Ask Your Agents – June 2014

Dear Tammy and Cheri,

We rarely travel during the summer months because we heard it cost more than fall or spring. Do you have any tips on how to get the best deal for summer vacation plans?

Janice and Jim, Sun Lakes AZ

Dear Janice and Jim,

Typically summer months are costlier; however, here are some helpful tips we have found to help with summer vacation planning to keep it down. The early bird catches the best deals (especially in summer, which are peak season for many destinations).

Why should I book early?

For summer travel, the best deals are generally found in advance, whether it’s a hotel reservation or a car rental. This is because almost everyone travels somewhere in summer. In fact, in 2013, AAA estimated that a full two-thirds of the American population planned to take a trip between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Book airfare early.

The general rule of thumb for booking airfare is two months in advance for domestic flights and three months in advance for international; however, for peak-season flyers, sticking closer to that 90-day mark may be best. For summer flights, experts say that early spring is prime time for researching and booking. During this period, airlines will be offering sales on summer routes and ticket prices will generally be at their lowest. So if you see an unusually low fare, grab it; flight prices can change quickly!

But don’t book airfare too early.

Yes, there is such a thing as booking airfare too early. Prices may be at their highest many months in advance, before airlines have a chance to offer sales. That doesn’t mean you should wait until the last minute, hoping for a sudden price drop, though. Set up fare alerts with Airfarewatchdog or closely monitor prices on your own. Never book a flight more than six months out; unless it’s for a trip you need to be extra cautious about (say, your own wedding).

Search for alternate arrival and departure airports.

In metropolitan areas with more than one airport, such as New York City, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, having multiple options often means lower, more competitive ticket prices. Whenever possible, check other area airports to see which departure point is cheapest.

Be flexible with dates.

The more flexible you can be with the dates, the more money you are likely to save when it comes to booking. Hotel rates and flights are often pricier on weekends. Know that midweek is often the cheapest time to fly, and early-morning or late-night flights can be much more economical.

Stay tuned for more helpful tips next month.

If you have a travel question or problem you would like to submit please contact Tammy Sikorski or Cheri Sigurdson at El Sol Travel-located at 10325 E. Riggs Road, Suite 105, Sun Lakes, AZ 85242; or call directly at 480-895-9362; e-mail at tsikorski@elsoltravel.net or cheri@elsoltravel.net. View our web site at  www.elsolvacations.net.