For many people, vacation time presents a mix of joy and pain. While everyone is willing to point out the wonderful feelings experienced when travelers go on vacation, most travelers continue to dread the price shock experienced. A select few have truly mastered the art of maximizing the enjoyment and minimizing the pain of vacation time. So, here are 4 tips for compounding the good of a vacation and suppressing the bad.
Tip 1 is Plan Your Trip Early
Pretty much everything is cheaper when you buy it early. Using a popular travel site, we found that a trip from Houston to San Diego scheduled 3 days before flight time costs 560 dollars. While, the same trip purchased 6 months early would cost 369 dollars. Thats a savings of almost 200 dollars.
This leads many to ask a question. Why don't hotels and airlines just set their price and be done with it? Hotels and airlines recognize that your money can only get to them if they can lure you into making the purchase. The longer you wait to purchase from them, the more likely you are to change your mind or use their competitors. So, the lower price incentive lures you to act as soon as possible to lock you in with them. They understand that travel plans change rapidly and you are less likely to postpone a trip once you have already purchased the ticket. Though annoying, always use this to your advantage. Plan and pay for your trip as early as possible. I recommend 3-6 months ahead, if possible.
Tip 2 is Travel During Non Peak Seasons
This is so simple to understand. Hotels and airlines are businesses. They would rather get a portion of the money they would like to charge for their services rather than getting no money at all. Thats why non peak season deals abound. For instance, if you dont ski, go to the areas that cater to the ski crowd during the non-ski months. Why you ask? Well, the beauty of nature is still there, the other entertainment options that ride the ski sport to the top are still there and the hotels and airlines are screaming to fill the spaces that would otherwise sit idle. You can often find rates at less than 30 cents on the dollar.
Tip 3 is Use Vacation or Travelers Account Tools
For many travelers, vacations are a yearly thing. The need to travel is not a surprise when the time comes. Create an online vacation or travel account. If you like saving money, you cant afford not to. With the new tools that have come along in the last year, you don't even have to go to the bank to do so.
Use free tools like the Cheap Airline Tickets Toolbar to build your vacation budget. The Cheap Airline Tickets Toolbar allows users to earn money for vacation travel, hotels and entertainment by pointing out errors that they see online. The money can be applied directly to a debit card for use. Using such tools opens up a variety of travel options by allowing for more and increased quality of your vacations. At an average payout of two dollars for every valid error report, a vacation budget can quickly be built using such tools.
Tip 4 is Shop Around
Everyone understands the concept of shopping around, but there are a couple of special considerations and tactics when doing it for travel purposes. In the age of the Internet, it is easy to compare pricing for flights and hotels without leaving home. Many travel websites actually search multiple airline carriers and hotels simultaneously and then list their rates and amenities side by side for comparison. Use them. They can help you save a lot of money. Also, when you travel to tourist towns, bargain for the hotel rooms cost. In tourist towns, there are usually many mom and pop type hotels that are clamoring for business. It often helps to contact several and play the bid game. Tell them you are coming to the town and need a room. Then tell them the price that their competitor has offered. You will be surprised at the number of times that the person on the phone (which is usually the manager) will lower his/her prices to get you to choose them rather than their competitors. This is highly compounded during off-peak seasons.