My Monday Morning Travel Tip for you
Wherever you plan to go in the next 18-24 months, BOOK IT NOW! Family wedding, class reunion, family trip, cruise, road trip… whatever it is. BOOK. IT. NOW! Why? With most suppliers (Resorts, Hotels, Airlines, Car Rental, etc) when you make your reservation and put down a deposit you LOCK IN YOUR PRICE. With rising fuel costs, concerns about inflation, and the demand for travel increasing, it only makes sense to lock in today’s prices. Many suppliers, resorts, hotels, cruise lines, even some airlines, will honor a lower price with a travel credit or cash back.
This is where reading the fine print and those terms and conditions is very important. Most people don’t know that airline carriers have terms and conditions that allow them to charge “fuel surcharges” after payment. These charges can be added at anytime, the amount varies, and they don’t necessarily have anything to do with actual fuel prices. However, as fuel costs rise, airlines will be looking to pass that cost onto consumers.
One way airlines are passing on that cost already is by categorizing more and more seats as “premium.” Look at the seat map below, in addition to First Class and the newer ‘Economy Plus’ option, many of the previously economy seats are now “Preferred Seats” and require an additional fee. Hate the back of the plane? Want an aisle or window seat? That will cost you a little bit more. Additional fees are not new but they do directly coincide with increases to airlines. We saw this in the 90’s when fuel prices rose and airlines began charging fees for bags.
Fees and additional costs aren’t isolated to airlines alone. Hotels and Resorts will need to off set the rising costs of food, transportation, and materials. Higher resort costs, resort fees, parking fees, surcharges, room service or delivery fees, and decreasing staff are several of the ways resorts will attempt to decrease their bottom line.
So what is a traveler to do? Stop traveling? Wait for prices to go down? NO!
First, there is no guarantee that prices will go down, especially as costs relate to inflation. Bag fees came during a fuel increase and stayed forever. Most importantly, if there is one thing we have learned in the last 2 years it’s that nothing is guaranteed. The idea that “Paris will be there tomorrow”or “I’ll travel when I retire” is gone. Don’t forget March 2020 when countries shut down and travel was impossible. Bucket list vacations were put on hold or cancelled completely. Accidents and natural disasters also claim famous landmarks all the time. Notre Dame Cathedral is another perfect and tragic example. It is a landmark many people had on their bucket list prior to the devastating fire in 2019. Thankfully it can be rebuilt and will reopen in 2024 but that is still 5 years the Cathedral is not open to visitors. There are many more examples of landmarks and natural landforms that where here one day and gone the next.
So, Carpe Diem, Seize the day! You don’t have to travel today but Pick Your Day Today. Take the trip by planning it now. Planning ahead locks in today’s prices which will be the unheard of in 2024. Booking early also give you more time to pay off your vacation. Paying over an extended period of time is easier for the wallet and can make that Suite you’re dreaming about possible. Many of the promotional offers you see today can be used on reservations in 2023, 2024 and even 2025. An often overlooked reason to book early is the mental health benefits of looking forward to something. Simply referred to as the “Looking Forward Effect” happens when you have something positive that you are looking forward to. It has been proven to increase productivity, motivation, and increase a positive mindset. Instead of “I’ll go there someday” you say “This time next year I’ll be on a river cruise in Paris.” Then, in six months, three months, 30 days, next week, tomorrow, you’ll be in Paris.
Whatever your excuse, there’s a solution:
- Too expensive- Plan Earlier
- Single- There’s amazing travel for single, many that don’t require extra fees
- Mixed Interest: There’s something for everyone even if you and your travel companion have polar opposite interests (Ex. World Cruise)
- Don’t Know Where to Start: Call Me
In the last 6 months there have been countless articles and news reports stating that the best way to save money and have an amazing travel experience in today’s climate is to use a travel advisor. Save yourself time and money by using services of an experienced and knowledgable Travel Advisor.
I’m always ready to assist, however if you look elsewhere, make sure the agent your are working with has experience, training, certifications, and is part of a travel consortia. As in any profession, experience, knowledge and skill vary person to person. The huge boom in travel since the pandemic has inspired thousands to become a travel agent. Many of these inexperienced ‘agents’ are looking to make their fortune or score free travel. Experienced agents who weathered the pandemic have a unique perspective and wealth of knowledge to assist you and ensure you have an amazing travel experience. If your specific travel needs fall outside of my expertise, I have an amazing network of experienced agents who can assist. Carpe Diem & Bon Voyage!