Spring break and summer are fast approaching, which means it’s time start planning and pricing for those vacations. Christy Wagnitz, owner of Gateway Travel advisers in Sherman, offers her tips to fine tune your trip and make sure your money goes just as far as you want to.
“There are so many great destinations within driving distance of here, but there’s also so much to see and do across the world that will enrich your life,” Wagnitz says. “But wherever you’re going, planning is key.”
Know what you want from a trip + spend to support it
For the average four-day vacation, Wagner says travelers can expect to spend in the neighborhood of $800 per person domestically and at least $1,000 per person internationally. But before spending any money, it’s important to know where you want to go and what kind of experiences you want to have.
“Everybody’s idea of a vacation is different,” says Wagnitz. “For people who have high-stress jobs, it might be more enjoyable to have really nice accommodations with spa treatments and other customized services. For other people who like get out all day and go see a lot of different things, spending on tours and activities might be more important than accommodations.”
Get started early
Flight reservations can typically be made 11 months out, while cruises can be booked up to two years in advance. Airlines, hotel booking sites and other travel services may offer occasional and last-minute deals, but Wagnitz says booking prices tend to be lower when arrangements are made well in advance.
“As availability decreases, the price really only go up,” Wagnitz says.
Beware of high-dollar days
“The two most expensive times of year for travel are spring break and the week between Christmas and New Year’s,” says Wagnitz. “Late May and the first week or two in June seem to still have decent pricing, but it goes up as you get further into the summer.”
Traveling to large American cities can be more expensive around the Fourth of July and Memorial Day, but solid deals may still be scooped up by those willing go international.
“In Mexico, the pricing for Fourth of July weekend this year is actually lower than the other weeks around it,” Wagnitz says.
When it comes to travel, flexibility is a virtue — and one that can maximize your money.
“If you’re flexible with dates and flight times, there’s usually a good deal offered somewhere,” Wagnitz says. “Early morning and late night flights always seem to price the best. And for domestic flights in the U.S., traveling on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is typically cheaper than flying on the weekend.”
Patience can also pay off once you’ve reached your destination.
“Let’s say you go to New York and you want to see a show. If you’ve got the time and you’re willing to stand in line all day, you might get them at half price,” Wagnitz says. “The money you save can then be used for other experiences on your trip.”
Consider getting traveler’s insurance
Wagnitz says traveler’s insurance is a great way to recoup your losses when the unexpected strikes or sidelines your travel plans.
“You never know when somebody is going to get sick, or breaks an arm, or when a family member passes away or a job situation will change,” Wagnitz says. “Most policies cover flight delays and cancellations, help out when your luggage gets lost or even if you step on a piece of glass at the beach and have to go to an international hospital.”
Coverage for a two-person, $2,500 booking will cost about $150, but rates may vary based on the provider, the total number of people traveling and booking value.
Insurance may be an added expense that never gets used, but Wagnitz says getting caught without means you’re likely to lose a majority of your money on top of the trip itself.
“Travel isn’t merciful when it comes to money, especially (with) airlines,” says Wagnitz.”If it’s too much money for you to lose, then it’s definitely worth the investment.”