If you’re trying to find the best deals, then booking your summer vacation a few months in advance is your best bet. This gives you enough time to book your first choice in nearly everything before it gets booked up, and you may even save money. Who doesn’t want that?
If you want to get a jump start on summer vacation plans, here’s exactly what you need to know and do.
Flying is expensive, but the good news is that there are options. Instead of booking the first flight you see, track the prices. Start searching early, then use sites like Google Flights to look at your pricing options.
Apps like Hopper allow you to look at the estimated prices of flights for the upcoming months, while SkyScanner makes it easy to look at a variety of destination pricing options. Momondo helps you find the cheapest airfare and sends you to the right sites to book it, and Kiwi allows you to search through options and book right there.
Oh, and don’t be fooled by budget airlines. Those prices can be super low, but they typically don’t include things like seat selection, any bags (even carry-on, sometimes), or food. Adding those on will bump that price right on up, so if you know you need those things, a budget airline probably won’t offer the best deal.
Passport and Vaccine Card Holder Combo
Traveling internationally? Keep your passport safe.
If you’re able to be open about where you’re traveling to, you might want to try using sites and apps to search for the most affordable destination, then picking your vacation spot from the cheapest airfare options.
Amazon Basics 21-Inch Hardside Spinner
Keep your trip affordable but only using a carry-on.
For example, if you look at the Google Flights map, you’ll be able to see airfare prices for destinations all over the country and world. You can decide where you want to fly to based on the price and go from there.
Once airfare is done, it’s time to think about where you’re going to stay—and it’s not something you should put off. Booking early is usually the best way to get the best deals, but you also have more options as far as room choices and house rentals go. Waiting until the last minute means you get whatever is left.
If you don’t already have a travel credit card, now is the time to get one. These credit cards allow you to gain points for each dollar spent, and then you can redeem those points to save on things like airfare, hotels, and car rentals. Start using it now to rack up the points before booking something big.
A few of the best options out there include Chase Sapphire, Capital One Venture, Bank of America Travel Rewards, and Wells Fargo Propel. Most of these do come with an annual fee (although typically the first year is waived), but if you travel a lot, you can use them to save money on trips. They usually also come with built-in trip insurance, which is nice to have.
Jack&Chris Leather Multi Card Organizer
Keep your cards organized.
Not sure where you want to go on vacation? Now is the time to decide, and you may want to look into options that aren’t quite as popular as others. The summertime is obviously a really big time to travel, which is why prices increase and everything seems more crowded. Overcrowded destinations will likely include kid-friendly spots like Disney World, European cities like Rome and Paris, and U.S. hotspots like Manhattan and Los Angeles.
Gemice Travel Bottles for Toiletries
Wherever you choose to go, pack smart.
If you want to try to avoid the crowds and potentially spend less, choose a more off-peak destination. For example, ski resorts are typically thought of only as a winter trip, but many offer summer-friendly options as well, and they can be really beautiful and fun. Places like Costa Rica have their rainy season during the summer, but there are a few weeks in July when the rain lets up a bit and it’s a great time to visit. You can also try “second cities,” like instead of staying in popular Rome, go to Lake Como.
If you literally have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to planning or you honestly just don’t feel like making the effort, then consider working with a travel agent. They can help you plan something amazing (or just do all the work), and you don’t have to pay them! Plus, travel agents work with brands and companies and are sometimes able to get exclusive deals or better price options.
Summer vacations usually aren’t cheap, so if you’re worried about money, start saving up now. Put aside a vacation fund and spend the next few months tossing any extra money in there. Once vacation comes up, you can empty that little piggy bank and use all of that money for the extras, like food and souvenirs. You’ll appreciate it in the long run!
Clever Fox Budget Planner
Always know where your money is going.
Unless you’re headed to a relaxing beach destination to do nothing, chances are good that you want to book some outings while you’re away. Whether it’s museum tours, boat trips, or even just car service, you’re better off booking them now. Prices may be lower, and you’ll also have way more options. If you wait until the last minute, or try booking when you’re there, small group tours (and even big ones) may be totally booked up.
If you know you want to head out on a summer vacation this year, it’s time to get the ball rolling.