We have all read about the “best time to book a flight” or the “cheapest day to arrive or depart”. It may sound like a lot of bunk, but there is actually some truth behind these theories. With the budget trip planner, you will learn how to get the best rates possible and be ready for any other unforeseen details that may be in danger of slipping through the cracks.
ASAP | Book Hotel
The trick to booking a hotel room is to book as early as possible and then rebook if necessary. There are a few rules to follow to make this work in your favor.
- Be sure to find a rate you can live with as early as possible. Do your research and find a good hotel in the location you want and for a decent price.
- When you book the room, do not choose a nonrefundable deal. You want to pay when you arrive, this way if you find something better in the weeks or months before the trip, you can cancel the first reservation and rebook the superior deal.
- Check sites such as TripAdvisor for better deals sporadically in the coming weeks, and more often in the week leading up to the trip. A lot of times special deals arise.
- Booking your trip 3-5 days prior to departure can save you $15-$20 per night.
- Rates are usually lower if you book on a Friday and Saturday for any check-in day.
- Sunday check-ins are usually cheaper for domestic stays. Booking on Sunday or Tuesday is less expensive for International trips.
ASAP | Research Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is not necessary for every trip, but if you decide to get it, buying early will often qualify you for bonus coverage. Not sure if you need it? Check out this easy to understand guide to see if it’s worth it:
6-8 Weeks or ASAP | Apply for or Renew Your Passport
Passports are becoming more and more necessary to travel. It takes 6-8 weeks for standard processing of new or renewed passports. For more information on the passport application process, read the following article:United States Passport Requirements: Everything You Need Know
4-6 Weeks Prior | Foreign Travel Immunizations
Although they are usually only necessary for travel to the more remote parts of the world, it may be necessary to get foreign travel immunizations. Be sure to start the process 4-6 weeks before departure, in the event that you require more than one dosage or what you need is not readily available. This article on Foreign Travel Immunization Requirements will help you decide if it is necessary to get inoculated prior to your trip.
2-3 Weeks Prior | Book Flight
There are all kinds of theories on the best time, even down to the hour, to book a flight. Fares can fluctuate on average of 62 times over an 11 month period. Before you do anything, check out the seat maps of the flights you are considering. This will tell you how quickly the plane is filling up, what’s available, etc. Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know to book the cheapest flight possible:
- Book 2-3 weeks prior to your domestic trip, or 5-6 months prior to International flights, which don’t fluctuate as much.
- Best months to book: January, February and August.
- Best day of the week to book: Tuesdays.
- Best time of day to book: 3pm or 5am.
- Cheapest day to depart: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
- Cheapest times to fly out: Early morning or late night.
- Any trip with layovers will be more cost effective.
- Avoid booking from 7-10p. Rates are higher then.
- Use a fare tracker like the one on SkyScanner that will alert you to dropping rates the minute they occur. SkyScanner also has great deals on flights and an easy to use itinerary tool.
- Even when traveling in a group, buy tickets individually. It may be time-consuming, but airlines sometimes add a significant fee to group bookings.
- Flying out of a major airport will give you more budget friendly options.
- Avoid holidays
1 Week to 3 Days Prior | Pack
It is easy to start packing too early, forget what you put in your suitcase and then have to repack or end up with 20 pairs of socks and 2 pairs of underwear. On the other hand, you could be a last minute packer and forget some of the most important items like your favorite beanie for your upcoming ski trip. When you start one week to three days prior to your trip, you will have plenty of time to get everything in that you need and not forget what you packed a month ago. Use The Ultimate Travel Checkoff List and you will never be in danger of over or underpacking. Check out the weekend edition of The Ultimate Travel Checkoff List | Weekend Edition to save yourself some unneeded stress.
Summing It Up
With great timing and a little research, you can get the best deals possible and have an entire trip planned with little to no drama.