Gary Leff is my GO-TO (as well as most reputable travel publications) for travel. You might recall he helped me secure a business class ticket to Asia only using points!
Gary has so kindly accepted my request to offer his coveted travel tips on MTM! I asked him basically what we all want to know: how do we get the most luxury out of our travel budget. This is the main focus on his blog, ViewFromTheWing, which he has been writing since 2002. So it’s no surprise Conde Nast has awarded him the badge of “Top Travel Specialist.” His booking service, BookYourAward, has been awarded one of the best in the biz as well.
Over the next 6 weeks, he’ll offer insight I have not doubt you’ll find valuable!
If you travel often, follow his blog for regular tips and current deals. The man is an expert at discovering loopholes, online mistakes the airlines and hotels have to honor, and how to manipulate the fine print. You can feel free to tweet him questions @GaryLeff. He’s super sweet so don’t be shy.
Ok, without further ado….
Gary’s Tip #1: Consider a far-off destination for the best value.
Tickets to Thailand or Vietnam might be expensive, but once you’re there hotel, meals, and
activities can be so cheap that your total trip costs less.
Even a $75 per night hotel room in central Bangkok will make you feel like a king. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, and I want to assure you it’s true. As you would expect, food and services are more expensive when you stay in your hotel, so just take a walk down the street to find a great meal or spa massage. Your experience will be better and the price will be a fraction of the hotel’s.
Journeying to a new world, too, will create memories that often can’t be replicated close to
home. You’ll find it easier to combo the city and beach experience so you get culture and R&R. Using Mary’s trip to Asia as an example, she visited Ho Chi Minh City as well as the Vietnam coast; Bangkok as well as the island of Koh Samui. This way she experienced a great dose of the foreign culture unlike she would have on a trip to Mexico.
From my experience, seeing how another culture lives is half of the experience of traveling. If you’re looking just to unwind, sure you can do that close to home. But since we’re talking about traveling, the VALUE comes when you get out and explore.
(Photos are from Mary’s trip to Vietnam. The one of the tower with the flowers is actually in the Bangkok airport.)