Travel Hacks: 5 Early Vacation Booking Secrets

by Crissandra Ayroso
person on laptop holding a phone

Forget last-minute, book early and save big on your next vacation. As Canadians look forward to the world of travelling up again, it’s the perfect time to plan ahead. Read our travel hacks and learn the secrets that seasoned travellers have used to save thousands!   

At a Glance:

  1. Don’t believe the myth about last-minute prices
  2. No-stress trip deposits
  3. Save money with Early Booking Bonuses
  4. You have more options… so choose wisely!
  5. Get a price drop guarantee

1. Don’t believe the myth about last-minute prices

map and computer open to book travel

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.

The added factor of all the pent-up demand for travel that’s been growing during the pandemic means that if you’re planning on rewarding yourself with a nice vacation once it’s safe to do so, you’ll want to book it ASAP. Other countries like the USA have been making great strides with vaccinations and are already booking up lots of hotel and flight spots.

2. No-stress trip deposits

man and woman booking a vacation

Before the pandemic, small trip deposits were popular among cruise lines and tour guides. Now, having the flexibility of trip deposits paired with free date changes is an even more common option, including for vacation packages. Still, it’s impossible to know for sure whether your favourite hotel, cruise, or tour company will continue to offer this option a year or two down the line.

So, as long as they’re around, take advantage of deposit payments while you can! Plus, you can book with extra peace of mind thanks to things like waived cancellation fees and travel insurance that provides for your needs.

3. Save money with Early Booking Bonuses

Every year, tour operators like Air Canada Vacations, Transat, and WestJet Vacations release Early Booking Bonus (EBB) 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.

As prices generally increase the closer you get to the travel dates, make sure to get your booking with deposit and payment in full by your EBB deadline, given to you by your agent at the time of booking. You can always just pay in full at time of booking, too.

4. You have more options… so choose wisely!

cabana on the beach

If you’ve ever tried to book a last-minute all-inclusive holiday, you know the drill: take your pick of barely discounted leftover packages to less desirable destinations and resorts. By booking early, vacationers have their pick of exactly where they want to go and precisely where they want to stay, down to a specific room category and exact seats on the plane.

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.

If there is a pitfall at all in getting your booking in early, it’s that your flight times are subject to change. If booking in June or even October for a spring package, tour operators only know what day of the week they will offer their flights to XYZ, but the actual flight times, that far out, are only an estimate and often change. Understanding (and accepting) this is key, along with the flexibility to roll with the airline’s punches.

5. Get a Price Drop Guarantee

friends drinking beer at the beach

Market conditions such as demand, the rate of exchange and the cost of fuel can all affect the cost of a package. Plus,  rates are sometimes adjusted to cover any unexpected cost increases to the tour operator throughout the year. Fuel surcharges, in particular, can drastically increase the cost of a flight and present an unpleasant surprise to those who’ve waited to get their booking in.

A drastic drop in our dollar can also instigate a price hike, as can poor demand by the travelling public, for whatever reason. To avoid unexpected price bumps and paying more than you should for your sun holiday, get your booking in 3 months in advance, if not much earlier. Then take your pick from Flight Centre’s Captain’s Packages, which can include a price drop guarantee should your trip decrease in price before you take off.

Sure, the monetary incentives are nice, but if you value peace of mind at all, the relief of booking your family vacation in advance is priceless.

Sunseekers! Plan your tan now and thank us later with the perfect all-inclusive vacation to your favourite destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. Book now and save your spot in the sand!


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