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LEAVING ON A JET PLANE

By Ashley Stephens, 14 May, 2015
  • LEAVING ON A JET PLANE
With summer holidays fast approaching, vacation dreams are turning into plans. While it’s easy to let expensive prices or extensive research turn your cross-country trip into an at-home staycation, a few carefully considered details will allow you to travel abroad without cost or effort holding you back.
 
Cost can greatly influence where and when you travel, but there are several ways to ensure you’re paying the lowest price for your desired travel dates and making the most of your plans. Consider using a travel agent who can help you find the best deals and answer any travel-related questions. Many hotels, airlines and entertainment venues provide agents with discounted rates allowing them to offer packaged deals at cheaper prices.
 
Several websites offer tools for searching multiple airline fares at the same time based on your travel dates and destination, with many offering alerts to drops in prices on pre-selected flights. Travel site Kayak provides a unique service that allows searches by fare from your home airport – if you want to get away this summer but you’re not picky about where you go, picking your destination based on flight fares may leave you with more money to spend while you’re away.
 
While it may be tempting to wait for fares to drop, if you see a good deal, it’s best to book before prices go up and don’t go back down. Booking six weeks in advance of travel is said to be when fares drop below average. A study by Farecompare.com found that booking travel at 3 pm EST on a Tuesday was the best time to do so for travel within the U.S.
 
If your travel dates are flexible, airlines and hotels often offer last minute deals to fill empty seats and rooms. Sign up for alerts with your favourite travel sites so that you don’t miss out on any cost-saving offers. Similarly, stay connected to airlines and travel sites through social media as they often post flash sales for their followers. This is an easy way to find a deal to your preferred destination without stalking specific sites.
 
Don’t be afraid to book your return flight with a different airline or depart from a different airport – it may be cheaper to do so. If you’re looking to save money, the best times to travel are the low seasons of your destination. To get the most for your money without sacrificing all that your getaway has to offer, pick dates that fall just outside of your destination’s busy season.
 
Take into consideration peak days that might see busier airports and quickly-booked flights. Weekends are when most holiday travellers can get off work and will conseq-uently be busier days to travel. Consider leaving mid-week to avoid crowds and find lower fares; Wednesday’s are often the cheapest day to fly.
 
As school ends and summer vacation begins, family-friendly destinations see an increase in visitors. If you can avoid the rush by travelling several days before school’s out, it might save you some money as well as some stress. Similarly, the cheapest and least busy flights are most often overnight, first thing in the morning or during meal times. 
 
Picking the perfect flight doesn’t have to be stressful anymore and neither does packing your bag. Bringing the right bag and packing it properly can be essential to a happy holiday.
If you avoid checking any bags, you may also avoid big crowds at the luggage carousels and baggage fees.
 
It may seem daunting to pack a week’s worth of clothing into a standard carry-on, but the time it takes to pre-plan could save you much more time waiting at the airport instead of relaxing at your hotel. Choose clothes and colours that can mix and match, so that outfits are inter-changeable and can be re-worn in different ways.
 
The combination of folding and rolling clothing allows you to fit as much as possible into your luggage without radically wrinkling your garments. Always pack shoes on the bottom of your bag with heavier items, like sweaters or jeans, rolled next. Follow that with lighter rolled items, and finally folded clothing and toiletries.
 
While you may have picked your tropical getaway based on the promise of sunshine, it’s always worth double checking the weather report before you fill your suitcase with shorts and sandals. Rain would certainly put a damper on your sun tanning plans, but better to pack a jacket and be prepared for the fore-casted temps.
 
Preparing for a vacation may seem like a lot of work, but your preparation for take off will all be worth it when you touch down and begin your perfectly-planned holiday.

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