Family Vacation Tips

How To Save $4500 On Your Next Family Vacation

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 22, 2013 2:38:00 PM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

Family Vacation Deals Book Early!...Simple, that's all there is to it.

That's the BIG secret.

You don't even have to read the rest of this blog now. If you do feel like reading or need more convincing...Let me "Splain" it to you Lucy...

Here at Vacationkids we always tell our parents, "Planning a vacation is JUST like plannning a family - you need to start working 9 months in get the best deals & prices" Parents understand and get a chuckle out of this line. If we tell them airline prices and hotel availability gets posted about 330 days in advance they won't remember. Tie this idea to the birth of their children or sex and it helps them remember how to save money.

Still  so many people we talk to are skeptical of our advice. They turn on their TV and see travel "experts" talking about LAST MINUTE deals. They read about vacation holiday deals, steals and sales. Obviously these folks are in the media...they MUST know more than some little online travel agency from Kunkletown, PA. Think Again!

This is a real life scenario that happened just this week in our little Kunkletown office. Sadly, it illustrates perfectly what we always try to tell our families time and time again...

The Ruggiero Family from Cleveland contacted us  back in Sept 2012 as soon as they got their new school calendar.  They asked us to put together a vacation package to take there three kids, ages 9, 6 & 4 to Mexico. They wanted to stay at the Sandos Caracol All Inclusive Resort in the Riviera Maya. They wanted to travel for 7 nights, departing March 30, 2013 for Spring Break. They asked for the shortest, nonstop flights as possible.  According to hotel rules, to fit their family of 5, they would need to stay in a junior suite.  We went ahead and put together their package which included:

  • Nonstop coach flights from Cleveland on Delta
  • roundtrip airport/hotel transportation
  • 7 nights Jr suite at the Sandos Caracol Resort
  • Includes all meals, snacks, drinks (alcoholic and non), hotel activities, kids club, waterpark, tips and taxes
  • Total price for the Ruggiero Family's Vacation - $5,953.00

The same week we confirmed the Ruggiero vacation, we got a call from their neighbors, the Phillips family. Their two girls ages 6 & 3 are inseparable from the Ruggerio kids. They wanted to plan the same vacation for their family. The Phillips family didn't need a junior suite to fit their family of 4. To economize, they asked for the exact same vacation package with a lower priced deluxe room instead.

  • Total price for the Phillips Family's Vacation - $5,109.00

When it came time for us to confirm the Phillips family, they balked and stalled. They heard on TV if they held out until it got closer, they would be able to snag a much better price. We explained how the travel industry works on the principles of supply and demand. Prices never go down as time gets closer to a high demand travel time Spring Break. We told them they had about as much a chance of snagging a cheaper price as their daughters had finding a real life pink unicorn in their back yard. Still the Phillips Family believed they would be the exception to the rule and they decided to wait.

Feb. 15, 2013...Our phone's our friends the Phillips Family. They are confident that now it's the perfect time to get their great last minute deal. So we get to work on their itinerary...

  • The non stop Delta flights are sold out - they will now need to connect planes in Atlanta which increases their travel time by 3 hours each way
  • Roundtrip airport Transportation
  • The deluxe rooms are all sold out. They have no choice but to upgrade to a Jr suite and pay that higher rate
  • Total price of their last minute deal - $9,672.00
  • A price INCREASE of $4,563.00!

After recovering from the intial shock, there was a great deal of disappointment and regret. Obviously the cost was prohibative and they had to tell their girls that they would not be going on vacation with their friends.

Now we appreciate that some families have schedules where they can't plan a week in advance let alone 9 months out. Despite this example there will still be the naysayers out there who have committment issues. In both these cases, travel insurance will protect your "ass-ets". 

Vacationkids HIGHLY recommends that all passengers are covered for medical care, Trip interruption and trip cancellation. Some travel insurance policies will allow you to "cancel for any reason". This means if you plan your vacation far in advance and something turns up, you can just cancel and get your money back. This way you can lock in low prices and not worry. Bear in mind you WILL "lose" the money you paid for your insurance because you are "using" your insurance. Even if you pay for additional insurance coverage, this expenditure is small compared to the overall savings you get by booking far in advance. 

If you STILL think prices may drop as time draws closer to departure, you can buy "price protection insurance". Generally this cost is about $50 per person. If you book far in advance and the price DOES drop prior to your departure, you are refunded the difference. It is up to the traveler to watch and monitor prices. Refunds are only issued on the EXACT same intinerary so flight classes, room categories, every piece of your trip must match exactly. Honestly, since we began Vacationkids in 2001, the only time we've ever seen this price match insurance pay out was with crisis situations like swine flu or post hurricanes.

So just to recap....How do you save over $4500 on your next vacation?

BOOK EARLY!!!!!! because we hate to disappoint our families!!!!

Topics: Affordable Family Vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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