Want to Travel More? Go to COSTCO!


Thank you to Lindsay Tigar for including me in her article for Better Homes and Gardens on Yahoo Lifestyle called: “6 Little-Known Ways Costco Can Save You Money on Vacations

As a destination for saving money, Costco has a fan base around the country. Though many loyal fans know about the perks of buying in bulk and receiving discounts on prescriptions or gas, Costco is also a hidden-secret in the travel industry. Through their members-only hub, you can book deals on vacation packages, rental cars, cruises, amusement parks and more. This makes chasing after wanderlust that much more affordable, especially if you’re already a Costco-card-carrying shopper already. Here, are tips you need to know about this savvy way to set sail, take flight, and soak up the sun.

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When you book a cruise, you’ll get additional perks.

When you land on Costco Travel’s hub, you’ll see various ways to explore the globe. One of the most popular offerings is cruises, according to travel expert Lisa Niver. When people book through Costco for their getaway-at-sea, Niver says they are often amazed at how many benefits are included, without an additional fee. She gives the example of a current Royal Caribbean 6-Night Oasis of the Sea cruise, which not only includes the stateroom but dinner for up to four at a steakhouse and Johnny Rockets, one spa experience per person and an onboard soda package for two.

There are dozens of other options, all depending on what you want the most from your travel: relaxation, family-friendly experiences, or even romance. Niver explains Costco is able to provide these additional perks thanks to partnerships with leaders in the hospitality industry.

When you rent a car, you can have more drivers for free.

No one wants to be the only driver on vacation, but no one wants to pay for additional drivers, either. While Costco currently only partners with four car rental companies, they are the largest: Alamo, Enterprise, Avis and Budget. Booking through the Costco Travel can often be cheaper than booking directly through a rental company, and could come with added value. Niver explains the biggest perk is the second driver waiver fee. Rather than paying a price per day to have two (or more) drivers, Costco pays the cost so their customers can have it for free. Best of all? Your road-trip buddy doesn’t need to be a Costco member to come along for the journey!

When you book your hotel, you save cash and receive surprises.

In the spirit of transparency, Costco doesn’t offer as many hotel partners, as say, Priceline. However, depending on seasonality and location, Niver says you can rely on Costco to come with no hidden fees, additional taxes, resort upcharges or other surprising costs. Currently, Costco partners with all hotels under the Fairmont, Hyatt, Raffles and Swissotel brands, offering both stand-alone hotel booking or vacation planning. For business travelers or frequent fliers who are loyal to specific hotel chains, Niver says you can limit your search to only Fairmont or Hyatt, based on your preference. You can also opt-in to additional perks, like free breakfast and parking.

When you go to Disney, you can save by selecting a package.

Disney fans pack your bags! Costco has lots of options to meet Mickey and all of his friends. In addition to tickets to Walt Disney World, they also work with the Disney Cruise line, the Hawaii-based AULANI Disney Resort and Spa, as well as Disney Adventures, featuring excursions throughout the world. Niver says for families who enjoy the fairytales, the excitement and wonder, booking via Costco not only results in cheaper multi-day tickets but cuts back on the cost of hotels, and other benefits. As an example, if you decide to opt-in for a Walt Disney World package, you often receive extended hours in the park, cash to spend on food and drink, and other budget-mindful perks. 

When you’re booking any travel, you can opt into a payment plan.

For most of us, vacations aren’t usually a spontaneous thing. Booking a trip requires matching busy schedules, requesting time off, and of course, figuring out how much to spend. Another benefit of Costco Travel is the ability to make a deposit upfront and pay the rest later. While the deposit requirement varies depending on what you’re booking, generally speaking, most options only require a final payment 45 days from departure. For packages and flights, you can book only putting down $100 per person plus applicable hotel and other deposits. Hotel fee depends on the brand, but most of the time is fully paid upon departure. The exception is cruises, which often require a full payment between 90 and 160 days before you hop on board.

When you reach Executive Level, you’ll get even more.

As every Costco shopper knows, there are tiers of membership, with the lowest costing $60 annually. The Executive level is double that at $120, but comes with super-cool traveling benefits for jet setters. You can earn a 2% rebate reward on the first $1,000 in travel purchases. And once you’ve reached your destination, you may find surprises along the way, says Niver. As an example, this Boca Raton deal through the Executive hub includes a $50 resort credit per day to be used toward food and beverage. Half the vacation fun is the food, right?!

Another option is applying for the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi the offers 3% back on eligible travel expenses. This is open to anyone, as long as they are a Costco member.

Costco travel deals aren’t only good in the U.S. either, they offer many international travel discounts that may just be the inspiration you need to book that next long flight.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is a speaker at the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Dallas Travel and Adventure Shows for 2023. Her podcast, “Make Your Own Map,” has been watched in more than 11 countries on 4 continents. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. Look for her memoir in Fall 2023 from Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have nearly 2 million views. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. https://bit.ly/m/lisaniver Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.7 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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