One of the most depressing things going on in the world of travel now is that despite plunging fuel prices, most airline and amenities providers are raising their prices.
This might seem like a strange thing, but it’s folks like you and I that are making it happen. Domestic flight prices are falling, as they should. But all the big airliners, cruise ship operators, and hotels in foreign exotic lands know you want to travel. So why shouldn’t they raise their prices?
I digress, there’s more than just flight deals to concern oneself with when it comes to having a great vacation (or two) in 2016.
Here’s a list of tips to help get your travel ball rolling right this year:
1.) Put your planning cap on — early!
Like right now already! We’re almost two months in again and time doesn’t stop for anyone. Plot your entire year’s plans out on a calendar; use a whiteboard if you want. Just make sure you have all the important dates mapped out. If you’re traveling for business, write all that down to. Everything in between is prime time for vacationing. If you plot it out now, you can book a fancy hotel stay in advance, buy a Eurail pass when they go on sale, or see what events are going on around the world that you can fit into your travel window.
2.) Plan in 3’s
Don’t settle for a plain-Jane typical vacay to Aruba or Cuba! Plan for three different travel scenarios and then really think on which one(s) you want to take this year
- Once in a lifetime excursions
- The “Meh, better than not going anywhere” stuff
- Cool places to visit that are near home (think day or weekend getaways)
Get these plans down on paper and compare them with your calendar and do as many as you can.
3.) Start clipping
Sniff out those coupon deals when the time is right. For instance, many airlines are offering big deals on flights to Africa and Japan right now for American travelers. There are tons of others too, like many Columbian destinations that are doling out great deals that may never be around again. At least for a little while. Seize the day, “leap” into action and find special pricing on bucket list destinations before they’re gone!
4.) Use deal finder apps
I’m not just talking about mobile apps. Some web-based apps, like Smartertravel.com are wicked in their ability to email you daily air and other travel package deals. They use expert sites like AirfareWatchdog.com and Cruisecritic.com to aggregate the best deals and send them out to subscribers free of charge. I’m becoming a huge fan of deals list type services that email me me with the best daily pricing — It’s great for promoting competitive pricing, am I right?
5.) Travel off-season whenever possible
It still holds true that airlines, cruise lines and hotels are always going to raise their rates during the times when people will be traveling most. Thanksgiving, Christmas, March Break, etc. If you’re heading to Mardi Gras, don’t hold out for last minute deals either, better to book in advance for the best prices!
6.) Plan your ultimate vacation based on what YOU really want to do
Why waste precious money or time on things you don’t really want to do. Why stay at a 4-star hotel over a hostel when your main goal is to meet as many new people as you can? Or spend all day standing in line at the Vatican City gates just because you’re in Rome and you might as well see it. Go where you want to go and experience what you want to experience. So many destinations, accommodations and popular sites are so cliche anyway.
7.) Avoid working vacations at all costs
Almost half of all Americans didn’t take a single day to themselves last year, according to travel intelligence provider Skiff. Many of them claimed to take a vacation, but spent at least some of their “relaxation time” on work matters back home. Don’t be a poser: you’re either on a vacation or you’re not!
9.) There is no tomorrow
I once saw a quote on the departures TV site that went something like “Yesterday has passed, today is here, tomorrow may never come.” Great quote for any occasional or wannabee traveler to tattoo somewhere visible on their body. Look at what’s happening in places like Egypt right now — it’s not even safe to go see one of the most iconic wonders the world over without risking certain death — particularly as a foreigner!
Don’t wait until today becomes yesterday and you’re stuck with no tomorrows!
Main Image Credit: Michael McDonough/Flickr