Travel Trends :: Summer Vacation Ideas :: The Add-On

[trip style = multiple]

Vacation add-on: Extending a work or family/friend trip for extra travel benefit.

A trend that comes and goes with the state of the economy and rising fuel prices: the vacation add-on---both part of our regular Travel Trend Thursday feature, as well as the third installment of our three-part Summer Vacation Ideas series {see parts one and two below}.

Pay Less Do More Savvy travelers use vacation add-ons to maximize their travel at every opportunity, especially when the destination is appealing. Similar to booking trips with airline mileage or hotel points, extending a work or personal trip is a great way to pay less and do more. Whether your work is already paying for your flights and hotel anyway, or you're paying for a family event or destination wedding, doing a little more while there---or using it as a jumping off point to explore nearby areas---is worth it.

Add-Ons About one-fifth of the trips my husband and I take are add-ons---a way to travel with less budgetary impact. This year we've added time to work trips in LA in November, Scottsdale in February and NYC in May. I have friends and family who are also very good at vacation add-ons too, and have used work trips or family trips to add time in places they want to see, as well as discover destinations off their radar. Trips to Santa Barbara become trips to Vegas, trips to Denver become trips to Colorado's mountain resorts, trips to Boston become trips to New York, trips to Cape Town become safaris and trips to Victoria become trips across Vancouver Island.

How To Maximize the Add-On Trip

  • Plan ahead
  • Decide: is it best to tack a few days before or after the work or family-related trip? If so, what best suits your work schedule?
  • Do you want wifi? If so, find a hotel that offers it.
  • Consider this: if you're taking a ferry or car and staying in a hotel, then most of the journey is already paid for---both for you and your companion---aside from the extra nights.
  • Can you use hotel loyalty points or travel credit card kickbacks to extend your stay versus making an out-of-pocket payment?
  • Is there a nearby retreat or city you've been dying to explore?
  • Are the flights cheap to bring a companion with you, or are you able to use points to fly them free?

Good Trip Styles For Vacation Add-Ons

  • trip style = active & adventure - plan a few days of hiking or biking.
  • trip style = beach - spend a weekend at a nearby beach town.
  • trip style = cruise - near a cruise port? Book a 3-night cruise.
  • trip style = safari - near the wild? Book a nature tour or safari.
  • trip style = sightseeing - take some extra time to explore the area's important sights.
  • trip style = ski - pre- or post-trip ski? Sounds good to me.
  • trip style = spa - relax for a few days at the spahhhhhhh.
  • trip style = urban - pound the pavement in the your destination or a nearby city.*
  • trip style = wine tasting - if you're lucky enough to be near a wine region, well, that's an obvious add-on :)

*Don't rule out nearby cities for your vacation add-on. For example, if you're in LA, take the train to SF; if you're in Ottawa, take the train to Montreal; if you're in Honolulu fly to Kauai etc...

Don't Miss Summer Vacation Ideas :: Luxury Summer Vacation Ideas :: Budget

PS – Aside from our regularly scheduled content, don’t miss next month’s feature: Off The Beaten Path Escapes!

[photos by OKC + @tripstyler]