If you haven't sewn up your plans for this year's family vacation, time is running out. But there are still opportunities for travelers with the right flexibility and the right budget.
If you haven't sewn up your plans for this year's family vacation, time is running out. But there are still opportunities for travelers with the right flexibility and the right budget, said Kim Kellar, a senior travel associate with Cohasset Travel in Cohasset, Mass.
“The old (method) of waiting until the last minute for the better deal hasn't held true for some time,” said Kellar, citing rising fuel costs and, with them, rising airline fuel surcharges. “And it's definitely not proving true now.”
Holly Roberts, manager of Liberty Travel in Weymouth, Mass., said travelers who don't plan the trip several months in advance often fall prey to limited availabilities and high costs.
The key to securing the trip you want this close to the summer is flexibility in both time and destination.
For those looking for a fun-in-the-sun destination, hot spots – in Hawaii, for example - may already be booked solid. But one popular local alternative is taking a cruise from Boston to Bermuda.
Norwegian Cruise Lines offers a seven-day cruise out of Boston aboard its new Norwegian Dream ship. Both Roberts and Kellar recommend the trip, noting there are still a decent number of openings, some with fares as low as $599 per person. But be prepared for very limited availability on the more popular weeks.
For those looking to travel a little farther from home, cruises or trips to the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico are a good bet, according to Kellar.
“You've got the beach, it's easy to get to and there are lots of different educational things that can be done for families,” Kellar said. “Plus, the Mexican peso is a pretty good value versus the U.S. dollar.”
For those with their hearts set on a European vacation, Kellar said currency exchange rates virtually guarantee an expensive trip. But for those looking for just a taste of Europe, a Mediterranean cruise might be a less expensive alternative.
Kellar said that, while cruises don't give travelers as much time in a particular town or city, they allow for a bulk of meals and excursions to be paid for in U.S. dollars, minimizing the effect on the currency's weakness against the euro.
But whatever you do, the key is to act fast, according to Roberts.
“If it's less than 14 days before the trip, you're going to run into dealing with airline rules and the pricing is more,” Roberts said.
A.J. Bauer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.