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Economic downturn forces consumers to look for ways to save on travel

dollarsign
dollarsign
Written by editor

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL – When the economy starts to slow down and consumers cut back on spending, one of the first things to suffer is the entertainment budget.

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL – When the economy starts to slow down and consumers cut back on spending, one of the first things to suffer is the entertainment budget. This can happen locally, from eating out or watching films out, to a broader radius – involving travel.

In an economic downturn, traditional travel destinations like Orlando and Las Vegas feel the heat worst because so much of their local economy is based on tourists visiting, spending and investing in their economy. The recent rise in gas prices hasn’t helped either. With gas prices at record highs just a few months ago, it’s no surprise a recent survey of US consumers found that 66 percent said they were changing vacation plans because of high gas prices, and 34 percent canceled their plans entirely.

However, the fact remains that regardless of how bad it gets, people will still travel, just not as far or for as long. And when they do travel, they will look for ways to save money on all facets of their trip. Popular websites such as Expedia, Priceline and Hotels.com offer travelers discounts on airfare and accommodations. However, the discounts, for the most part, stop there. How can a traveler save money once they arrive at their destination? Upon arrival, one must consider the cost of purchasing multiple meals a day for themselves and their family, as well as for sightseeing, recreation, shopping and more. This is where the cost of a vacation can really rise.

In May of 2008, a new website was launched in an effort to address many of these costs. Savings On Arrival (http://www.savingsonarrival.com/) is a free service that offers travelers savings on attractions, dining, golf, recreation and more. The site also offers information about things to do in many of the cities that vacationers visit. It plans to add even more cities as the site grows. Right now, there are discounts available for cities in Florida, California, New York, Washington DC and more. A visitor to the website chooses the state and city they plan to visit from drop-down menus on the home page. They are then taken to an overview of that city, followed by a “Savings Selection Area.” From this area, visitors can select savings on Things to Do, Dining and Nightlife, Shopping and more. Most of the participating companies offer a discount coupon that can be printed, and easily carried in a wallet or hand bag.

According to Ira Lewis, founder of Savings On Arrival, the site will eventually “offer savings in all major cities all across the United States.” According to Lewis, he expects “locals” to catch on to the site and take advantage of savings in their own city. “One day, SavingsOnArrival.com will be to vacation savings what Priceline and Expedia are to travel savings,” Lewis said.