Published on October 10th, 2018 | by Daniel Nikulin0
Why it Pays to Book Your Family Vacation in Advance
It might be difficult to wrap your head around booking your annual winter sun vacation while it’s still 30°C and feeling like the Caribbean where you are right now, but hear me out.
Anyone working with a very specific timeframe to get away, anyone set on a specific destination or resort, and anyone looking to travel over the holidays or their children’s school break should be booking their winter sun holiday today.
Ask any teacher who travels. In fact, the travel tendencies of teachers, and when that travel is booked, should be a guide for those planning to travel south with their kids. Even with their abundant vacation time, teachers are always left with the most expensive times of the year to get away – not unlike travelling families.
Over the years, teachers have adjusted their buying habits to score both the best deal (relatively), while also getting the destination and resort they are after. They do this by taking advantage of Early Booking Bonuses (EBBs). Booking early gives them a choice of virtually every destination and resort, and paying in full excludes them from any unforeseen price increases that can arise closer to departure.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these components and how they can help you with booking the perfect family vacation.
Early Booking Bonuses
Mid to late summer, tour operators such as Air Canada Vacations, WestJet Vacations, Transat Holidays and Sunwing release their new Fall-Winter-Spring brochures and product. This is a good time to pick up a few brochures, get the family together and start your planning.
Assuming you have settled on an exact week for your trip, this is a good time to decide on a destination. If you want guaranteed hot weather, look further south than Florida, the Bahamas or Cuba, where it can sometimes remain cool during a cold winter in Canada. Once you settle on a place, choose a few resorts your family would love – three, including a favourite, should suffice.
The start of the school year is a great time to get together with a travel agent to price your selections. Up until the end of October, rates offered will reflect an Early Booking Bonus or discount. During this time, tour operators take winter bookings with only a deposit – sometimes as low as $100, per person, with the balance due by the end of October (these deadlines vary between tour operators – ask your travel agent).
As prices generally increase in November for travel December through March, 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, of course.
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 seats on the plane.
If there is a pitfall in getting your booking in early, it’s that your flight times are subject to change. If booking in October for a March Break package, tour operators only know what day of the week they will offer their flights to XYZ on, but the actual flight times, that far out, are only an estimate, and often change. Understanding this is key, as is having the flexibility to roll with the airline’s punches.
As mentioned earlier, tour operators introduce their Fall–Winter–Spring sun product in the late summer, striking contracts with airlines, hotels and ground operators much earlier. At the time of print, brochure prices are often only an estimate and can change, even fluctuate.
Market conditions such as demand, the rate of exchange and the cost of fuel can all affect the cost of a package and 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 wait to get their booking in later rather than sooner.
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 facing unexpected price bumps and paying more than you have to for your winter sun holiday, get your booking in before the start of November.
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 paramount and priceless.
All set? Get your booking in early and save. Our winter sun holiday packages from across Canada are on sale now. Book online, visit us in-store or call us at 1877 967 5302 to get closer to your holiday today.