Have you ever considered a non-Holiday holiday? With November, December, and January stuffed with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s, sometimes it doesn’t occur to people to take a break around this time.
But in the travel industry, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the week after New Year’s, are considered “dead weeks,” with a big drop in demand. And in the travel market, a drop in demand = a great time to grab a fantastic deal on a trip. So if you have some flexibility in your holiday plans — or better yet, if you have adventurous family members who would love an unusual way to spend this time together — then put me on the hunt for some fabulous last-minute bargains and pack your bags.
Go off-peak for bigger savings. The days right before and right after major holidays tend to be the busiest (and most expensive), so opt for off-peak and you can save considerably, sometimes 25-50% off.
Off-peak savings also apply to destinations, not just travel times. Consider this advice from Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations:
Cities that regularly host conventions can be good places to find last-minute hotel deals over the holidays. Sometimes you can find a last-minute deal in cities like Orlando or Las Vegas just because there are so many hotels to fill and no conventions going on (at this time of year).
And for beachside lounging, don’t limit yourself to Florida. Consider sandy (and cheaper) spots in other warm destinations along the Georgia and Texas coastlines, including towns like Tybee Island near Savannah and Galveston. Many hotel rooms in Galveston sell at or below $100 per night in November and December.
Consider a vacation rental. Especially at resorts, prices can be as steep as the slopes. If you’re willing to drive a few extra minutes, you can often rent a larger space for much cheaper. There are hot deals available on luxury apartments, homes, condos, and cottages. Other advantages: your own space, more room for larger families or groups, no noisy hotel patrons to keep you up. (For help scouting out the perfect space for your family or group, schedule a phone chat with me by replying to this email.)
Don’t rule out Europe for a pre- or post-holiday escape. TravelChannel.com author Valerie Connors says, “During the winter, roundtrip flights to Europe can be as much as 20% cheaper than during summer months, when hordes of travelers descend on popular European cities like Paris, London and Rome. In winter these same cities can be blissfully quiet, with short or no lines to enter major attractions like the Louvre or St. Peter's Basilica.” Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?
Don’t be afraid of traveling during the Holiday season — when you know where the deals are, the holidays can be better than ever!
Working with a Travel Professional is one of the best ways to get the most value on your dream vacation! I would love to help you plan your perfect getaway this Holiday season. Click this link to schedule a “Let’s Get Acquainted Session” with me today.
Almost all travelers have a Nightmare Luggage story. You spent a lot of money on a fancy brand-name bag that broke on the first leg of the trip. Or you skimped on the spending and got exactly what you paid for. Or the bag that you thought would be comfortable and versatile turned out to be neither as you dragged it over the cobblestones of Florence or humped it on aching shoulders through the crowded, narrow streets of Kathmandu.
Choosing the wrong luggage can waste precious travel time and energy and can cause a lot of aches and pains. Choosing the right luggage will free you up to enjoy your trip without any unnecessary aggravation. To help you pick the best possible bag for your next adventure — here are five simple questions you can ask yourself to help you decide which type of bag is best for you.
What are the baggage restrictions and limits of all the airlines I will be traveling with? Some countries have more restrictive guidelines that are more stringently enforced. Smaller airlines in Europe, for example, require smaller and lighter bags than in the US. Make sure you know what the requirements will be so you don’t get stuck having to pay hefty fines or finding new luggage at the last minute. I am always happy to answer your questions regarding airline baggage restrictions and will advise you on the requirements of all the airlines you will be flying with.
Am I an over-packer or a shopper? If you know that you tend to bring more than you need and buy when you get there, opt for an expandable bag as your carry-on, and slip in an empty, durable nylon bag to bring back new things with you. (Note: be prepared to pay any additional fees that might apply for additional bags, or if your bag becomes too large/heavy as a result of over-packing!)
How much attention do I want my luggage to get? Yes, sometimes it’s tempting to get the stand-out, fashion-forward luggage set in fuchsia — but if you’re heading to a destination that’s known for theft, sometimes the better option is to pick a suitcase that blends in with the crowd. There are always things you can do to help with identification — a colorful ribbon, a sticker, a unique tag — but if you don’t want your luggage to be a target for opportunistic thieves, just opt to keep it simple.
