A vacation should feel exactly like that: a vacation. Unfortunately it can often turn out to be one expensive, time-consuming headache: stranded in layovers, overpriced hotels that look nothing like the brochure, stressful itineraries. Here are some life tips on a hassle-free vacation, so you can get the best bargains for your money and (more importantly) the best time of your life.
travel secret # 1: book your flight as early as you can
Airfare tends to climb up during peak season, as airline companies try to recoup their losses during the slow months. To avoid the sudden rise in prices, try to book your holiday flights as soon as possible. You can also be updated on any airline promos by subscribing to airlines’ newsletters and social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Also follow the Twitter accounts of travel sites like @travel_ticker which announce any airline deals.
Booking your flight early also lets you pick flights that have no layovers. However, if you can’t get a non-stop flight, check the airports. Steer cleer of those that tend to have poor weather conditions during the month you will travel.
travel secret # 2: stay away from peak days
You have a higher chance of getting better rates and even better seats by avoiding Wednesdays before or Sunday after Thanksgiving. Also arrange your itinerary so you don’t have o fly on December 26, when most people are rushing back home after a holiday reunion.
Also check the calendars and avoid weekend flights. For example, if New Year’s falls on a Friday, then don’t travel on a Sunday (or January 2). Even waiting one day, and traveling on January 3, will help you avoid airline price increases and crowded airports.
travel secret # 3: look, and ask for, hotel deals
Many hotels will offer amazing packages during the holidays just to elbow out competition. Plus, they try to compensate for the dip in business travelers who naturally go home during the holidays. You may be surprised at how cheap the hotel rooms are—and well worth every penny, since you skip the stress of having to stay with relatives and the discomfort of sleeping on their couch or lumpy sofa bed.
It doesn’t hurt to ask the hotel for room upgrades, and being extra polite to the staff, who are after all working on a holiday so you can have a great time. A thank you note or a good tip is not only appropriate it can make them more ‘helpful’ if you’re asking about any hotel deals.
travel secret # 4: Avoid checking in luggage
Travel light. You save on airport fees, time, and the risk of losing luggage. Travel light and try to fit everything into one carry-on luggage. (Read our tips on packing.) And instead of bringing gifts consider shopping online and having them sent directly to the recipient. If you are bringing anything don’t wrap them yet sine airport security may need to open the package.
Image from circle-mag.com