Why book your vacation early? How to get the most value out of it.

TRAVEL TIP:  To get more value and gain deeper travel experiences with your next vacation, plan ahead. By doing so, you will go places you've only dreamed of, you will better afford it and the positive pre-vacation feelings start earlier.

Dear Venturer,

As Americans, we have a wealth of privileges compared to other countries, from the freedom to building dream homes, buying dream cars, and getting those dream jobs. We work hard for it. But, it’s mind boggling that we take less vacations than anyone else in world.

Why are you not taking your vacation?

Especially when we know a vacation is good for our health, it opens our eyes to new things and will return more productive to work, which makes the boss happy.  So, what’s holding you back?

No worries, we've been there. We understand your reasons that "Vacation is a luxury and I don’t have the money." Even, "I don’t have the time.”

But, I am here to tell you “balderdash!”

That is why I am going to share with you, how to work around the roadblocks and learn to have your cake, and travel too. Because, you deserve an extraordinary vacation every year.

1) "Commit" to what you are doing 8-12 months from now.
The most important thing is to commit ahead of time. I know it is uncomfortable to do that. But, I guarantee if you start doing that, you will find yourself happier for it (http://www.businessinsider.com/why-americans-should-take-their-vacation-days-2015-6) and discovering things you have never learned before in that country. When you commit ahead of time, there are tremendous benefits to gain before, during and after your trip. No, you won’t be able to go to your second cousin’s wedding, which you don’t know about yet. But, you will be started on an adventure of a lifetime to learn, grow and reap every reward that comes with it. Then, when you tell your boss in advance you want to take a vacation, he will be happy to give you the time.

2) Plan ahead and spread out the costs to get more value.
When planning trips, there are a lot of moving parts from hotels, transportation, guides, etc. And, most people forget to plan what experience they want, which takes time and thoughtful planning. If you wait too long, preferred resources become limited, costs increase and the experience part gets shuffled under the rug. Plus, Europeans are booking their vacations at least 8 months in advance, which means Americans are getting the seconds or thirds. By planning ahead, you are able to spread out costs for an unforgettable adventure to somewhere new. Here are a few tips:

  • Cost management
    • 8-12 months ahead, commit to where you are going (http://www.bonviage.com)  and reserve your trip with a small deposit. Start looking at airfares (see below about booking flights).
    • 6-8 months before, buy your airline ticket.
    • 4-6 months before, pay a partial for your trip.
    • 1-2 months before, pay your trip in full.
  • Accommodation: Internationally, preferred hotel rates are found 6-8 months in advance. In major cities like Paris, Madrid and Rome, if you wait 2-3 months prior, they can easily double and most likely your preferred places are gone. When getting off-the-beaten-path in smaller guest houses and refuges, availability becomes even more limited, and at times not available.
  • Airline tickets: Most of us have preferred methods and/or loyalty programs for buying airplane tickets. What I encourage you to do is reserve your trip as soon as you can to start looking at airfares. For international travel, it is recommended to buy airline tickets 3-11 months in advance. Prices start going up 90 days before the flight date but, I suggest buying at least 6-8 months in advance to spread out the cost and have peace of mind that things are in place. When you see a deal grab it, since it is unlikely the fare will go down. What’s important is commitment. And, not to play Russian roulette with your vacation plans.

3) Delayed gratification brings greater rewards.
Instant gratification is great for that triple chocolate cake at the nearby bakery but, when it comes to international travel and vacation, that is not going to work in your favor. Studies show that anticipating something good in the future is a significant part of what makes the activity pleasurable. Knowing you have something interesting planned will not only be fun when it arrives, but will significantly improve your mood. For myself, having a trip in the works gives me something extraordinary to look forward to in the future.

To get more value and deeper travel experiences out of your next vacation: commit, plan ahead and wait. Then, you will be returning in no time with a lifetime of memories, renewed energy and lots of stories to share with your family, friends and co-workers.

With gratitude,

Lesley Ames
Chief Venturer, BonViage

Register now for September 3–10, 2016. (Over Labor Day weekend.)

Explore Albania, Europe's best kept secret. For the adventurous traveler who enjoys eye opening encounters with nature and culture. From the cities of Kruja and Shkodra to the spectacular Drin Canyon by ferry. We will explore from Albania's cultural highlights to the most scenic mountain routes, trek through the impressive Valbona Valley and visit the Valley of Thethi and Albania’s best preserved alpine village. Learn more here. (http://www.bonviage.com/trips/albania-outdoor-adventure)

Register now for November 20–26, 2016

Travel and find happiness in colonial Cartagena and nearby countryside. Let's experience 7 reasons why Colombians are so happy, according to the happiness-index, during 7 days of slow traveling. After exploring charming colorful Cartagena we head inward to enjoy a 4-day peaceful, relaxed and adventurous stay amidst nature. Learn more here. 

Start talking to us today, for your Tuscan villa experience next spring 2017

Have you always wanted to experience "villa life" in Italy?. Now is the time to start thinking about that trip. Bring your family or friends. We are here to help guide you. Then, you can just sit back and smile. During the day, explore the treasures of Florence and Siena or visit historic hill towns and vineyards nearby. End each day, from our own private villa, watching the sunset behind the towers of San Gimignano. Learn more here. 


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