Summer is just around the corner, and chances are you have a getaway in mind. If you start planning your trip now before summer arrives, you’ll save more money, find great deals and iron out your itinerary so that you spend more time relaxing on the beach than trying to find your hotel. Here are some other reasons to start planning your summer vay-kay now:
The early bird gets the worm…and the best deals.
It’s never too soon to start researching deals on airfare, lodging and other travel-related expenses. With more time, you won’t be pressured into buying the least expensive option of the moment, which is often costlier than you’d like. Rather, you’ll have time to shop around and wait for the price that fits your budget.
Tip: Sign up for price alerts on flights to the destinations you desire and get notified by either the airline or a booking website like Kayak, when a bargain is available.
Planning early allows you to save up more.
Spur-of-the-moment jaunts are fun, but they can also stretch your wallet. The sooner you etch out a plan for travel, the more time you’ll have to save money for your trip. When you’ve got more cash in the bank, you don’t have to skimp on fun, and a post-vacation credit-card-debt cloud won’t nag you.
Tip: First make a budget so you know how much money you will need for your trip. Then create a savings schedule that will get you to that dollar amount in time. Your schedule could entail setting aside a portion of each paycheck, or setting a monthly goal for how much money you need to contribute to your fund—whatever works best for you.
In some cases, you can arrange payment plans.
Some resorts, cruises and hotels allow you to pay in installments prior to your arrival, usually starting with a down payment or deposit, followed by recurring monthly payments. However, you can’t do this if you procrastinate, as you need at least several months for a payment plan.
Tip: Inquire at your desired location if they allow layaway or installment plans.
You can go against the grain and save some money.
Think about going somewhere where summer is the off-season. Not only could this strategy save you money, but it will spare you from overwhelming crowds and long lines. For instance, ski resorts like Whistler in British Columbia and Vail in Colorado have a ton of summer activities for outdoorsy families, like mountain biking, hiking and swimming. Off-season destinations may be harder to pinpoint, but by planning early you’ll have plenty of time to do research.
Tip: Think of your favorite places that are popular in the winter (e.g. ski resorts, tropical locations that visitors flock to when it gets cold), and then look into what they offer for summer activities.
It’ll give you something to look forward to.
Shake off the last few weeks of winter with thoughts of sunny beaches or green wilderness. Wherever you plan to go on your vacation, it will give you something pleasant to daydream about when the chilly wind kicks up or the rain pours down.
Tip: Get creative about destinations and money-saving strategies as soon as possible. Doing so will make you feel like an ultra-savvy traveler.