Why do Travel agencies and advisors exist in the internet age? We are needed now, more than ever. Even domestic destinations and cruises have constantly changing requirements and guidelines that travel professionals spend endless hours updating and communicating. The ultimate planning timeline varies by person, place, and experience, and we will always step up and make the most out of the best each destination has to offer and customize it just for you!
It does help to have some understanding of the planning timelines of the different places we book so you can help us maximize the value of your trip in cost and availability each step of the way. You'll still need our guidance when you begin pricing and I encourage you to reach out before you start navigating those waters, as they're quickly overwhelming. For some of you, it's best to jump straight to the process of securing an advisor. If you'd like to make a preliminary plan first, this page is for you.
Whether you're visiting Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Universal Orlando Resort or Universal Hollywood the timeline to help us maximize your planning is essentially the same. Pricing, packages and new availability tends to open up the summer of the year before. If you start planning with us prior to that time, we compare comparable availability and estimate the price increase, but it's when actual pricing comes out we are finally able to place a deposit and begin planning with the cost locked in.
Domestic theme parks base their pricing on two things:
- Travel seasons, which are not to be confused with calendar seasons. These seasons are determined by when children are in school, when festivals and celebrations occur, and any time where there is a significant surge or dramatic increase in attendance.
- And then there is a bit of dynamic pricing done day by day.
What all of this means is they will increase their base cost when more people are traveling for the season and again when more are traveling throughout the week, with weekends more expensive than weekdays and holidays much more expensive overall. Once you combine these options with the number of rooms, tickets, upgrades, and discount offers, you can easily take a wrong turn, which is why I recommend you partner with us when you begin pricing.
Planning ahead isn't something that will help change the pricing when visiting a theme park, so if you're a last-minute traveler it won't change if you book the week before or a year before. The exception can be when theme park tickets increase a few times a year, but it's scattered enough we don't recommend planning your timing around something that may or may not occur. What can change rapidly is availability, not only for the room you want but the park, restaurant, and experiences you want. For that reason, we recommend you begin the earliest date possible, just so we can help make the most magic happen for your trip. However, we book hundreds of last-minute trips every year and there is plenty of magic for everyone. It's really a matter of more choices. Planning ahead gives you more choices.
And if you do have the flexibility for your dates, if you homeschool or you're retired, if you're willing to take the kids out of school and you can travel away from the summer and the holidays, of course, you'll have more opportunities to save money. But don't be discouraged if you can't! Sometimes the season you can visit still has pockets of savings available. Any flexibility you bring to the table will be explored. Flexibility can give you more savings.
If you've ever booked airfare, you've experienced the type of pricing that exists when booking a cruise. Pricing changes in real-time, based on supply and demand. The further out you book, the better the pricing, at least most of the time. Occasionally, particularly for the lower-cost cruise lines, they will offer rock bottom pricing at the last minute to fill their ships. So, how do you know what to do? You ask your advisor if you're choosing a sailing that might fit this exception, but chances are if you're taking the time to read this article, you're not the type to jump on a last-minute quick sail on a party cruise. You're a planner! And I'm going to advise you to let us help you start planning as early as you can.
Truly dynamic pricing can have its quirks, too. There are times a better room has had fewer bookings so we can grab it for you for less than a smaller room in a less than ideal location, simply because more people have booked it.
Cruise lines tend to create tiered opportunities for access to experiences like cabana rentals, VIP services, specialty dining, and other options. The more you've sailed a particular line, the more likely you are to have increased access. And of course, if you book into higher-level suites and concierge, you also have the potential for early access. We'll let you know about all of this as we plan. Remember, we're you're advocates!
Book as early as you can. Keep in mind, more of a spend doesn't necessarily mean a better cabin, location or time to travel. Depend on your advisor heavily to advise you of your best choices. Planning ahead is key to maximizing value on cruises.
All Inclusives, Group Tours, and Beyond
And this, my friends, is where the consistently discernable patterns end and we are walking the journey hand in hand. There are definitely recurring offers and travel seasons all over the world. From Christmas markets in Europe to White Parties in Jamaica, from the Macy's parade in New York to the northern lights in an igloo, we begin with your dreams, combine it with our knowledge, research, and connections and create your trip of a lifetime. You can still bring two things to the table to increase what we can offer you in price and availability, and that's time and flexibility. Last-minute trips can be so much fun, and we love to book and plan them in a whirlwind of fun! But, did you know planning and anticipating can actually both extend your time of enjoyment and increase your fun when you're traveling? It's true! So inasmuch as it is possible, plan ahead and be flexible to help us make your trip amazing!