Want to Travel More? Go to COSTCO!

 

Thank you to Lindsay Tigar for including me in her article for Better Homes and Gardens on Yahoo Lifestyle called: “6 Little-Known Ways Costco Can Save You Money on Vacations

As a destination for saving money, Costco has a fan base around the country. Though many loyal fans know about the perks of buying in bulk and receiving discounts on prescriptions or gas, Costco is also a hidden-secret in the travel industry. Through their members-only hub, you can book deals on vacation packages, rental cars, cruises, amusement parks and more. This makes chasing after wanderlust that much more affordable, especially if you’re already a Costco-card-carrying shopper already. Here, are tips you need to know about this savvy way to set sail, take flight, and soak up the sun.

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When you book a cruise, you’ll get additional perks.

When you land on Costco Travel’s hub, you’ll see various ways to explore the globe. One of the most popular offerings is cruises, according to travel expert Lisa Niver. When people book through Costco for their getaway-at-sea, Niver says they are often amazed at how many benefits are included, without an additional fee. She gives the example of a current Royal Caribbean 6-Night Oasis of the Sea cruise, which not only includes the stateroom but dinner for up to four at a steakhouse and Johnny Rockets, one spa experience per person and an onboard soda package for two.

There are dozens of other options, all depending on what you want the most from your travel: relaxation, family-friendly experiences, or even romance. Niver explains Costco is able to provide these additional perks thanks to partnerships with leaders in the hospitality industry.

When you rent a car, you can have more drivers for free.

No one wants to be the only driver on vacation, but no one wants to pay for additional drivers, either. While Costco currently only partners with four car rental companies, they are the largest: Alamo, Enterprise, Avis and Budget. Booking through the Costco Travel can often be cheaper than booking directly through a rental company, and could come with added value. Niver explains the biggest perk is the second driver waiver fee. Rather than paying a price per day to have two (or more) drivers, Costco pays the cost so their customers can have it for free. Best of all? Your road-trip buddy doesn’t need to be a Costco member to come along for the journey!

When you book your hotel, you save cash and receive surprises.

In the spirit of transparency, Costco doesn’t offer as many hotel partners, as say, Priceline. However, depending on seasonality and location, Niver says you can rely on Costco to come with no hidden fees, additional taxes, resort upcharges or other surprising costs. Currently, Costco partners with all hotels under the Fairmont, Hyatt, Raffles and Swissotel brands, offering both stand-alone hotel booking or vacation planning. For business travelers or frequent fliers who are loyal to specific hotel chains, Niver says you can limit your search to only Fairmont or Hyatt, based on your preference. You can also opt-in to additional perks, like free breakfast and parking.

When you go to Disney, you can save by selecting a package.

Disney fans pack your bags! Costco has lots of options to meet Mickey and all of his friends. In addition to tickets to Walt Disney World, they also work with the Disney Cruise line, the Hawaii-based AULANI Disney Resort and Spa, as well as Disney Adventures, featuring excursions throughout the world. Niver says for families who enjoy the fairytales, the excitement and wonder, booking via Costco not only results in cheaper multi-day tickets but cuts back on the cost of hotels, and other benefits. As an example, if you decide to opt-in for a Walt Disney World package, you often receive extended hours in the park, cash to spend on food and drink, and other budget-mindful perks. 

When you’re booking any travel, you can opt into a payment plan.

For most of us, vacations aren’t usually a spontaneous thing. Booking a trip requires matching busy schedules, requesting time off, and of course, figuring out how much to spend. Another benefit of Costco Travel is the ability to make a deposit upfront and pay the rest later. While the deposit requirement varies depending on what you’re booking, generally speaking, most options only require a final payment 45 days from departure. For packages and flights, you can book only putting down $100 per person plus applicable hotel and other deposits. Hotel fee depends on the brand, but most of the time is fully paid upon departure. The exception is cruises, which often require a full payment between 90 and 160 days before you hop on board.

When you reach Executive Level, you’ll get even more.

As every Costco shopper knows, there are tiers of membership, with the lowest costing $60 annually. The Executive level is double that at $120, but comes with super-cool traveling benefits for jet setters. You can earn a 2% rebate reward on the first $1,000 in travel purchases. And once you’ve reached your destination, you may find surprises along the way, says Niver. As an example, this Boca Raton deal through the Executive hub includes a $50 resort credit per day to be used toward food and beverage. Half the vacation fun is the food, right?!

Another option is applying for the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi the offers 3% back on eligible travel expenses. This is open to anyone, as long as they are a Costco member.

Costco travel deals aren’t only good in the U.S. either, they offer many international travel discounts that may just be the inspiration you need to book that next long flight.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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