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Planning a vacation can be exciting, stressful and confusing. But it doesn’t have to be. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be smooth sailing and ensure you get the best price available and won’t miss your flight.
When should you start looking?
The truth is, it’s never too early to start dreaming about your next vacation. The beauty of it is that it’s free to browse the Internet, talk to friends, scope out your next getaway and call a Vacationeeze concierge. But, keep in mind that pricing changes constantly for both airfare and hotels. In addition, pricing won’t be available until about 11 months from travel. At this stage of planning, it’s more of an opportunity to explore and get a sense of what options are available.
When should you book?
As you get closer to 11 months out from your vacation, that’s a good time to call your vacation concierge and start to plan your vacation. Even if you don’t have a sense of where you want to go, your vacation concierge can help give you a better sense and make sure the trip falls within your budget.
Keeping your budget in mind, your vacation concierge will also take into consideration your wants and needs. Is it important that there are plenty of activities for the kids? Do you want to be on a secluded island where you won’t have to see anyone else? Do you want adventurous excursions? Do you want to be pampered in the spa? These are all things to start thinking about.
Once you think about some of these details, your vacation concierge will help put together pricing for a few resorts for you to compare. The benefit of working with a vacation concierge is that they can help create a vacation package that fits your needs. You should aim to have your trip booked no less than 9 months in advance to ensure the flight and room category you want aren’t booked.
Do you need a passport?
Great! You’re all booked. You’re on your way to vacation. One important thing to remember: Your passport. If you are traveling outside the country (this includes Mexico and most islands in the caribbean), you will need a valid passport for each person traveling. The passport cannot be expired within six months after the day of travel. In fact, it’s recommended if your passport is about to expire, you should renew your passport nine months before it expires.The State Department has a very useful Frequently Asked Questions guide about your passport. While this may sound a bit silly and even useless, check out the list to learn things like: What to do if you only have a few pages left in your passport or what to do about your child’s passport?
When do you pay?
You don’t have to pay for your full vacation up front. That’d be a bit sketchy. Instead, you have to put a small deposit to lock in prices and the rate you were quoted. Because prices fluctuate so much, especially for airfare, you typically have to pay airfare in full but only a small deposit for the resort. The resort deposit will usually be $100-200 per person. The best part is that if you book far enough in advance, you secure a much better price and lock in a much better room category. Your final payment is made 45-60 days prior to trip and you’re paid in full.
When do you pack?
There is no definitive answer about this one. If you’re like some of us here at Vacationeeze, you like to pack a week in advance and be done with it. You’re organized, and you probably have 17 different checklists for your vacation. That’s totally fine, but for others, they like to pack the night before, or even the morning of travel! We’ll withhold judgement, because some members of our team prefer this route.
Whether you like packing weeks in advance or that morning, just be sure to not forget anything. If you are packing that morning, it may be best to write down everything you need and check it off as you throw it in your suitcase. As to what you should pack, that’s a whole different discussion.
When should you arrive at the airport?
You’re all packed and ready to go! The worst thing now would be if you miss your flight. To avoid this, plan on arriving 2 hours before your flight for an international destination. For a domestic destination arrive at least one hour before your flight. THis will arrive time for packing, checking your bag and going through security without looking like a crazy person running through the airport weaving throughout the crowds of people.
When do you relax?
This one is still out for the jury to decide. Some Vacationeeze team members say vacation starts the second you close your door and head to the airport. For others, it’s not until you arrive at the resort and let out that big sigh of relaxation.
Relaxing is one of the best parts of vacation and to ensure you can fully do so, make sure to plan accordingly so you’re not stressed out about traveling.
Have other tips for traveling? Send them my way at [email protected] and we’ll add them to our next blog post!