Booking a Package Vacation? Here’s What You Should Know

| October 24, 2013 | 17 Comments

Book your package holiday

Package holidays often seem like great deals, and for the savvy traveller, they can be. Before you book that package holiday, do your due diligence to make sure it really is the bargain it appears to be.

Always research the details of every package holiday – the flights, the resort, the weather in your destination at that time of year – before booking. The days of the last-minute deal are all but over; book your package holiday in advance to get the best price, and choose your dates wisely. Do your best to avoid extra airline fees, and take advantage of a travel rewards program to make your next trip even cheaper.

Read the Fine Print

Before you book that all-inclusive package holiday to a sunny destination abroad, read the fine print and do your research. Sometimes cheap package holidays are cheap for a very good reason. Maybe they use a disgusting, run-down one-star resort. Maybe you’re signing up for a series of connecting flights that could take two days to complete. Maybe it’s monsoon season where you’re going or the country is undergoing a violent revolution – you won’t know unless you do your research.

Before you book that package holiday, check the star ratings and reviews of the resort on multiple websites. Learn the flight details. Find out what weather conditions you can expect. Check for travel advisories.

Book in Advance

While lots of people like to book their vacations at the last possible minute to try and score the best rates, you’ll do just as well by planning ahead. Book your tickets about six weeks before your departure date to get the best rates.

Choose Your Dates Wisely

Naturally, you’re going to want to travel during the off-season – spring and autumn, usually. You should also consider travelling on less popular days of the week to get a lower price on your vacation – fewer people travel on Tuesdays in general, for example, so you can lower prices if you fly on that day as compared to, say, a Friday or a Sunday.

You should also avoid travelling to your destination when there’s a well-known festival or other event going on there. Unless your plan is to actually attend the festival, you’ll save money by not trying to travel to your destination at the same time as thousands and thousands of other people.

Dodge Check-In and Baggage Fees

These days airlines are charging extra for everything – check-in, baggage, you name it. Those extra fees can really add up, so try to eliminate as many of them as you can.

Does your airline charge a fee for standard check-in? If so, maybe checking in online before you arrive at the airport is an option – as a bonus, it’ll save you the time you’d otherwise spend standing in line.

Do your best to pack light for your trip. Some airlines charge for extra baggage, while others charge for any baggage at all. Packing only a carry-on will allow you to avoid those unreasonable baggage fees, and allow you to check in for your flight online or at one of the airline’s self-service airport kiosks.

Take Advantage of Rewards Programs

Are someone else’s frequent travels making you jealous? Chances are they’re not rich, they’re just using a travel rewards program to get deeply discounted or even free trips. If you’re not in a travel rewards program, you’re missing out on the opportunity to earn rewards points that could save you money on car rentals, hotel rooms and plane tickets. Before you book your package vacation, look around for a travel rewards program that lets you maximize the points you’ll earn on travel bookings and everyday purchases.

Travel rewards points don’t last forever – they do have an expiration date. Begin planning your next holiday well in advance so you can take full advantage of the rewards points you’ve racked up.

Package holidays offer you the chance to get away from it all and score a discount on accommodations, car rentals and flights. Do your research to make sure that discount holiday package is as good as it sounds – book well in advance, choose your travel dates wisely, and avoid extra airline fees by checking in online and packing light. Don’t forget to sign up for a travel rewards program so you can make the most of the money you’ve spent on your package holiday – often, you’ll receive maximum rewards points for booking flights, hotels and car rentals together.

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Category: Living, Travel

About the Author ()

Lyne is happily married and has two teenagers: a 16 year old son and a 20 year old daughter. She is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. It has always been her dream to create a website dedicated just for Moms since her children were young. Thus, after 10 years, she finally accomplished it, and the Ottawa Mommy Club was born in May 2011. She is also the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the Mayor's City Builder Award. Author's website.

Comments (17)

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  1. Victoria Ess says:

    Great tips! I have also heard that the day/time of the week that you book can affect the price. For example, I think it is more expensive on weekends when most people have the time to sit down and book trips, whereas it is cheaper on certain weekdays.

  2. Lyne Proulx says:

    Yes, that is true Victoria as mentioned under Choose Your Dates Wisely. Even the time of day can affect some trips.

  3. Some great tips! The “read the fine print” is by far the most important! I have very little flexibility in the dates I can travel so the “choose your dates wisely” is a lot harder for me.

  4. What a great article! I love the tips you’ve shared, especially the travel rewards program…I travel at least twice a year and believe it or not, I am not a member of any program! Do you have any suggestions on good plans?

    • Lyne Proulx says:

      Kelly, most banks offer credit cards with travel rewards. I use the points on my credit card to redeem for flights or hotels. I also use points from my Air Miles Card and Aeroplan. Ideally use one card to get optimum points to use for your vacation:)

  5. Nolie says:

    We are changing our Disney plans based on prices and less expensive travel dates.

  6. we’ve had airmiles for years but they never amount to anything. we finally just got in with areoplan. I wish we had been saving points sooner

  7. Pam says:

    Being a non-traveler, I wasn’t aware of these tips. Someday, I hope to plan a trip with my family and these will be key to remember.

  8. Judy C (Cowan) says:

    Great tips and I agree that you really need to read the fine print. Package deals are great but you need to do your research!

  9. Suzanne G says:

    Thanks for all the great tips and not once have I ever thought to read the fine print. You are just so excited about taking a trip that you do not think about all the negatives that could happen.

  10. Brenda A says:

    I am a little nervous relying on anyone else to make travel arrangements. Flying into or out of the States makes me extra cautious. Figuring out if/how much airlines charge for bags etc really makes you buyer-beware!

  11. Dreena says:

    Thanks for all the travel tips! Also if you trave off-season, you’ll save even more.
    Cheers.

  12. jan says:

    we like to sometimes go ‘out of season’ as well. cheap and the resorts are not packed.

  13. David says:

    It is really great tips because some times booking a packages vacations will be a cost effective as well as easy which may keep you stress free and calm while your traveling.

  14. kathy downey says:

    The “read the fine print” is by far the most important tip to me

  15. Rosanna says:

    Another tip: research if your destination has an arrival or departure fee due at the airport. Then see if your package covers it!

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