Why You Should Book Your Travel Plans in January

In many parts of the country the weather has cooled off and everyone is curled up on the couch with a warm drink dreaming of sandy beaches and the sound of waves crashing on the shore. It may seem a little crazy to be planning your summer vacation when you can see the snow piling up outside but January is actually one of the best times of year to start planning your vacation. Many companies are running incentives and by booking early you will be able to reserve excursions and not miss out on the things that are most important to you. So we sat down with Emily, a travel agent from AAA, to understand why January is one of the best times to book your vacation.

Time to Research

With starting in January you are given plenty of time to research exactly what kind of trip you’d like to take. If you feel like jetting away to warmer temperatures you can determine whether that means the white sand beaches of the Cayman’s or the desserts of Arizona. Perhaps you aren’t a nature lover and would rather spend your time at a casino in Vegas.

Planning early also allows you to invite friends and compare schedules if needed. Last minute plans can make it difficult to include everyone who wants to go if they need to build up their PTO. When you plan early you have plenty of time to determine what trip will be most fulfilling for you and your travel buddies and proceed accordingly.

Once you have determined where you are going, you have ample time to research what you’d like to do when you get there. Many places have so many great things to do, you have to pick and choose what are the activities you want to do most and make them a priority. By starting your search in January you are able to determine and eventually book your top choices.

If you decide you’d like to use a travel agency, one of the benefits is they receive lots of feedback from previous customers on what the best attractions are and can help guide you in your decision making. By starting your planning early in January and can avoid the travel agencies busy season. Thus giving an agent plenty of time to devote their full attention to helping you research and check reviews on locations and activities.

Allows You to Budget

When you know you are getting ready for a trip, you can be sure to make a financial plan to save for anything you might want to purchase on vacation so that you don’t have to worry about money while trying to have a relaxing time. Extra time to organize means you won’t have to make drastic changes quickly just so you can afford that excursion you’ve been eyeing up. You can come up with a plan in advance so that you can enjoy your vacation without having to worry about money. Having the opportunity to save a little bit each month in advance helps to avoid racking up debt and being forced to pay off vacation bills long after the vacation has ended.

You Can Be Sure to Get the Vacation You Want

Certain types of vacations can fill up very quickly. If you are looking to book a cruise to Alaska, wait times can be as long as a year. But on average six months or more is usually plenty of time to secure your spot on any type of vacation. By booking in January, you are more likely to avoid not being able to reserve your dream vacation because of unavailability. According to the travel agent we spoke with, from the end of January up through March is the busiest time of year to schedule a trip. By booking yours early you can be sure to reserve the trip you want.

Excursion Availability

What is a vacation without the excursions? These memory makers are some of the times your family will be talking about for years to come. The only problem is that many people are interested in doing the same types of activities as you and your family so it is important to book them early. The recommended time frame to book an excursion is 60 to 90 days in advance. By booking your trip early in the year, you can be sure you have plenty of time to secure your spot within that time frame.

Disney Month

For many travel agencies, January is when they run their specials on trips to Disney. Companies like AAA, for example, offer special pricing on trips to Disney during the month of January that you can’t get any other time of the year. Who wouldn’t love a complimentary bottle of champagne or a gift card that can be used in the park to purchase that perfect souvenir? By booking in January you can make sure to reserve the magical vacation that you are looking for with plenty of time to buy those coveted Fast Passes so you don’t have to spend all day waiting in lines.

Protip: Even if you aren’t a member of AAA you can still take advantage of their travel agency discounts, including the ones they offer for Disney. If you are a member, all of their travel agency services are free.

Reduces Stress

Everyone has those times when they want to jump in the car or hop on a plane and escape from their everyday lives. As wonderful as that sounds, escaping is more enjoyable when money isn’t an issue, and other daily responsibilities like work and home are covered. By planning ahead you can enjoy your vacation and not return to twice as much work as when you left. By allocating a planning period early, you’ll decrease the likelihood of need to rush around at the last minute wondering if you got everything done that needed done.

If you know that you’d like to vacation sometime in the upcoming year, consider planning your vacation now. Make that daydream a reality, without breaking the bank, driving yourself crazy, or compromising on what you want. It may seem crazy to be booking this early but your wallet, blood pressure, and family will all thank you for it later.

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