The months that stretch from the winter holidays to Memorial Day offer some great opportunities for families and friends to get out of town and enjoy time together, but it may require a little research to maximize time and budget while awaiting summer vacation. Wondering how to pull it all together? Here are some tips to get you through your travels stress free.
Saving on airfare is huge, especially when traveling with the family. For flights, check out departure rates on weekdays—as weekend flights are in higher demand, you may find the rates to be lower on travel dates that are less popular. Delaying your return from a three day weekend or spring vacation week until Tuesday can save you a bundle. When you decide upon a destination, subscribe to Facebook pages, and sign up for e-mail and Twitter alerts from airlines that fly to your vacation destination, as many airlines offer discounts to their online followers.
Of course, flying is not the only way to go. Consider choosing a destination you can drive to; you will likely spend less than the cost of airfare for the family and you can pack what you want without baggage fees.
Make your accommodations work for you
Whether you are meeting up for a family reunion or celebrating with a group of your closest friends, you may want to consider booking and staying in a professionally managed vacation rental in order to take some of the stress out of the planning and organization of your trip. Vacation rentals are ideal for families and larger groups, especially around the holidays, because they offer amenities like kitchens in which to cook meals, multiple bedrooms, privacy and enough space to allow everyone to celebrate, all under one roof. Opting for professionally managed vacation rentals allows you to have the in-home conveniences of a rental property in addition to the hotel-like amenities of real-time booking, housekeeping and quality customer service. One site to check out is Wyndham Vacation Rentals— in addition to a selection of more than 100,000 properties, the professionally managed vacation rentals they offer come backed by their “Vacation Rental Bill of Rights,” which offers peace of mind and assistance from their customer service team.
If you fly, pack smart—having to wait around the baggage claim area for your luggage can be a real time-waster. One way to circumvent standing around that carousel or, in the worst-case scenario, dealing with filing a claim for lost luggage, is to travel with a carry on. With all of the TSA rules, it’s important to know what you can and can’t carry on an airplane. Always do a quick Internet search to ensure your bag meets your airline’s carry on requirements in terms of size and weight, and remember the 3-1-1 rule. All liquids must be in containers that are 3.4 ounces or under, and all must fit into a one-quart plastic bag, of which each passenger is allowed one.
Luggage is an area where vacation rentals can save you money. Washer and dryer units are generally standard in a vacation rental, so you can pack less and toss in a load of laundry when needed.
But if you do have bags that need to be checked, try using the outdoor bag checking service most airlines offer—the lines are usually shorter outside than they are at the counter in the airport. Remember to bring some cash so that you can tip the airline’s Sky Cap, and also keep in mind most airlines now charge a fee to check bags.
It’s all about the apps
Another simple time saver for travelers with smartphones is to download some useful apps. Many airlines now have apps that allow you to do things like book a flight, check in from your phone, view reservations, remind you of flight times and more. Some even have airport maps and currency converters for international travelers. If you are coordinating packing for your family, there are even apps that help you organize this prep work.
The Internet is your first stop for travel planning, but a simple Google search can provide an overwhelming amount of hits. In order to avoid wasting time sifting through individual rental websites in a particular city, take advantage of the Wyndham Vacation Rentals site, which allows you to explore multiple accommodations in the same area—this is a great way to narrow your options and tailor your vacation rental to your interests and availability. The brand’s site also allows you to book and pay online with confidence. Wyndham Vacation Rentals also provides a section on “last minute deals,” which are worth checking out if you’re planning on traveling this month.
This is a “sponsored post,” meaning the company who sponsored the article compensated me for writing the article. The opinions I have expressed, however, are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”