So, you decide you want to go on vacation. You and your traveling companions pick where and when to go. Then, you start looking for money-saving deals and realize they are hard to come by. Boom. By locking yourself into a specific travel destination and date, your biggest money-saving opportunity may be lost. If you are truly seeking to save big bucks on a vacation, flexibility is key.
Nowadays, it’s vital to trade the traditional way of planning vacation for a newer, open-minded approach. This means finding what deals are out there first. Second, narrowing down destination and travel dates based on those deals. Third, secure the deals.
Being flexible may involve booking with a different airline than normal, flying out on a Thursday, and returning on a Monday, or traveling during off-peak hours or months when airfare is generally cheaper. Bear in mind that online flight prices can shift quickly due to inventory changes, data caching techniques, and departure dates. Thus, it’s generally optimal to secure a good flight deal as soon as it is spotted.
Bundle packages offering flight/hotel/and rental car deals, for example, can provide significant savings. The key is to make price comparisons for similar bundles on various websites such as Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, Kayak, Booking.com, and others. Pay attention to what is included and excluded when making price comparisons.
As offered by AMAC, travel discounts enable members to compare hundreds of hotels through AMAC Explore or book directly with their valued partner hotels. In addition to hotel discounts, one may score less expensive flights using travel resources such as The Flight Deal or Hotwire. In some cases, booking trip elements separately may be a winning idea. Thus, it’s generally a good idea to compare bundles versus individual arrangements. Bear in mind that automobile rentals are currently in high demand. If a car is an absolute must, it may make more sense to secure the car rental first in periods where supply is low, thereby negating some of the bundle options.
Signing up for airfare and hotel price alerts can help save money on travel, but one must generally be willing to consider a variety of destinations in which to travel. Additionally, one must be ready to book the trip or travel during the sales period, essentially taking advantage of an offer before it ends. Deals from airlines can enable travelers to get exclusive fares, save on bags and seats, etc. For hotels, in addition to receiving alerts, one may sign up for privileges, earn points, gift cards, and discounts, and more. However, it’s important to read the small print of any deal, as there are often locations that are excluded from promotions.
Should one choose a travel destination first, as traditional, being adaptive to the time of travel is key to saving money. For example, travel to Hawaii during peak periods while most Americans are seeking winter vacations, such as in December, can result in higher hotel and travel prices. The odds are greater for securing a “better deal” during their “off-season” and when people are vacationing less. One may also save money by choosing a more affordable place to stay, for example, selecting a small Airbnb stay versus an expensive hotel stay.
Now that people are feeling more confident about travel, vacation planning has once again become a reality. With a little creativity and flexibility, vacationers can plan trips confidently. Keeping an open mind about destination and vacation dates, and watching for deals, can yield some great world adventures.
*Travel during the COVID-19 pandemic
Currently, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, unvaccinated U.S. citizens are encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to restrict travel until fully vaccinated with the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. People who are fully vaccinated are advised to follow CDC guidelines and be aware of increased health risks traveling to international destinations. It is recommended that international travelers pay careful attention to new or concerning variants and to conditions present at their travel destination. As more U.S. citizens are being vaccinated, travel will likely increase throughout the summer months.
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