Travel Tips palm trees on a white sand beach

Published on June 13th, 2018 | by Crissandra Ayroso

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Travel Hacks: 5 Early Vacation Booking Secrets

Forget last minute, book early and save big on your next vacation. Read our travel hacks and learn the secrets that seasoned travellers have used to save thousands!   

What you need to know about scoring the best deal

One of the oldest travel myths in the book is that if you book your vacation at the last minute, you’ll get the best deal. The idea is that airlines scramble to fill up any empty seats on a plane at the last minute and drop prices in an attempt to fill every seat. In reality, it’s not unheard of, but it is a rare case. Airlines schedule flights strategically to meet demand and avoid empty seats accurately. So what’s the most important thing to remember when you’re planning your next all inclusive vacation? Book early.

Not only does booking your vacation early save you money with annual Early Booking Bonus deals, but you get dibs on the widest selection of availability. More importantly, you can rest assured that your spot in the sand is secured and that your summer is just a little bit longer now. So, forget last minute, book early, and read on to learn how to save big on your next vacation to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America!

 

1. Booking early saves you money

man and woman booking a vacation

Every year, tour operators like Air Canada Vacations, Transat, WestJet Vacations, and Sunwing Vacations release Early Booking Bonus deals to promote their winter vacations.

The idea is to offer a competitive incentive to help travellers find the best deals on the market. When you’ve got all the big players competing for your attention, you bet they’ll be pulling out all the stops to win you over. Early Booking Bonuses can range in deals from up to $1,000 off per couple, bonus reward miles, kids stay free programs, free airplane seat upgrades, to price drop guarantees, and more.

Tour operators start offering Early Booking Bonus deals in the summer months, between May and August, just early enough to start looking forward to an extended summer. Ask your Flight Centre Expert Traveller about Early Booking Bonuses and be sure you get one of these deals before everyone else! You’ll be glad you didn’t wait.

 

2. Travel during off-season

cabana on the beach
If the price of travelling during certain times of the year is at a premium, then when are the best times of year to travel to get the best price? If you’re flexible with your travel dates, skip the winter rush and travel during the off-season. Prices are significantly lower from November to mid-December so long as you book before the rest of the crowd. Save even more travelling during the low season by flying out on a weekday, which tends to be less expensive than flying out on the weekend.

 

3. Add value to your vacation with stay-and-play programs

friends drinking beer at the beach
When you’re considering what resort you want to stay at, take a look at resorts that have stay-at-one-play-at-all programs. These kinds of programs essentially allow guests to stay at one resort and use the amenities from neighbouring sister resorts for free.

Resorts like Sandals offer a generous Stay At One, Play At All program. It’s available only for their resorts in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Barbados, and St Lucia, but the program is worth making your travel arrangements around. If you’ve never stayed at a Sandals resort, think 5-stars, tropical settings, butler service, gourmet dining. In St. Lucia, there are three Sandals resorts – the Sandals Regency La Toc, Sandals Halcyon, and Sandals Grande Lucian. The La Toc has a 9-hole golf course and a beautiful half-mile crescent-shaped beach. The Grande Lucian has 27 fine dining restaurants to choose from and the Halcyon Beach Resort & Spa has its own scuba pool. Stay at the Lucian, do a round of golf at the La Toc, and relax for the rest of the day at the Halcyon – all at no extra cost. Plus, Sandals tosses in free transfers.

 

4. Be open to where you go

map and computer open to book travel
Not all inclusive vacation deals are created equal. All-inclusive vacation package deals to Cuba offer the best and least expensive deals, followed by Mexico, the Dominican, and Central America. Generally, the further south you travel the higher the price point. Save hundreds of dollars and enjoy a short plane ride down by keeping your vacation destination flexible. Wherever you do decide to go, it’ll be worth it, because an island paradise awaits.

 

5. Take advantage of kids-stay-free programs

family on a unicorn floatie at the beach
It’s as easy as it sounds. There are all-inclusive resorts all over the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America that offer free kids fares, as part of a kids-stay-free promotion. Families with young kids, generally 12 and younger, are eligible to participate. Family-friendly resort chains like the Riu, Iberostar, Dreams, and Beaches properties offer kids-stay-free programs, as long as there are two full-fare paying adults sharing the room. If you have kids over the age of 12, there are still savings to be made. While ‘free’ has a nicer ring to it, third and fourth passengers pay discounted fares at just about every all-inclusive resort. Keep these resorts at the top of your list while you plan your next family vacation and let the savings begin!

Ask your Expert Traveller for more information on resorts, as well as age restrictions, and applicable taxes and fees.

 

 

Earlybird sunseekers! Summer never has to end with our winter sun vacation early booking bonuses. Plan your tan now and thank us later with savings on all-inclusive vacations to your favourite destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. Call our Flight Centre Expert Travellers at 1-855-796-8359, Live Chat with us, or visit your closest Flight Centre store today. Book now and save a spot in the sand!

 

 

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About the Author

Crissandra Ayroso

Crissandra Ayroso is a copywriter for Flight Centre. She loves road trips, beach weather, sampling local wine. She, like Helen Hunt in the 1996 disaster-rama (that’s short for drama) Twister, is a tornado chaser, in the travel sense. She chases moments, all revealing. Whether it’s ordering room service and eating in bed, finding the highest rooftop for the best views of the surroundings, feeling like a small dot in the middle of the ocean on a boat, or getting lost and stumbling upon hidden gems, no moment is too big or small to chase. Just like the category F5 that brought Helen Hunt back together with her estranged husband, respected TV weatherman, Bill Paxton.



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