(BPT) - Have you been watching the snow pile up outside? Are the gray, cold days wearing you down and making you count the minutes until blue skies and sunshine are the norm? You’re not alone. As much fun as you can have sledding, building snowmen or donning a fashionable scarf, most people at this time of the year start dreaming of sun-filled beaches, flip-flops and shorts.
No wonder spring break is so popular.
Whether you want to bring your family along, get away with a few friends or explore some new, tropical destination, packing up and taking off on an unforgettable spring break vacation is easier and more affordable than you may think. From finding deals to getting there, here is your six-step guide to a perfect spring break.
1. Get everyone involved. Unless you’re planning a surprise vacation for someone, you want to be sure everyone who is going weighs in and has a say. This is especially important if you’re going on a family trip. Giving your kids the chance to participate in planning and decision-making can help them feel more invested in the trip. For example, while the adults might choose the destination and accommodations, let the kids pick a couple activities to book in advance. This will lead to a better experience for everyone.
2. Book early. We’ve all heard the mantra “earlier is better” and generally, that’s true for booking airfare. According to a recent report from Expedia and the Airlines Reporting Corporation, for travel originating in the U.S., you should aim to buy tickets at least 30 days in advance. In other words: You should probably book your spring vacation now.
3. Avoid peak travel times. If you have flexibility in terms of your travel dates, make sure you compare prices for different departure windows. Often spring break travel can have an impact on prices, and leaving a week or two earlier or later can save you money. The same applies for travel during and around the Easter holiday (April 1). Use a site like Expedia.com, which will compare rates from all airlines and often provide suggestions for alternate travel dates that yield lower fares.
4. Bundle to save. Always buy your plane ticket and hotel room together. Why? Because 1) it’s convenient and saves you time and 2) you can save some serious money when you do so. For instance, those who use the popular travel website Expedia to book their vacations save an average of $600 when they bundle their flights and hotel rooms together. Oftentimes, when going to popular resort destinations like Los Cabos or Riviera Maya, the savings are even better, so don't leave that money on the table.
5. Fly on the right day. As many savvy travelers know, it takes a multi-pronged approach to find the best deals. Along with booking early and bundling, when you travel plays a big role in the price you pay. According to the same report from Expedia and ARC, booking on a Sunday often yielded the lowest average ticket prices for both economy and premium travel. Furthermore, depending on the itinerary, travelers departing on Friday may score a lower price.
6. Pack only the essentials. The beautiful thing about a beach vacation is the ability to pack light. Buy your sunscreen once you get to your destination, and opt for flip-flops and lightweight clothing that will all fit in a carry-on bag. Not only will this make life easier when you go to and from the airport, but you’ll save on checked baggage fees as well.
An unforgettable spring break vacation for you and your family is more affordable than you think. So stop dreaming and start planning! Sunshine and sand are just a few clicks away!