It is sometimes hard to tell what people enjoy the most, great vacations or really great deals on their vacations. For most vacation planning, the two biggest budget items are the hotel reservations and the air tickets.
Finding low airfares and cheap hotel rates can help stretch that travel budget to the max. These days, with the many discount travel websites out there, if you invest just a few hours of time researching your trip, then this will often end up saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
In addition to doing your legwork by researching the various airfare deals, discount hotel accommodations and car reservations that are available, the timing of your trip and your flexibility can also have a great impact on the final cost. When it comes down to traveling, there are certain factors you have a great deal of control over, and others you don’t.
Some of the factors you can control, and therefore influence the price you will pay for are: the day of the week you travel, the time of day you fly, the days of the week you will be in a hotel or renting a car, and when you book your travel.
One of the most important considerations in booking air tickets and hotel reservations is knowing when you should do the booking. Determining the best time to book the flight and make those reservations is a little akin to gambling because air fares and hotel rates are constantly changing.
There are many travel agencies and travel industry experts who advocate for booking your air ticket and your hotel as early as you can. For early booking, they will often reward you with better pricing and substantial discounts.
When you book early you can relax, knowing that your vacation arrangements have been made, with your itinerary firmly in hand. You can simply focus your energies on packing, losing a few extra pounds before the trip or saving up some extra cash to pamper yourself while away.
However, almost everyone who has done a bit of traveling will tell you that if they had waited and booked their flight or made arrangements for their hotel room at the last minute, they might have saved a good deal of money. In some instances, a call to the airline or the hotel will result in a discount being granted, even if you have already paid a deposit or paid in full in advance. But, more often than not, the security of knowing that your vacation plans have been set for months will give you more peace of mind.
On the other hand, there have been many stories about travelers who decided to wait to book a room at their favorite hotel. Unfortunately, to their chagrin, they discovered that not a room was to be found. Every cheap hotel to luxury hotel room had been booked for a convention and they were out of luck. That’s where the gambling aspect of last minute reservations comes into play.
The good news is that if you can be flexible with your destination, then the solution can be as simple as choosing a different city to visit and securing flight and hotel reservations. But, not everyone can be that flexible and if you have to be in a certain city for a once-in-a-lifetime event, then it’s best to take the best deal you can find early and enjoy the knowledge that your travel plans are all set.