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Louie Yi: 2011 Travel Forecast and Ways to Save on Travel

I know many families are working hard to save money for a heritage trip to China. It is tempting to think that it is good to travel in 2012 or possibly in another few years.  I would like to share some updated traveling information so they can make a smart decision on their trip.

We at Lotus have kept the same exchange rate as last year’s although the Chinese currency has appreciated almost 10% within less than one year.  Even though the yuan is stronger against the dollar, we have been able to keep the same exchange rate on our touring prices for families.  Many financial professions expect another 10% appreciation  within China by the end of 2011.

In order to keep the most reasonable travel expenses, we negotiated successfully with our local hosts in each city to keep the same rate as last year although their inflation rate is going up every month. The inflation rate in China during 2010 was 7%. The Chinese government hopes to keep inflation at no more than 5 – 7% inflation for the year of 2011. Because of these reasons --- exchange rate and inflation, next year’s tour prices could be 15% or higher than this year’s prices.
 There are also some other steps families can take as they plan, in order to save on the budget for travel.

First of all, it is ideal to complete their trip before your children turn 12-years old.  This way you can have the child discount on both international airfare and touring in country. Once a child turns 12, hotels and airlines consider them as an adult.  For North American airlines, there is typically no difference, but for China domestic airlines, children under 12 receive a discount, as do park or entrance fees to most museums and attractions.  This can make a difference for the overall budget, as it is often 20% or so discount on overall cost.

Secondly, it is great to travel during low season, when airline ticket prices and sometimes accommodation prices can be less expensive.  Another plus, not related to cost,  is that the weather is cooler so it can be a more comfortable time for travelling for manypeople. The low travel season in China is between November 1 and March 31st.   And, the low travel season for Vietnam traveler is:  

Also, if families like to create a group, whether a travel reunion group, an FCC group or join one of our groups that departs at a convenient time for them, it can save costs to travel part of the time with a small group.  If there are 10 or more adults (including children over 12) this allows for best group rates on in-country travel and costs.

I hope this information is helpful to families as they consider when to make plans and with whom they should begin to make plans.  

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