbing so fast that they’ve surpassed inflation, shooting up by a staggering 25%. To illustrate, an average domestic flight out of Los Angeles at the end of 2023 was $416.69, per the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Just five years prior, in 2018, tickets out of LAX were averaging $370.10. It’s not rocket science to figure out why, really. Because of the pandemic, many are still trying to make up for lost time. And if you’re banking on airfare prices stabilizing anytime soon, it may not happen. Demand for travel is still sky-high, with everyone itching to head to once-in-a-lifetime vacation destinations or explore some hidden gems. The more people want to fly, the higher prices will be — basic supply and demand. Sure, you might find a few price dips, but generally, you can kiss those pre-pandemic fares goodbye. And if you’re eyeing a vacation over peak seasons, especially the summer, good luck finding a fare that won’t break the bank.

To read what Peter Vazan, a travel industry insider and the executive vice president of industry relations at a travel agency, says, click here

7 Ways To Save Money When Traveling as a Family

With vacation costs continuing to rise, traveling with the entire family is becoming more and more of a financial strain. As reported by real estate company Pacaso, vacation expenses have gone up by 3% compared with 2023. Additionally, the average weekly cost of a vacation for a family of four is around $7,936, according to Gogo Charters. Compared with a weekly cost of $3,969 for two people, it almost seems like traveling with the whole family is more likely to result in financial stress than fun and relaxation. Although vacation expenses have increased, traveling as a family hasn’t become impossible to afford when done wisely. Rather, financial and travel experts say there are still several ways to save money when traveling as a family. Finding travel deals, holiday packages and bundles that include accommodations and meals are a great way to save time, money and effort — especially when traveling with younger children. “An all-inclusive hotel might seem like a more expensive choice at first, but if you combine all the meals, entertainment and transportation costs together, this option will help you save quite a lot of money at the end of your trip,” said Mercedes Zach, travel expert at ASAP Tickets.

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The Top 24 Most Powerful Travel Agencies of 2024

Travel Weekly’s annual Power List is out and this year the collection of the world’s biggest travel sellers includes an all-time high of 72 agencies. The Power List’s class of 2024 increased by 11 companies over last year despite the fact that a new $110 million threshold was established to qualify. (Last year’s qualifying threshold was $100 million.) The top six companies on the list for 2024 remain the same as 2023, though Travel Weekly says that’s likely to change next year if American Express Global Business Travel’s (no. 3) acquisition of CWT (No. 5) moves forward. Also notable, survey responses provided by agencies as part of this year’s Power List compilation process reveal a “strong sense of buoyancy” throughout the industry, says TravelWeekly.

Newcomer Trevolution Group rounds out the top 24 for 2024. The privately held company sells flight tickets and in-flight extras directly to private and corporate customers. The company recorded $1.2 billion in sales for 2023.

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