You start to tell yourself that you've worked hard all year and the weather is now started to change. You start to see yourself and that special someone in paradise, sipping on your favorite cocktail and doing sweet nothings all day, but wait, you have to be able to pay to get there!
Here are 5 ways that you can have to most economic experience and not have to overspend on that dream vacation!
1) Book early
If I could only give you one piece of advice in this post this would be it. If I had a dollar for every time I had to see someone settle for what is "OK" instead of staying where they actually wanted to, I would be wealthy. There are a lot of myths about last-minute deals and the best times to book being "Tuesdays", but the truth is, they are just myths. Now I'm not saying you will never get a great last-minute deal or a great deal if you stay up until 3:00am on Tuesday morning but the travel industry could be compared to any other tangible product, it’s all about supply and demand. Airlines have predetermined prices that they will charge for all seats classes on any given flight, so a great travel agent (providing that they have the correct systems) could let you know what the cost of the least expensive fare would or would have been if that particular class were available. If you are feeling lucky you may end up snagging a seat sale, but just like everything else, you never know what will go on sale and when. So if getting a great price is at the top of your list and if you are completely flexible, I would say treat your travel plans like the casino and take a risk. If not, especially if you are travelling at spring break, summer break, or form the Christmas season start to look into your trip at least six to seven months early to make sure you get the best deal. Don't forget that some suppliers offer a price drop guarantee so if the price drops after you have booked your trip (within certain terms and conditions) you may receive a credit.
2) Consider all your options
You want to relax in paradise but keep in mind paradise means something different to different people. Your vision of paradise could be relaxing at an All Inclusive beachfront property where all meals drinks, snacks, airfare, and airport transfers are included, but your budget’s idea of paradise could be waking up on an island retreat with a fantastic local restaurant located right on the beach where your new friend Bill will be happy to serve you all your meals drinks and snacks. Consider staying in a nearby town instead of in the heart of a busy tourist region where prices are generally elevated. The life of luxury can still be yours to enjoy as renting a private villa can often times provide you with maid service and sometimes a cook or even a butler. You may also consider looking for separate one way airline tickets for each direction or even creating an itinerary with a fake return if you are travelling one way. Considering all of your options can provide you with not only additional savings than a standard package but an enhanced cultural experience of this new destination as the locals are always willing to share their world.
3) Share the experience
Consider booking with a group of friends because you can all get away and have a great time and they are generally lower rates and additional perks that the group can take advantage of. Booking as a part of a group can offer you flexibility with deposits (low or no deposits for a certain period of time or product) as well as the opportunity to secure a great rate early. Keep in mind that airline seats are priced in classes with a limited number of seats per class, so if you are shopping around for two seats and you get a cheaper price that does not mean the flight will have availability for all 10 of your friends.
4) Build a great relationship with a travel agent
Now I know you have read tons of articles that tell you why you should use a travel agent, so I am going to spare you. I am however going to tell you that you need to find a travel agent that you trust and that you feel comfortable talking to. Contrary to what a lot of travelers think, travel agents are there to help you get the best deal possible and to ensure that you as a passenger are fully aware of the standards, requirements, and current situations of your desired destination. A good travel agent will get to the bottom of exactly what you are looking for, they may even be able to give you the heads up with price fluctuations on certain products. Keep in mind that being a travel agent is a profession and a lot of agents have invested money, travels and a lot of time on their careers and education, not to mention the years of daily experience that they have dealing with a variety if itineraries. The relationship between a travel agent and yourself will be like dating, where you have to make sure that you can communicate with each other before you could go steady. You should make a pact to keep all lines of communication open so that you can both let each other know when you are on the right track. Though they are not miracle workers, remember that they have access to a lot more tools and offers than you will ever find on your own and they also have amazing relationships with suppliers of travel products as well as on site in destination, just in case you ever need a favor called in. Treat your relationship with your agent the way you would do any new partner and they will always make sure that you are getting the best deals because they always want you and your friend’s coming back. You are now in a professional relationship with your agent, you’re not just a piece of dough!
5) When you are booked, stop looking
Save yourself the aggravation, headache, stress, and loss of valuable time once your trip has been booked. Now I’m not saying to never check to see if the price is lower in order to claim your price drop guarantee, but do not insanely continue to check the price as if you are looking for another vacation. This article is all about saving you money, and I have already mentioned that some products and suppliers offer a price drop guarantee, but value your time and place a dollar value on what your time is worth. Keep in mind that if you are going to continue to look (like most of you are) you need to make sure that you are comparing apples for apples and like for like. Now think about what else you could be doing with your valuable time than driving yourself crazy trying to rebook that you’ve already booked vacation. Remember that the majority of the trips booked are 100% non-refundable, so unless you have found a significant price drop, (more than the fees and penalties of the terms and conditions) or have cancellation insurance and a legitimate covered reason for cancellation you will not be 5 getting a refund or credit. Keep in mind that a good travel agent will be able to forewarn you of all of these details and they may also be able to track the price of your trip if it does drop (if it applies) to save you the time and lost wages of continually checking on your own.