Booking travel is always exciting.
It’s the promise of a new adventure, or maybe even a familiar trip you look forward to each year. When you decide to take a vacation, one of the highlights can be the planning stage.
But then the prices are higher than you expected, and there’s no availability for your dates. Suddenly, your excitement turns to stress as you try to make your dream get-away work. For those involved with planning a vacation, you can sometimes feel like all the fun is lost by how hard you have to work to create it.
Even the best travel planners struggle with the stress of making a vacation work perfectly.
Two things I’ve learned to keep in mind when I sit down to plan a vacation are flexibility and creativity.
These are two major weaknesses of mine (in life) so of course they present a problem when I book travel! Thankfully, what I lack in these areas, my husband more than makes up for! Usually between the two of us, we are able to plan a pretty fantastic vacation…even if it wasn’t at all what I originally had in mind!
That being said, there are some things to keep in mind when booking a vacation and different ways to make it much easier!
Tips For Booking Travel:
Timing: If you are absolutely set on a specific vacation (cruise, rental house, airline, etc.) and you have zero flexibility, book early! I can’t stress enough that the money you could possibly save by booking closer to your travel dates does not even begin to make up for the heartache you will experience if you miss out on what you wanted. Likewise, if you are very flexible, you can get some great deals by booking last minute. This is probably the first decision you need to make before you go any further in the planning.
Weather Consideration: There is absolutely no possible way to foolproof your trip from weather. Even last minute trips are subject to un-forecast and unforeseen issues. However, quickly checking the average weather will at least give you an idea of what to expect. If you book a trip to Florida in the summer, don’t be surprised when the temperatures reach 100 and you experience a short afternoon thunderstorm. Similarly, booking a trip to Florida in January is no guarantee that you’ll have hot, pool weather. It might be a chilly 65 degrees and you’ll need a light jacket to be comfortable. Again, neither of these scenarios are guaranteed, but the predictions are good based on the average weather. If your trip will be drastically influenced by weather, then do your best to plan accordingly to give yourself the best shot at optimal weather.
Web-searches: A great way to see lots of travel options at once is through websites such as Vacation Rental By Owner or Travelocity. Each of these sites lets you explore your options all in one place. You can compare accommodations, prices, and availability without having to go through multiple channels. As with anything, before you book be certain you are comparing apples to apples and read the fine print. THERE ARE ALWAYS ADDITIONAL FEES ON EVERYTHING (and my husband will be mad that I put that in such definitive language…but it’s true!)
Hotel/Airline Apps: Using apps to explore hotel locations or flight options is a great way to view everything in one place. Likewise, you are able to compare rates, locations and availability. Also, booking through a hotel or airline app will give you the ability to easily track and accrue rewards points. If you stay with a certain hotel brand or fly on the same airline for multiple trips, you will quickly earn free travel.
Travel Agent: Using a travel agent provides the best, most complete and stress-free way to book travel. Often times travel agents will be able to book your travel for the same price (or even less!) than you would on your own. And someone else does all the work! Better yet, a travel agent worries about all of the details. They are able to complete your itinerary and inform you of any decisions that need to be made.
Do you have any tips for stress-free ways to book travel?
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