Planning to Travel in 2014? Yes, It's Time to Start Planning

Victoria's Travel TidBitZ:

Plan NOW to Travel LATER!

Does the Early Bird Still Get the Worm?

It's still very early in the year and maybe you're still recuperating from the holidays and don't really want to think about making travel plans for 2014 yet (or maybe you already have?) Well, we all operate differently and have different comfort levels, but my advice to you would be to start NOW. In other words, yes, the early bird does still get the worm!

Sure, there was a time when you could wait until the last minute and get super bargain airfares and deals (and some still do). There was a time when you could just show up and get a room at your hotel or motel of choice (and some still do). But, more often than not, it can be a gamble and do you want to gamble (except perhaps in Vegas) on your vacation plans?

Sure I remember the good ol' days... I remember when very few of us made reservations. We could just show up and get a room...unless... there's a special local event. I remember that happening once and the entire town was packed, sold out, booked...not a fun night, but a valuable learning experience!

Now, I know there are still last minute deals and bargains to be found but you need to: (1) have the time and ability to search for them on a frequent basis (since timing is everything); (2) be very flexible with your travel timing and even your destination, and; (3) know that you may not get exactly what you want. This works for some, but not for most of us.

Needless to say, the internet and the ability to browse, compare, choose, book/reserve and even cancel is at our fingertips. Great, yes? Yes, I love it. But, remember everyone has internet access now. And I do mean everyone! So while you're reading about a bed & breakfast that sounds perfect, since it's on several booking engines including Trip Advisor, there could be hundreds of others reading about it, too. And, while you're deciding whether to book it or not, you can literally see those last 2 rooms disappear in seconds. Then, back to the drawing board...frustrating and time consuming...

Ah, so here's the rub - bookings can be held, often up to 72 hours before the date of arrival, without putting down a deposit or incurring a penalty. Hence, many rooms are already "booked" and popular accommodations "sold out" pretty far in advance. In addition, it's possible to hold multiple bookings while you continue to "shop" (yes, guilty as charged).

Of course, this isn't the case with airline travel. That has become tighter and more restricted with significant change penalties and a cancellation policy as long as your arm.

So, what to do? If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Plan NOW, especially if you're headed to popular destinations during popular time periods. If you're joining a cruise or tour you know exactly when and where you need to be - get it done. If you're on your own, you may have a little more flexibility but, in today's environment (with a very volatile airline industry), my advice is always to take care of it and get your flight schedule locked in as soon as you can. The odds of the fare going down is minimal or less - actually it's more likely to increase and the itinerary options to decrease.

Why chance it? Besides, once you have the framework of your trip done, you can focus on the fun part of planning your vacation! And please, before you click on that final button to reserve or buy, whatever you do, be sure to read the Reservation and Cancellation Policies carefully!

Everyone may not agree with my philosophy and strategy, but I've rarely been disappointed and when I have "waited" I've usually regretted it.

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