The other day a friend forwarded me an email announcing what looked to be an excellent deal. “Ireland roundtrip for just $318!” it said.
I liked to die right there in my chair. For nearly two years I’ve been telling everyone how I long to visit the Emerald Isle.
But something told me not to spring on the deal right away. All deals merit a little scrutiny here and there, plus I wasn’t familiar with the site so wanted to ensure that the it was legit. Also, visiting Ireland, a country renown for its blistering cold, didn’t seem like the place I wanted to be in the dead of winter.
Click here to seven rules for saving on holiday travel >
After an hour of searching around, I had my answer: Visiting Ireland between November and February, the only months the roundtrip fare was available, would be stupid. The best time to go is in the fall, says the Times, and during the harsh winters many of tourist attractions, including the rolling hills I long to snap on my Diana, close down.
“You’re better off doing the trip right,” Zeke Miller, Business Insider’s politics reporter, responded to my venting the other night.
If you’re suffering from wanderlust and want to take a worthwhile trip, here’s how to do a cost versus benefit analysis of holiday travel deals:
Know when to go. At $318, an Ireland roundtrip fare is a steal, but not when it’s 34 degrees Farenheit and raining out. Many of the rural bed and breakfasts and restaurants are closed in the winter, so I would have booked the trip in haste and risked not having a place to stay. Always check when the deal applies to make sure it’s practical and “in-season.”
Determine which days you can fly. Though the rate applied for flights between November and February, on some days it was higher (around $400) than others, especially if I wanted to fly on the weekend. Always check to make sure that the days the deal is on suit your priorities.
Ask yourself if it can wait. Much like getting my BS-ing in check has helped me become a conscious spender, I had to get real and ask myself whether I really needed to go to Ireland right now. Yes I want to, but the trip will be more worth it when it’s done right. Ireland is better in the spring and fall when the rates are low, but the tourists haven’t descended. And of course, the bed and breakfasts will be open.