Booking That Perfect Vacation

NataliaDeriabina / iStock / thinkstock.com

NataliaDeriabina / iStock / thinkstock.com

There are so many options for booking trips your head will spin. How you go about it depends on much time, and or money you’re willing to spend.

Travel Agents
Yes they still exist but are hard to find. The brick and mortar travel agent is probably on someone or other’s endangered list, which is a shame. It’s handy to walk into an office, get brochures and books and ask questions of an actual human being. Travel agents who actually travel are immensely helpful and provide tips and insights on your planned destination. They also have worked with the vendors you plan to hire and can insure you’re getting what you pay for. They do have to make money though so you are paying for their service but an experienced agent can be invaluable in making your trip perfect.

Tour Groups
Tour companies such as Trafalger and Globus will do all the planning for you. They will keep you busy and moving from morning to night. If you want to tour the museums of Europe or the Serengeti in Africa, these companies will get you in quicker, provide local guides, and drive you there and back. An excellent way to discover a foreign land with experts, these trips are sometimes planned down to the minute and can be restrictive. Great for a first time visitor, they also place you in a group which provides security and companionship. They are not cheap, but they do handle all the mundane booking such as transportation, dining, and lodging.

haveseen / iStock / thinkstock.com

haveseen / iStock / thinkstock.com

Vacation Package Companies
Outfits like Apple Vacations, FunJet Vacations, and Cheap Caribbean are the packaging experts, especially for Mexico and the Caribbean. You can book airfare, airport transfers or rental cars and hotels all in just a few clicks of your mouse. They cover most all-inclusive resorts which means, you’re also booking all your meals and drinks at once. These packages re usually the best deals you will find for resort packages as they book a lot of these trips and help fill the hotel rooms. The downside is you can’t always get the handiest flight and sometimes have to settle for a layover or two.

Third Party
Sites such as Orbitz and Travelocity also provide packages which include flights and hotels along with rental cars. You can use them for just airline tickets or the whole vacation package. While these sites will sometimes come in cheaper than putting it together yourself, some airlines are now charging baggage fees for these third party bookings that are not incurred when booking through the airline itself. You also sometimes can’t find all the available flights you can direct through the airline but if you can make the schedule work, the price savings is sometimes worth paying for that check in or carryon bag.

Put it Together Yourself
Sometimes you can put it all together yourself and save money, but timing is everything. First you have to have the time to invest in surfing the web for everything from your flights to your hotel and also rental cars or transfers from the airport. Experts everywhere have their own opinions on how far out to book. If you’re able to fly off on a moment’s notice, screaming deals can found the week before you go. Otherwise booking about 6 weeks ahead or longer seems to be your best bet. Prices on flights, hotel rooms and vacation packages seem to change on a daily or sometimes even hourly basis so you have to keep after it to find the best deal for you. Whichever way you go is dependent on how much time and effort you are willing to invest.

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