Reading Time: 2 minutes

Travel agent Jeremy McGee discusses the ins and outs of budget travelling

Photo by Tori Dudys

The Internet and other media outlets tend to make us feel like we know all about planning and booking vacations, but it’s always good to have a little expert advice. Jeremy McGee graduated from the travel and tourism program at Algonquin College and is currently an agent at CAA Travel. McGee sat down with the Fulcrum to give his tips and tricks on booking budget trips.

The Fulcrum: When are the best times to get good deals on travel packages and products?

Jeremy McGee: “To get good deals” is really a phrase that is perceived uniquely by each individual; for inexpensive travel, travelling during the low season is your best bet. During the low season, flights are less expensive and accommodations are often discounted. Travelling during low season does have one major disadvantage though: weather conditions are generally less preferable.

How can students save on vacations or trips other than booking off-season?

If you travel abroad and you are not at an all-inclusive, budget. Budgeting your daily food, alcohol, and excursion allowances will save you loads of cash. It’s OK to treat yourself, but control your urges to purchase those overpriced products that are aimed towards tourists. If possible, cook for yourself and drink in moderation, or at least drink the majority in your hostel or hotel before heading to a bar on those messy nights. Suppliers also regularly run promotional discounts, so do a bit of research before you book, or contact a local travel agent to help you sort through the deals.

Oftentimes, in order to save some cash, students will book vacation packages online instead of using a travel agent. Are there benefits to booking through a travel agency as opposed to searching the net for travel products?

Booking online is simple, quick, and painless, unless you’ve accidentally made an error with the booking. Providing wrong dates can cost you hundreds if you decide to correct them and providing a name that isn’t identical to your passport may cause you to be unable to board the plane. When you book through an agent, all of the risk is on their shoulders. They will ensure that everything is correct, that you are covered by insurance, should you decide to purchase coverage, and they are able to provide you with some insight and knowledge on the location you are headed to.

In your experience, what types of vacations do students most often book?

Students have student debts, expenses, and part-time employment, so they often tend to stick to all-inclusive vacations due to the low cost. Travelling to places such as Cuba are affordable on nearly any budget.

Any other tips for travelers on a budget?

Be aware of the money you spend but know that sometimes spending that additional $100 or $200 can make the difference between an OK trip and an outstanding trip.