Representing 2.8% of the US GDP, travel and tourism is becoming more expensive for consumers each year. If you work for the federal government, you most likely travel more often than the average American between a combination of business and leisure trips. As summer approaches, it’s a good time to start planning a family vacation. To keep your piggybank intact during this season of fun, review the following travel deals and tips meant specifically for government employees.
3 Ways to Get the Most Out of a Travel Experience
These tips, combined with available discounts, will help book a memorable vacation at a reasonable cost.
- Ask for discounts – As a government employee, always ask if there are government discounts available with any vendor. Many national and international hospitality providers offer government discounts, but do not often advertise this benefit. When it comes to getting the most out of your travel experience, it never hurts to ask if there is a discount available before booking.
- Do research – On average, the cost to travel domestically is over $200 per day, per person. That amount can sharply increase for those traveling internationally. Despite access to the internet, statistics show less than 30% of travelers are using websites and social media to find vacation deals. Performing thorough research on the best deals by using internet search and travel sites and asking friends for referrals is often an effective method of finding travel deals.
- Stay plugged in – Travel websites for government employees, like Fedsave.com, distribute newsletters with travel deals and discounts. Staying tuned in to these special offers simplifies the planning process while saving money on travel expenses.
By staying up-to-date on the latest vacation deals, federal government employees can reduce the amount spent on lodging, airfare and transportation as well as the cost of accessing the world’s most often-visited destinations.
Discount Vacation Packages
One-stop resources for vacation packages are an easy way to complete travel planning and booking. When looking for the best deal on complete vacations, three websites emerge as the best resource for government employees.
- Government Employees Travel Opportunities – When planning a complete vacation, this website is where to go first. It provides deep discounts on resort getaways, top vacation destinations and all-inclusive packages only for government employees and their families.
- Government and Armed Forces Travel Cooperative – From airfare and hotels to car rentals and destination-specific activities, the Government and Armed Forces Travel Cooperative features discounts specifically for government employees. With destinations both domestic and abroad, “Gov Arm” can offer many ways to save on travel.
- FedSave – Though not a vacation package provider, FedSave keeps a comprehensive list of travel coupons and discounts available for government employees.
Reviewing these resources before finalizing a trip can save time and money, as each website is designed to make the planning process easy.
With the cost of airfare for one person averaging $400, finding discounts on air travel is a top priority when planning any trip. As a federal government employee, most major airlines have special discounts available to you. Depending on your destination, choose an airline that offers specific government discounts, like one of the following.
- JetBlue – With their government employees discount program, JetBlue offers fully refundable tickets complete with lower fares and no penalty for cancellation.
- Southwest – Deep airfare discounts for government personnel are available when booking with Southwest , but only by contacting the airline directly.
- American Airlines – By contacting American Airlines, most government employees are eligible to receive discounts to select cities in the United States.
For even more information, FedTravel.com provides a search tool for government employees that can find airfare, hotels, car rentals and rail transportation appropriate for your travel plans.
Generally the most expensive aspect of travel, lodging accounts for over $155 billion in sales each year, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association. With most families spending at least $100 per night on hotels, a week-long vacation can add up quickly. Fortunately, government employees can receive deep discounts from some of the top hotel chains and resorts around the world.
- FedRooms – A fantastic resource for travel planning, FedRooms allows government employees to shop for lodging at deep discounts below per diem rates. Lodging booked through FedRooms has no hidden fees, usually includes a late checkout and saves time when planning a vacation.
- Airbnb – Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and 192 countries. Government employees receive a $25 Airbnb credit.
- Marriott – One of the largest hotel chains in the world, Marriott offers discounts at booking for verified government employees for any of their over 4,000 locations.
- Hyatt – Federal government employees are eligible for discounted rates from Hyatt toward the booking of one room. With hotels located in the US and abroad, Hyatt’s discounts can greatly reduce lodging expenses during travel.
- La Quinta – At La Quinta, government employees can book rooms online and receive immediate discounts for any of the chain’s 800 locations.
- Gaylord Palms Resort – A premier resort in Orlando, Florida, Gaylord Palms is a top destination when planning to visit any of the area’s world-renowned attractions. Offering steep discounts for government employees, the resort is a great place to entertain the whole family on vacation. An extension of Marriott, Gaylord Palms is less than 10 minutes from Disney, Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Wherever you plan to stay, discounts are available specifically for government employees from the best hotels and resorts in the world.
Transportation can represent over one-third of total travel expenses. Whether arriving, exploring or leaving a destination, transportation costs will factor in to the overall expense of travel. Many top rental car companies offer government discounts, including the five listed below.
- Hertz – For both official business and leisure use, Hertz offers discounted car rental fares for government employees. Benefits of choosing Hertz include lower rates, no-cost upgrades and free membership in Hertz’ reward program.
- Dollar – Another national car rental company, Dollar offers rate discounts and membership in their rewards program for government employees. Dollar does not charge government employees a fee for underage drivers or additional drivers.
- Alamo – Between a free one-day car rental and rate reductions, Alamo’s government employee discount can reduce transportation expenses whether traveling for business or leisure.
- Avis – Regardless of the reason for travel, Avis Car Rental offers rate discounts for federal government employees. If traveling on official business, Avis provides free unlimited mileage, free insurance and competitive rates.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car – At over 200 locations, Enterprise Rent-A-Car provides government employees with rate discounts for business and leisure.
With thousands of locations combined, these car rental companies go above and beyond to save money for government employees and their families.
Save-As-You-Go Travel for Government Employees
Saving money on travel expenses for a single trip is one thing, but is it possible to accrue discounts over time? That’s exactly what Gov Vacation Rewards offers government employees. Designed only for government employees and military personnel, participation in Government Vacation Rewards offers discounts on cruises, vacation destinations, lodging and more. As a free service for government employees, Government Vacation Rewards pays for itself quickly with up-to-date access to the latest deals, specials and discounts. Discounted vacation packages include beachfront resorts, Disney World, Las Vegas and a variety of cruise destinations.
Given the abundance of travel deals available to government employees, there is never a reason to pay full price for a great vacation.