We know how it is – you get the bug, you shop around on multiple sites for weeks trying to find the best deal, eventually you find one you’re happy with and you book the trip. It’s always a great idea to shop around before committing to something, vacations aren’t cheap! Here are some tips on how to plan your vacay.
Agree On a Destination
This may seem obvious, but for couples or large groups of friends this could take some time, especially if everyone has a different idea of where they would like to go. Typically how we go about this is determine what are somethings we would like to do and see and the climate we would like to be in and go from there. It’s amazing because you can plan different excursions or activities within your trip which cater to what everyone likes (ex. some days sight-seeing and exploring for the adventurers and some days hanging at the beach or getting a massage for those who just want to relax).
Choose the Cheapest Dates
Some travel websites actually have this highlighted when you select dates to fly to your destination and will show you alternative dates with cheaper rates – if you are flexible with your travel dates take advantage of this – you could end up saving a lot of money! Other sites may not do this, so try a few dates and compare the prices before purchasing your flight. You can also do some research online and check out when the cheapest time of year to travel to your destination is. Keep in mind though, it is usually cheap for a reason (i.e. bad weather, etc.).
Plan Your Excursions and Activities Ahead of Time
Depending on the location it may be cheaper to purchase your excursions at your destination or through a bundle the airliner/agency may be offering. Shop around for these ahead of time before committing to a bundle deal – you may end up spending more! There are many independent tour company’s and some even will have deals on coupon or discount websites – so check those first!
Check Out Resorts/Hotels on Instagram First
Seriously, it may seem tedious but the photos on the travel site are not always as they seem. If you go to Instagram and do a quick search for the geotag or hashtag of the resort or hotel you can see real people’s accounts and experiences of the place. Often photos are taken with “fish eye” to make areas seem larger or they include mostly photos of their luxury suites. Do your research prior to booking to ensure the hotel lives up to what it is advertising so you do not end up disappointed.
Mix and Match
Again, depending on the time of year and destination it may be cheaper to either buy a flight and hotel together in a bundle or potentially book the flight and lodging separately. I will often select both options and compare the prices. At times you can find an amazing deal on a flight but not with the resort you would like to stay at or vice versa. Try it out and see what results you come up with!
Try Selecting Alternate Airports
This can end up being cheaper as well. When we booked our trip to Mexico it was actually cheaper for us to fly out of Toronto at the time then it was to fly out of Ottawa. You need to account for other expenses too, if you’re going to do this (like gas, parking, bus or train transportation to the city of the airport). Make sure the numbers add up and you are actually saving money before doing this! For example, if the flight is $1000 from Ottawa and $900 from Toronto but it will cost you $200 in gas and parking then you won’t be saving any money, so make sure the savings are significant.
Did you learn something new or valuable? Do you have additional advice that we missed? Drop us a comment and share your insights with us!