Summer vacation, a chance to get away from the daily grind, visit a new city or simply lie on the beach and watch the sun bake all those tourists covered in oil (to steal a line from Jimmy Buffett).
Although fewer Americans were expected to travel this summer, many of those with plans to take a vacation said they expected to spend more this year than last year, according to a survey by MMGY Global, a marketing firm specializing in travel and hospitality. It’s one thing if you have room in your budget to spend a little more on a trip this year. But, you don’t want to make mistakes while planning your vacation, and while you’re on vacation, that will increase your summer vacation costs.
You Travel at the Peak of Peak Season. Summer is the prime tourist season in many destinations. So if you take a vacation in the summer, and the majority of Americans do, you’ll likely pay peak-season rates. “There is a premium for going at the height of the season,” said Brian Ek, a travel analyst for Priceline.com. But rates can vary throughout the prime summer travel season, especially for accommodations. For example, you can get better lodging prices at beach locales in early June than later in the month or in July, which is the height of peak season, said Cheryl Rosner, founder and CEO of boutique and independent hotel booking site Stayful.
You Wait Too Long to Book Your Flight. Whether you’re indecisive about your travel plans or decide at the last minute to take a trip, booking a flight a few weeks (or days) before your departure will likely cost you a lot of money. Travelers who book their tickets less than 14 days in advance of a flight pay an average of $111 more, according to a study by CheapAir.com, a travel deals website. And travelers who book within seven days of a flight pay $174 more. The study recommends that you should buy your ticket during the “prime booking window,” which is one to four months before departure.
The best time to book a domestic flight to get the lowest fare in 2014 was 47 days in advance, according to the study. That’s an average, though. For flights to popular destinations during the peak season, such as the beach in the summer, you’ll likely get a better fare by booking even further in advance.
Until tomorrow: The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.