Do the dull days of winter have you dreaming of summer vacation? Here are smart ways to start saving for your summer vacation now, and tips on how to find deals that will make the most of your money.
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Realtors often ask homebuyers to make a list separating the “must-haves” from the “nice to haves” to identify where negotiations can be made. The same approach can be invaluable when planning your summer vacation.
Options are abundant when it comes to finding travel deals. The more flexible you are, the better your chances of scoring a major discount. However, there is a difference between a cheap price and value. If your heart is set on a spa or putting your way through a top-notch golf course, commit to finding the best price on the trip that will deliver what you seek. Much like buying a house, this list will serve as the guide for where you can make tradeoffs and find deals, while still delivering the experience that you want.
Establish Your Fixed Costs
The key to vacationing within your budget is determining what you can afford to spend and what your “fixed” expenses are, just as in any budget planning. Many vacation budgets are blown because people fail to account for all the costs, including getting to and from the airport, taxes and fees associated with car rental and resorts and tips for services.
Conduct initial research on basic flight and car rental prices using comparison tools, like Kayak, to review offers from various carriers and vendors, and experiment with the impact on different dates, models and pick-up and drop-off locations. Kayak even offers a handy table of all the potential fees you’ll face if you check a bag and allows you to include those costs into your quote for a true look at what you’ll spend to fly.
Determine Your Bottom Line
Once you have a basic understanding of the “going rate” for your destination, commit to that amount in your budget. That’s not to suggest that you shouldn’t find deals, but be realistic about what the vacation you want will potentially cost. Now, make it your mission to stay on top of fare wares and consider all the savings you can find as “icing on the cake.”
Sign up for customised alerts from your home airport at online travel sites and from airline websites. If you’re flexible on your destination, check out the “cheap flights map” on Skyscanner, which will show flight prices to a variety of locations on your preferred travel dates.
“Like” Facebook pages of your favourite travel sites, properties and airlines, and follow them on Twitter, too. Often, social media sites announce “flash sales,” and these discounts can result in significant savings.
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This story was originally published by Investopedia.