It’s not too late to get in some travel before 2021 comes to a close — and with these insider tips, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to take that vacation. To help you get the best deals for the tail end of the year, GOBankingRates asked travel agents to share their best advice for saving money on late summer, fall and winter travel in 2021.
Choose a Less Popular Destination
Due to the pandemic, some destinations are more of a hassle to travel to than others, but if you’re willing to take the extra steps, you can find inexpensive travel options.
“Destinations that are less popular are ones that are international and/or have a vaccine/COVID testing requirement,” said Lauren Doyle, president of The Travel Mechanic, a member of Ensemble Travel Group. “Harder-to-enter countries turn off other consumers, meaning if you are willing to go through the hoops, you can score yourself a deal and pretty awesome vacation.”
Research Flight Prices
“Since airfare is a huge part of the traveler’s budget, track flights from your departure city,” Doyle said.
Google Flights will show you whether the current price is high, low or average, so be on the lookout for flight price dips.
“If there is a city you want to travel to, buy the airfare when it is at a low,” Doyle said.
Book Travel for the Week Before Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving weekend is a very popular time to travel, so you’ll score much better deals the week before, particularly on trips to the Caribbean, Doyle said. Hurricane season is another good time to book travel to Caribbean destinations (if you’re willing to take the risk of some rain).
Or Book the Week Before Christmas
“I am finding great rates the week prior to Christmas,” said Sarah Kline, president of Time For Travel, a member of Ensemble Travel Group. “Since so many are still working virtually, why wait until the day after Christmas?”
Sign Up For Email Newsletters
Some of the best deals won’t be advertised publicly.
“If you know a specific hotel or cruise line you have been dreaming of, sign up for the email list to be notified about deals,” said Larissa Rolley, an international travel consultant with We Make Travel Easy.
Look For Last-Minute Deals
2021 is a unique time to travel, so if you’re feeling spontaneous, you can score great discounts.
“There is a lot of last-minute availability,” Rolley said. “Most destinations are far from capacity even if it is typically high season, and they welcome your visit. For example, I was just in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the annual dance festival was moved online and held virtually, so lots of Airbnbs and hotel rooms were still available. I have also been in French Polynesia a couple of times since the pandemic started, and it is even more of a paradise to be in Bora Bora without the throngs of people that would normally be there.”
Pay Attention To Cancellation Policies
If you see a good travel deal, book it even if you’re still on the fence about traveling right now — as long as there is a good cancellation policy in place.
“Many places are more flexible now,” said Becky Ginther, a travel agent with Castle Dreams Travel and owner of the blog Disney in your Day. “I book a lot of Disney World trips and their cancellation policy is very generous, so there’s really no reason not to book something if you can put down a small deposit. The main benefits to booking early are to lock in a cheaper price and the availability. (If you) wait too long, prices will go up or the hotel/resort you want to stay at will be full.”
Work With a Travel Advisor
For even more savings, go straight to the source and work with a professional.
“We have relationships with suppliers and we are aware of where the deals are and when you can take advantage of them,” Doyle said. “In addition, we can often get better rates than travelers can get on their own. And when you book with a travel advisor, you often get additional perks and amenities, whether it’s an upgrade or a free breakfast.”
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