Vacation time seems a long way off until suddenly it arrives—and that’s when prices can be the highest and the trip becomes painfully expensive. By planning ahead and using travel advisors, you can save up and cut costs. And that makes the whole trip a lot more enjoyable.
- Check your booking time frame. The key is to start saving early — eight to 12 months ahead at least. Now you can breathe. If the time is near, have fun nearer to home this year and start planning now for the big trip next year. OR if you have saved up, there can be last-minute deals through your Travel Planner for cruises and all-inclusive resorts.
- Set a budget. Get quotes from travel advisor and figure out how much you want to spend and work from there. Divide by time until lift-off. $5,000 sounds like a lot, but it’s $96 per week or $400 per month over a year.
- Choose the flight less traveled. Regional airports can offer significant savings on airfare. Flights on Friday – Monday are the highest and book up quickly. Families tend to be ruled by school schedules, but moving flights even a day forward or backward can cut costs, and in summer you’ll have lots of leeway. You’ll find that early-morning first flights out are generally cheaper (and they’re often less likely to be subject to airport traffic delays).
When to buy. Buying in advance is highly recommended for a cruise, but air is not the same, so for flights, not too far in advance. “Generally airlines don’t manage their cheapest price points until about three months before departure domestically,” says the CEO of FareCompare.com, although this doesn’t hold for holiday periods like Thanksgiving and New Year’s. For international flights, the timing is about five months ahead. Most airlines release fare sales on Monday or Tuesday. Tuesday at 3 p.m., when everyone else has matched that low price, is often the best time to book, but the window is short. Sales are typically gone by Wednesday, so set up a price alert. No-frills flights can save money, but watch for hidden fees. Several major airlines have “basic economy” tickets, but there are often fees for assigned seats, overhead luggage and other amenities. For families who are loaded down with vacation gear or who must sit together, this may not work. If booking air online, know the category of ticket you’re buying and read all the fine print before clicking “buy”—that ticket may come with a hefty change fee (but remember, you do have 24 hours to cancel a ticket with no fee).
Package the all-inclusive resort. The trick to saving on an all-inclusive deal alone is to read the contract to know exactly what is not included (usually flights, motor sports, some alcohol). Especially in Mexico and the Caribbean, where all-inclusive resorts line the beachfront, you can save a lot. Your travel planner can assist you about 6 months out in a great package including air and hotel/resort. These domestic packages often have optional charges for car rentals, but may include transfers.
Buy pricey necessities ahead of time. You’ll regret how much you pay for sunscreen at a beach town or on a ship when you remember what it costs at the warehouse store back home. You can also take things like travel-size shampoo in your checked bags but hotels/resorts and ships usually provide shampoo and cleanser/soap. Hair conditioner may not be provided.
Rent your car anywhere but the airport. Getting your car at the airport can be the most expensive option. Companies often charge less if you rent in town, for instance. Depending on the number of days renting, it’s worth the hassle of the short trip, and often you can rideshare to the rental location.
We at Getaway Dreams Come True are happy to provide you a vacation consultation where we will determine the best vacation type for your lifetime memories and will provide assistance including the booking up through your travel and beyond.
You may also wish to view additional posted blogs below:
Is the All-Inclusive Experience for You?
Is A Cruise Travel Vacation For You?
Seasonal Cruising By Global Location
What Sets Getaway Dreams Come True Apart from Other Travel Agencies?
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