Tips for Booking a Cheap Vacation Package
For the greatest savings on your vacation package, use these nine tips to guide you through the booking process.
1. Be Flexible on Place
You're going to get the cheapest vacation package if you are completely open to any destination. I recommend either choosing an activity that you're looking for (e.g., beach, skiing, museums) or a general destination and then looking for vacation packages that meet this more general criteria. When you're more flexible on place, you're going to get a better deals .
2. Plan Far in Advance or Book Last Minute
The best vacation deals I've found have always been last-minute trips. You are best off planning more than three months in advance (four for summer travel) or less than two weeks. Planning a trip in only two weeks may sound scary — but you can block off the dates now and choose the destination later!
3. Be Flexible on Time
Just like with flexibility on destination, travelers who are flexible with when they go are going to get better deals. "Time" includes days that you travel, how long you stay, and even time of day for flights. The more flexibility you have, the cheaper vacation package you'll snag.
4. Be Flexible on Amenities
Most vacation packages typically include flights and hotel. Some also include a rental car, admission passes to a nearby attraction, or all-inclusive meals. It's best to be flexible on the amenities you want — you can always opt to not use the tickets or to find a rental car on your own.
5. Bring a Friend (or Two)
The majority of vacation packages are priced per person for two people. If you are travelling by yourself, you'll likely see a surcharge. Some packages charge less per person when there are three or four people all booking together (usually sharing one room).
6. Know That You Can Extend Your Dates
A vacation package frequently has certain dates or number of days set in stone. For example, a long weekend package might begin on a Friday and go until Monday. Don't feel confined by these dates — many of the vacation packages will allow you to extend the dates for several more dollars. And if they won't let you extend your trip, consider finding your own way home. One time, for example, a vacation package I found was such a good deal that I booked it, but I wasn't able to extend the trip through the company. So once at my destination I found different lodging for the duration of the trip and bought a one-way ticket home.
7. Splurge: Spend the Money to Upgrade
Usually with vacation packages, you'll have a cheaper option for the package, then you'll be given an option to upgrade to a fancier hotel. If you upgrade, you'll get a much better hotel in a much better location.