If you’ve ever tried to book a family vacation during spring break or other popular vacation times, you know that generally, you are going to end up paying more than you would at other times of the year. Since my wife and I work full-time and our kids attend local public schools, our best travel times occur when school isn’t in session, which just happens to be when most other people plan trips, too. This is known as peak season.
For example, we have taken family vacations to Disney in recent years during Spring Break and at Christmas, which are notoriously some of the busiest weeks of the year at Disney Parks. We’ve also planned a couple of NYC Spring Break trips and battled school groups and other families the entire trip (to be fair, NYC is always busy and always expensive).
Planning travel during peak seasons has its difficulties. Accommodations, airfare, car rentals, and other details that require advance planning are harder to come by because everyone wants to travel the same week as you. If you do find what you are looking for, chances are you will be paying a premium price to book your trip.
Here’s the reality of planning travel during peak season: You won’t find too many deals. I love to travel and spend much of my time writing about travel and finding deals, but they are hard to come by unless you are flexible on other aspects of your trip.
Travel: The Relationship between Time, Location and Price
When it comes to booking travel, there is a correlation between time, location, and price. How good a deal you find will depend on your flexibility with at least one or two of those criteria:
- If you are flexible on the time you want to travel and the location, you can find amazing deals.
- If you have a destination in mind, but are flexible with the time of year, you can find great deals, too.
- If you don’t care about the price, you can travel wherever and whenever you want.
- If you have your heart set on a destination and you have to travel specifically during a busy time of year (for that particular destination), you won’t have much say in how much money your trip will cost.
The Key to Finding Travel Deals: Flexibility
Honestly, the more flexible you are with your travel plans, the more likely you will find an incredible deal for your family. This may not work for everyone, but if you have a more flexible work schedule, you can really score some deals.
Maybe you homeschool your kids and don’t have to worry about kids missing school. If that’s the case, you could travel to a places like Disney, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head or the Outer Banks just after their peak seasons end and save tons of money. Same for traveling to places like ski towns during the summer. You also avoid the crowds you would face during peak season.
I’m not saying you can’t have a good vacation during peak season. We’ve had a blast on every single family trip and find ways of preparing for larger crowds. It’s not impossible to find deals during peak season, either. If you do enough searching and plan your trip early enough, you can still save money. It just takes more time and energy to find deals than it would be to book a trip for other times of the year. Regardless of your flexibility, it’s important to plan family travel (even if it’s more local and regional) into your schedule. Vacations have always been great bonding and learning experiences for our family.
What family adventures have you planned (or are planning) for this year?