In the world of travel, prices change second by second and deals come and go in a snap of your fingers. If you ever find a good deal, book it before it is gone, and then plan the rest later.
When I find a good price on flights, such as when I found round trip tickets from New York-JFK to Paris-CDG for under $300 round trip over winter vacation, my family booked them not knowing where we wanted to stay, or even if we wanted to go to Paris. With the dates and the flights we chose, we were then able to get tickets to the French Alps to go skiing. While we did not know if we wanted to go to Paris, by booking then and planning the trip later, we were able to cross the pond in a much more affordable manner than if we had waited. This was true for my family’s winter vacation last year as well. We were able to get four tickets from Washington-DCA to California-LAX to Australia-SYD for 40,000 points per ticket during peak season. Even though we did not have a return date to come back to the States, my family took advantage of the free airfare using a minimal number of points for overseas travel and booked the airline tickets immediately before they sold out. A day after we booked the trip to Australia, there was only one additional seat available at 40,000 points.
Another reason that you should book now and plan later is that most airlines in the US allow free changes to your flight within 24 hours. If you are at work and look up a flight during your lunch break that goes to the perfect destination, on the perfect date, for an amazing price (dollars or miles), and you cannot get ahold of the person with whom you plan to travel, just book it. Then, later in the day when you have the chance to talk to your travel companion, you can finalize your decision as to whether you want to go. If they don’t or can’t go, don’t sweat it, for flights in the United States, airlines will allow you to cancel your tickets if it’s done within 24 hours of purchase. So, if you are debating whether to go on a trip and the plane tickets are refundable, just lock in the price.
When my family books a Hilton property using points, we always just book it if we see a good price. Hilton will usually let you cancel the reservation if you need to switch dates or cancel altogether. When investigating hotel stays, make sure you select a fully fully refundable room. In addition, if the price of the hotel goes down, just give Hilton a call and they will be happy to refund you the difference in points. This requires you to be on your game and keep track of price changes. When my family flies Southwest, we frequently will book an inexpensive fare, but if the price goes down, we can very easily price adjust on the app FOR FREE.
There have been many times when my family has been ready to book a ticket or reservation, but has held-off for a brief period of time only to learn that the price had gone up with in 10 minutes’ time. During this brief amount of time, train tickets that we were trying to book from Paris to Belgium went up 25%. So, in summary, just book your tickets before the price goes up. Similar to the expression, “it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission,” it is easier to book now and plan later then plan now and book later.
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