Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee 6/27/09

Good morning everyone. My Saturday started a little earlier than usual for me today for some reason. Maybe because Jaylee, my 5 year old niece, stayed with us last night and slept with her aunt Lindsey in our bed. The other bed in our house is actually the one I grew up with but I must have been a lot tougher back then because it makes my back hurt now. Boy, getting old stinks. Any way we have had a good time playing, making pizza, and lemonade.
Instead of talking about the 3rd cruise line in my little mini-series, Norwegian, I am going to put that off until one day next week. I want to spend today talking about what types of trips you will need to be thinking about now to get the best deals and availability as we head into late summer all the way through next spring. As with every thing I have dealt with so far in the travel business, the earlier you plan the better! I have this question presented to me on an almost weekly basis, "If I wait until right before I travel will I get a better deal?" My answer is always possibly, but I sure wouldn't risk it. Here is the short version, if there are any great last minute deals it is normally within 3 weeks of the travel date. 90% of the people I know have jobs and families, thus ruling out short notice vacations. My goal in life is to be young enough, free enough, and financially stable enough to be that kind of retiree one day. This doesn't even take into consideration that a lot of the most popular forms of travel sell-out. As far as the pricing goes during normal booking periods, it is always cheaper to book early. If possible up to a year in advance will net you the best deals. It is simple economics. Lets just use cruising for an example. The cruise lines look at their capacity 12 months before any sail date and see they have only booked 5% of the cabins on board. Well it only makes sense to put out to the public a rock bottom cruise rate, hoping to attract groups and buzz about the fare in general. It works, and now 8 months from sail date they have 60% of the cabins booked...guess what? Yep now the rates are creeping up, up, and up, all the way until the last couple weeks when they realize there are only 10 cabins left at which they put on that fire-sale that the rich retiree's, mentioned above, gobble up. I have seen this first hand with a large group I have cruising in Jan. 2010. I first held the space in Feb. and rates have gone up three times since then for a total of about $100 per person! Enough of the economics here are some things to think about going forward:

Fall Idea: New England foliage tour! We have several tour companies that have these tours. Most of them start in Boston and are from 7-9 days long. The best time to see the best color is from late Sept thru mid-Oct. Most go into Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Winter Idea: Snow skiing! Anywhere in the Rockies will do. Maybe Utah, Colorado, or Wyoming. The best season is Jan. thru March.

Spring Idea: Since a large majority of you have children and have to work around spring break Disney World is a great choice for our area! Usually in March the weather isn't unbearable yet and the crowds are smaller. One tip, try to avoid the week of Easter, it is one of Disney's busiest weeks of the year.

Summer Idea: Alaskan Cruise!! This is one of my must do before I die trips. I have never heard one bad word from anyone who has taken an Alaskan cruise. The season runs from late May thru early September and the best accommodations sell out quick. If this is a trip you want to take summer of 2010 you seriously need to call me now!

In closing, I will say due to 95% our geographic location the Caribbean and all its forms of travel are open year round. This is a good thing because winter rates are cheaper at resorts and cruise lines. Since we are situated so close to most every cruise port we can really take advantage of some great deals that normally begin after Labor Day weekend and run through mid-May.

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