Everyone loves a good deal. However, with the rise of airline fees and resort fees, travelers are getting slapped with a surprisingly hefty bill at the end of their vacation. To alleviate the problem, we asked travel agents for their best tips on how to find the best deals and what to watch out for this summer.
1. How to find a good deal: look for off-season travel options
Jen Gold from FlipKey.com advises travelers look for off-season destinations:
“Some incredible deals can be found in destinations where peak travel season is not summer. Everyone loves visiting the tropics in the winter, but destinations like the Caribbean, Bahamas and Mexico are just as beautiful, if only a few degrees warmer, in the summer months. And because summer is the low season in these spots, airfares plummet and vacation rentals offer super-discounted rates to attract travelers. High-end luxury accommodations you never dreamed you could afford might actually be within your reach!“
Caroline M. and Brenda G. from Traterra caution travelers to book immediately:
“Book early and be flexible: The summer season is short, early June to mid-August. If you find a price you like, book it. Waiting until the last minute for better deals can result in higher prices. Demand is high during the summer. Understand that airfares and hotel availability is limited and price varies drastically by flight, destination and availability.
Steve Griswold from Pixie Vacations tells travelers to do the math:
“You can save the most money by getting a vacation package. For example a Disney World Vacation Package would include your transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport, your room, park tickets, and the Disney dining plan. By bundling everything into a vacation package you end up getting a discounted room rate and a discount on park tickets. “
2. Watch out: the hidden costs of that great deal
Christina Ernst from VIP Alpine Tours warns travelers about high prices:
“Certain dining venues in top tourist destinations can cost more than 20% than similar restaurants at home. Many resorts also charge mandatory daily resort fees of up to $40 a day to cover such items as parking and Internet.
Ross Hudgens from Travel Start tempers travelers’ expectations:
“Be mindful of your destination before purchasing full packages that include vehicles, too. Although you can get a discount by purchasing these things together, your transportation situation and options at your destination may be different than you had imagined.”
Kim Milnes from Adventures by Kim reminds travelers of the risks:
“If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. If you are going in a high season and the resort is sold out, and you booked a certain rate or through a certain online booking engine, the hotel or resort can walk you to another hotel if they are booked. Read the fine print. “
3. One place travelers can find great deals? Cruises.
Erica Kritt from The Cruise Web tells cruisers to think about the shoulder season:
“If you want to venture to Alaska, consider not sailing during the middle of the summer, which is the peak time to visit. Take a cruise at the beginning of the season (May) or towards the end (September).”
Chuck Flagg from The Flagg Agency gives cruisers advice on when to book:
“Cruise lines will have flash sales, usually on Tuesdays to fill remaining inventory on sailings that leave within 45 days or so. These summer deals on cruises are meant for two people traveling together. Families are going to have a hard time finding a stateroom that holds more than 3 or even 4 people. If they want to split staterooms, they could be on opposite ends of the ship. While that works for some families, it does not work for everyone. Also more than likely a stateroom is on special because no one wanted it. An undesirable location like over a nightclub or under the theater or an obstructed view is always possible on these on sale staterooms.”
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