How much transferring will I be doing on this trip? Are you heading to one main location that will be your “home base” of travel operations? Or will you be constantly on the move from city to city, hopping trains, getting taxis, taking buses? Will someone be available to help you lift your bags if you need assistance (partner, children, tour assistant), or will you be the one fully responsible for handling your luggage at all times? The more you’ll be moving and hefting, the more you should aim for simple, lightweight, durable, and versatile. Pack only the essentials, and look for bags that offer more than one transport method — for example, a carry-on with hidden pull-out straps and can be transformed into a comfy backpack for hands-free movement.
And in that vein of questioning: Does my luggage match the type and terrain of the trip I’m taking? Wheeled suitcases are great — if you have lots of flat floors and smooth sidewalks along which to roll them. But after two days of lugging a heavy suitcase through bumpy streets, broken sidewalks, dirt paths, or up endless flights of stairs in old, gorgeous elevator-less buildings, you’ll be praying to the luggage gods for a simple backpack with padded shoulder straps.
The last thing you want to be focused on while you’re on the trip of a lifetime is some annoying, avoidable luggage irritation. With a little investigating and preparation before you pack up and head out, you can make sure your luggage fits seamlessly into your travel plans.
Ready to plan your dream vacation? Want an experienced Travel Advisor to advise you about the best luggage for your upcoming trip? I’ve got the knowledge and passion for great travel to help make this a year to remember. You can set up a consultation with me now by clicking here.
A Look At Some Incredible Hotels
In the air, under the sea, on the ice, in a tree: a look at some incredible hotels
Travel is meant to transport you — to other places, obviously, but also sometimes to other times, other worlds, other possibilities. These four utterly unique hotels are full of the magic, mystery, and wonder that travel embodies. These are places you might never want to leave!
The Taj Palace Resort, Lake Pichola, Rajasthan, India is for the person who’s ever wondered what it was like to see the world in the Golden Age of travel. This is the place (or palace) to get a glimpse of what it feels like to be royalty. Built in the middle of a lake, this huge marble resort features opulent 1930s rooms with intricately carved archways and rooms draped in sumptuous fabrics. You can dine al fresco with a view of the surrounding mountains and the warm lights of the shoreline, and then hop on a traditional sunset boat ride with your own personal oarsman.
If you’re a serious nature lover who also appreciates the finer things, then staying at one of the luxurious lodges on the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve will ignite your love of the natural world in a whole new way. Located in the mountainous jungles of Chile, not far from the Argentinian border, Huilo-Huilo features four main lodges on the property that are all intimately a part of the gorgeous natural surroundings — including one that’s built right into a mountain. Spacious rooms look out over lush green canopies, pristine rivers, and the bright, elaborate ecosystem of the Patagonia rainforest. Take advantage of spa facilities after a day of hiking and exploring, and enjoy 5-star meals that draw their inspiration from the surrounding jungle. Best of all, you get to be part of a sustainable tourist destination that’s committed to preservation and conservation of the world it inhabits.
The Ice Hotel® in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden, is a gorgeous, temporary palace of ice, located north of the Arctic Circle. Each year, the hotel commissions artists to create original masterwork rooms using snow and ice. Giant sculptures and huge vaulted rooms of carved snow surround fur-covered beds. Each room serves as a canvas for designers from all over the world. Get married in a church made entirely of ice, or spend a night watching the breathtaking aurora borealis from your room. But don’t wait too long: each Spring, the Ice Hotel® disappears.
If cold weather isn’t your thing and you’re more into sandy beaches and mind-blowingly clear waters, then your dream resort might just be Cocoa Island by COMO in the Maldives. This is a private island resort with 33 “overwater” suites. What that means is that you can literally walk out the door of your private villa and just slip into a warm turquoise lagoon for a swim. Each room has a personal terrace, with a view out onto the sea and of the sugar-white beaches nearby. Indulge in the holistic wellness treatments at the spa, take an incredible diving tour, and enjoy top-tier food prepared with a nod to the South Indian culinary influences.
What kind of places do you like to stay? If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind resort or hotel, I can help find a place that will totally transport you, for an experience you’ll remember forever! If you’re ready to dive in, you can get in touch with me by clicking here.
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