Wholesale clubs could save you money on your next vacation - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Wholesale clubs could save you money on your next vacation

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

There are plenty of ways to book a vacation, but did you know that if you're a member at places like BJ's and Costco, you could have a chance to save big.

Whether you're going to the beach, booking a cruise, or just taking the first flight you can find out of town, before you book that getaway, you're going to want to find the best deals.

"Travelers and consumers are better and informed of choices we have," said Muzzo Uysal, chair of the hospitality and tourism management department at UMass Amherst.

Uysal has seen first-hand the way the buisiness has changed from pre-internet to post-internet.

"Bed and breakfast boutiques, hotels, and properties have presence online. Therefore, they have become known products, which we did not know before. so the supply is abundant," Uysal added.

However, with so much supply, Uysal said travelers can sometimes find themselves overwhelmed by the options.

"That presents us a choice, but also a challenge. How do you sort all this out and find the best deal that you're looking for?" Uysal noted.

It's not just him either.  Martha Borawski, the president of Pioneer Valley Travel in Northampton, said that she has clients come in to her office quite often, overwhelmed by the stress of booking the perfect vacation.

"They're very frustrated with the amount of time they are spending on the internet and they just kind of throw their arms up in the air and say 'I give up!' Borawski said.

However, there is a consistent option some may not know about and not only are there deals to be found.

"Competition is as such that you know, they have to have these incentives for us," Uysal explained.

Also, perks Uysal said and that is: wholesale stores like BJ's and Costco.

We did some shopping and take a look at these deals:

  • A three night stay in Cancun at the Dreams Sands Resort and Spa, flying out of Logan Airport in Boston in October 
    • It's going to cost you more money, more time on the plane, and you're view of the ocean will be limited if you book through Travelocity, whereas BJ's costs less, has an ocean view, and you get a $25 gift card.
  • A three night stay in Las Vegas at the Rio all-suite Hotel and Casino 
    • On Expedia, for the same room and practically the same flight, you'll spend over $900 after taxes and fees.  At BJ's, you'll spend a hair over $850.  Factor in the $25 BJ's card and you have savings of nearly $80.
  • Let's say you wanted to book a four day cruise through Carnival Cruise Lines
    • That cruise on Carnival.com, leaving Jacksonville and going to the Bahamas will run $514 before taxes and over $600 after per person.  If you are a Costco member, that same cruise would cost you $359 per person before taxes and after taxes, your total would come out to about $450.

However, even if you find the deal you want, Uysal recommended that travelers do one thing in particular: get a travel agent.

"A travel agent can really play a good role for you to customize what you're looking for." Uysal said.

That mirrors one of Borawski's sayings that she has written on the back of her business card.  "'Without a travel agent, you're on your own' and it's true.  We go the extra mile for our clients," she said.

Borawski said that people come to her all the time with personalized trips, something you can't get at the big box stores and where she also believes she seperates herself from the wholesale giants is her experience.  She's literally been all around the world.

"So where I haven't been, somebody in the office has been," Borawski said.

Travel experts said that the best thing you can do is plan your vacation in advance, so you can see these deals as they become available and if you happen to be traveling with someone else, divy up the responsibility of vacation planning, so that one person doesn't become overwhelmed. 

Western Mass News reached out to both Costco and BJ's, but did not hear back from a travel representative. 

Copyright 2017 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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