James Gjaltema writes on travel for The Armchair Mayor News.
COLUMN — Summer is coming to a close and it’s time to get back into regular routines. For teachers and parents of school aged children, there may still be some uncertainty. One thing that is predictable is that every year prices for travel during Christmas Holidays and Spring Break are expensive. Planning ahead for trips is a good habit to get into.
Many people do not book early for various reasons and by the time they are ready to book, prices have gone up even higher and the selection is limited or sold out. Waiting for a last minute deal for peak travel times is not a good idea. Prices are determined by supply and demand. There are a limited number of seats on flights and as they get booked up the price goes up and of course there is higher demand during holiday times.
If you are flexible, you can plan ahead and try to take advantage of the times where the demand and prices are lower. Sometimes there are some amazing last minute deals on sun destinations, but it is still unpredictable and they are usually for departures leaving within a few days. Typically the best deals are early season (September to early December), late season (April to May) and just after the Christmas Season (early January). If you are able to drop everything and go with short notice, keep these times of year in mind.
Sometimes it is difficult to decide between going back to a place that you know and trying something new. My parents used to go to Hawaii every year, but eventually they changed their routine and started going to all-inclusive resorts to take advantage of the excellent value. During peak times, it could be worth trying something different to get more for your money. While most people are heading to Mexico and Hawaii, it could be a good time to go to Europe, Central America or Australia.
Many people do not travel routinely and when they do, they may not be getting the best bang for their buck. Often people look on-line for the best deal that they can find and book it without consulting a travel agent to look at the bigger picture. There is a misconception that travel agents cost more. The truth is that most travel consultants are able to get prices that are the same or better than what is on-line as well as providing personal service and offering suggestions and advice.
We all have routines that limit our ability to travel; school, work, meetings, etc. We should make long term travel planning part of our routine. By being aware of the big picture and planning ahead, we will be able to get better value for our travel dollars. I recommend discussing your travel goals with a travel professional; use them as a resource to compliment your internet research and work as a team. If you plan to travel during peak times, look for deals now before the prices go up.
Here are some trip ideas for peak travel times:
Christmas Holidays Dec. 20 to Jan.5
LA Cruise and stay $1099 (based on a family of 4)
Air from Vancouver, 3-night cruise, and 4 nights in Anaheim
Cancun All-Inclusive from Kelowna $1,717
7 Nights at Bellevue Beach Paradise
Costa Rica 9 Day small group guided trip $999
Includes accommodation and transportation. Visit hot springs, a volcano, cloud forest and spend time at the beach. Optional activities include: caving, rafting, rappelling, kayaking, surfing, hiking and horseback riding. Airfare from Kamloops $1,250
Spring Break March 14 to 29
Los Cabos All-Inclusive from Kelowna $1281
7 Nights at Posado Real $1281
Airfare from Kamloops to Sydney $1,800
2 Week Europe Package $3,500 per adult, $1,900 per child
Climb the Eiffel Tower, Ski the French Alps & Cruise the Mediterranean
Airfare from Kamloops, accommodation, car rental, tours, lift passes and 3-night cruise with a balcony stateroom included.
James Gjaltema is a founding member of the Kamloops Travel Club and a Flight Centre Associate who works from his home office. He can be reached at 250-879-0873 or through his web-site: http://www.flightcentreassociates.com/jamesgjaltema.