Find Top Deals for Your Next Vacation

Social Couponing Websites

Social couponing websites like Groupon and LivingSocial now offer more than discounts for services at local businesses.  In partnership with the leading travel website Expedia, Groupon Getaways offers significant discounts on packages to top travel destinations all over the world.  Subscribers are sent a weekly email that features several of the travel deals that are being offered for the week.  Interested parties then have two weeks to purchase a deal.  Similarly, LivingSocial Escapes also sends subscribers weekly emails outlining its latest travel deals.  When you purchase a deal through LivingSocial Escapes, you can refer it to your friends; if three of them purchase the deal, you get yours for free.

3 Ways to Get a Deal through Socal Couponing

1.  Scoop up deals before your trip.  A few weeks before you leave, sign up to receive deals specific to the city or region you’re visiting.

2.  Read the fine print to find out when the deal expires, if there are blackout dates and the amount of taxes involved.

3.  Do your research.   Call or go online to find out the regular cost of the hotel, restaurant or other amenities offered to make sure you’re getting a deal.

Membership Pays Off

AAA offers last minute travel deals that can save members up to 70% on their vacations.  Through AAA Vacations, members can choose from deals on cruises and vacations to locations around the world.  AAA’s Best Price Guarantee ensures that members receive a good deal–if a member finds a cheaper rate for the same exact itinerary within 24 hours of booking the trip, AAA will match the lower rate.  Other cruise benefits include champagne upon arrival, priority boarding and pre-paid gratuities.  Members can choose from guided or independent land vacations that often include amenities such as free hotel stays, free meals and travel insurance.

Members of Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club have access to exclusive deals on cruises and vacation packages to Europe, the Caribbean, Mexico, popular island locales and domestic destinations including Las Vegas and Disney World.  the popular warehouse chains also offer discount deals on rental cars through the major rental car companies.

Enjoy Your Next Vacation!!

The State of America’s Housing Market

More than 80% of Americans view housing as critical to the nation’s economic recovery, and nearly 70% feel that a presidential candidate’s position on housing will be an important consideration in the voting booth.(1)  Whether you’re thinking of buying, selling or are actively involved in the market, the statistics below will give you a clearer perspective of the state of the market.

Current National Trends in Housing–70% of Americans view owning a home as part of the American dream.(2)–62% of consumers feel that buying a home in the current market is a good investment over the next 10 years.(3)–$190,000:Median home price.(4) up from $170,000 the previous year.(5)  $155,000:Median home price of first-time buyers.(4) $219,500:Median home price of repeat buyers.(4)

Buyer Overview Buyers searched for a median of 12 weeks and visited 12 homes before they found the one they purchased.(4)–27% of homebuyers, including 60% of first-time homebuyers, said that the desire to own a home of their own was the biggest reason they bought.(4)–First time homebuyers comprise 37% of the market.(4)–64% of all buyers are married couples, 18% are single women, 10% are single men and 7% are unmarried couples.(4)–$80,900: The median household income of homebuyers.(4)–84% of buyers purchased a previously-owned home and 16% purchased a new home.(4)

Seller Overview–35% of homes were on the market less than 2 months before they sold.(6)–The average time a home was on the market was 9 weeks.(4)–66% of sellers were first-time sellers.(4)–39% of sellers did not reduce the asking price, 26% of sellers reduced it once and 35% reduced the price two or more times.(4)

Financing the Home Purhcase–The average rent on vacant properties is 28% higher than the average mortgage payment.(7)–The estimated median monthly mortgage principal and interest payment of a first-time homebuyer was $794.4–The estimated median monthly mortgage principal and interest payment of a repeat buyer was $1,006.8–94% of buyers financed their home purchase, including 96% of 25-44 year olds, 82% of 45-64 year olds, 66% of buyers 65 and older.(4) –35% of buyers had a down payment of 20% or more.(4)–74% of consumers who plan to buy a home in the next 12 months will use their personal savings for a down payment.(3)–The average buyer financed 89% of the home purchase.(4)–94% of first-time homebuyers chose a fixed-rate mortgage.4–54% of first-time homebuyers used a low down payment FHA mortgage.(4)–Mortgage rates are expected to rise and reach 4.5% by mid-2012.(3)

Sources:(1) Move Inc., (2) Wall Stee Journal, October 4, 2011, (3) Bank of America Mortgage Index Study, December 8, 2011 (4) National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2011, (5) National Association of Realtors  Profile of  Home Buyers and Sellers 2010, (6) National Association of Realtors, (7) Forbes, November 14, 2011.