Off The Fork: Top Travel Tips

There is nothing like a great vacation to make you right again! If you are looking for the most perfect backdrop to relax and unwind then Belmond La Samanna in St. Maarten may be exactly what you are looking for. Voted as having one of the top 10 beaches in the world, this 5 star luxury resort did not disappoint for a moment.  A destination like this can be pricey though, so here are a few of my top travel tips that will help save a ton but still get you the VIP treatment.

 

How To Book Free Flights

We all know the basics.  Book months in advance and the best ticket prices are usually on Tuesdays.  We follow those tips, but the best thing we ever did was learn how to use a credit card to our advantage.  There are a lot of different credit cards that offer all kinds of rewards but for us, we wanted to get a card that was the best for traveling.  After much research we decided to get the Capitol One Venture card because it offers 2 points for every dollar and can be used for any destination at any time. So what we do is put all our large purchases through the credit card, pay it off immediately, and then accumulate the points for the year so within months we have enough points to use towards our flights.  That right there,  is what we call a free flight!

Get up to 50% off Resort Prices 

This tip is a life changer! The best discovery I ever made was a company called SnapTravel.  At first I was a little skeptical but after using it I am a forever customer. The first thing you want to do is research the hotels where you would like to stay.  So for us, we knew this year we wanted to go to St. Maarten.  After looking into reviews and recommendations, it seemed like one of the best resorts on the island was Belmond La Samanna.  It is also the most expensive.  Just to give you an idea, the rooms start at around $900 a night.  As always, I started to shop around to see if there were any promotions or deals through other websites to try and get the best price possible; that’s when I came across SnapTravel. Essentially how it works is you put the hotel in to their search engine to see if they are affiliated with them, and if they are, they will then Facebook  message you their deal.  This is where I thought it sounded strange, but I gave it a shot, and as it turned out they were able to get us 40% off the retail price, including taxes.  The reason it works is because hotels sell unsold inventory to places like Priceline and Hotwire but these prices are too low to show publicly, so you never know what hotels have the best deals.  SnapTravel lets you book these rates without having to guess the hotel’s name because your discounted price is not displayed publicly when you book through your private Facebook messeger. It seems weird, but it works.  Not only that, but SnapTravel has a personal relationship with these hotels so they call them directly and try to negotiate upgrades and complimentary incentives for you.  The day before we traveled I received another message from SnapTravel that they were able to negotiate us an upgrade on our room. When we arrived at the resort, not only were we upgraded but they gave us one of the most expensive suites on the property. A one bedroom terrace suite room that would have cost $2,000 a night. It was amazing! Just remember the deals vary depending on the hotel and time you are booking.

Make Hundreds of Dollars Right Now

You probably have money in your wallet or junk drawer right now that you don’t even know about.  How often do we get gift cards for birthdays or holidays that either don’t use or forget about?  I started to realize that I had all these gift cards but either never used them or used them for insignificant things I really didn’t need.  So now I save all of them and then sell them off using Card Cash.  It’s a website that will give you money for the gift card. They do take a percentage but I have literally made hundreds of dollars that I use towards my vacations fund.

Just to put all of this in perspective this trip for 5 days/4 nights including flights, accommodations, and daily expenses like drinks, food, cabs, etc. was valued at just about $11,000.  We spent $2,500 and had the 5 star treatment from start to finish.

Do you have any travel secrets? Comment below and let us know what some of your best tips are!

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