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How to Get a Bargain

Strategies for landing the best deal on your guided tour

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Travcoa’s “Once in a Lifetime Africa” tour visits five nations in three weeks using a retrofitted DC-3.

Tours have traditionally provided value because of the ability of travel companies to lock in more favorable rates than individuals can. With the current economic climate, however, discounts and value-added features are rampant. Kent Redding, president of Africa Adventure Consultants, says deals throughout the industry remain widespread. “We know that people expect a deal right now, and we will work with them.” Other companies try to entice travelers with everything from early-bird discounts to last-minute bargains.

To start, visit travel companies’ websites and sign up for email lists. Boundless Journeys, for instance, notifies its email subscribers of occasional auctions for last-minute departures. Consider traveling in the shoulder or low season, which can net an additional 20 percent savings. Don’t hesitate to negotiate directly with an operator, particularly when you know a trip is nearing departure and is not full. And when comparing itineraries from several operators, note what’s included—meals, internal flights, admission fees—and what’s not. The trip that’s the least expensive on paper may not always turn out that way en route.

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