Local travel guru offers vacation tips
July 5, 2010
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – After 10 years of traveling to more than 90 locations around the world, Chris Klesh says he’s earned his Ph.D. in vacationing affordably.
The 61-year-old lives half the year in South Lake Tahoe and half the year in Palm Beach, Fla. – when he’s not traveling to other exotic locales.
“I describe myself as a culture jock who loves to travel,” Klesh said while looking out at million dollar view of Lake Tahoe from his part-time home near Zephyr Heights.
Born in mid-town Manhattan, his passion for travel began when he was young and traveled with his family to Europe and the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.
After a 32-year career with Bell South, Klesh retired and had one question:
“I’m saying what do I do with my life?”
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The answer came while was playing golf at Hilton Head, S.C. while staying in his brother’s Marriott Vacation Club Timeshare.
“I thought, this is pretty neat let me do some more research,” he said.
More than 10 years and countless books, websites and experiences has made him an expert in traveling affordably, he said. He owns 60 properties himself and regularly travels 50 weeks a year.
“I wanted to travel, I wanted to live this lifestyle as a retiree at an early age and I had to learn how to do it affordably,” he said.
The tips he uses to save 80 to 90 percent on luxury accommodations are completely legitimate, Klesh said. Travelers just need to know where to look for deals.
And now he hopes to share the tips he’s learned with others.
“The best things in life aren’t things,” he said. “They’re experiences.”
Klesh speaks to groups with a passion for travel, including ski and country clubs to active retirement communities. He said his presentation are informative, straight-forward, factual, helpful and entertaining. He doesn’t take names, emails or phone numbers.
“The people who are serious about travel as an integral part of their lives will come up and talk to me for more information,” he said.
He also acts as a travel consultant and timeshare expert for clients, doing the research, talking and coordinating on their behalf.
Here’s some of the tips Klesh recommends to travel affordably:
Don’t always stay in a hotel room.
While planning a long- or even short-term vacation, a local timeshare or vacation rental may be a better deal and more luxurious than a hotel room, Klesh said. Before booking look up the rates of local timeshares and vacation rentals to find the most affordable and comfortable option.
Look into fractional ownership and timeshares.
Love a certain location? Or want the flexibility to visit other places? Owning a part of a timeshare or fractional ownership may be more affordable and may allow travelers to maximize their ownership, Klesh said.
Check out the local
Before visiting a new city, see if they have a product like the Entertainment Book, which can be chock full of local deals, Klesh said. Websites offering coupons are also helpful.
Different websites offer to email new deals directly to you. Travelers can sign up for emails about flights leaving their local airports to their desired location. Or a site like http://www.goldstar.com lets travelers find deals once they’re in their location.
Look for benefits.
Many credit cards carry benefits beyond mileage. The example Klesh cites is the American Express Platinum card that allows users to get into many airline clubs at the airports.ꖥ