Is the weather at home looking a little frightful? Are you day dreaming of a vacation to a tropical, warm weather destination? It's not wonder all inclusive resorts are so popular during the winter months... when it's cold outside, we want to escape!
However, winter travel brings it's own headaches - snow storms, flight delays and even cancellations can throw a huge wrench in your plans.
In fact, winter travel is so unique, I take a totally different approach when booking air for my clients.
Below are 3 mistakes that people make when booking winter flights. Are you guilty of any of these?
TOP 3 MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN BOOKING WINTER VACATIONS
mistake #1: not booking the first flight of the day
When traveling in the winter, our goal is to avoid any potential weather delays.
Anyone who has been stuck sitting at an airport knows ... when one flight is delayed, it can cause a domino effect to delay all of the subsequent flights that come after.
If one flight is late, that can cause a ripple effect for crew scheduling, gate slotting and even the availability for the plane itself.
Booking the first flight of the day helps avoid that issue. The first flight of the day is typically a fresh "reset" from the day before.
I don't love 5:00am flights either, but I will do it in the winter just to avoid any potential stacked-up delays!
mistake #2. Not paying attention to the connection city
When booking the air portion of my client's all inclusive vacation, I pay close attention to to the connection city. While none of us enjoy connecting flights, sometimes they are unavoidable.
A simple winter tip? Look at where your flights connect and try to avoid cold weather cities in the winter!
During the winter months, if you have a choice between connecting in Minneapolis or Atlanta, pick Atlanta! Warm weather cities are less impacted by weather during winter months.
This is a smart way to avoid any weather disasters.. hopefully this helps you avoid sitting on the tarmac while your flight is de-iced for the second (or third!) time.
mistake #3: not choosing a reliable airline
Ah... budget airlines. We love them when everything goes right, but what about when the proverbial s*&! hits the fan?
Some people may think "ah, the airline doesn't matter.. I'll fly anything if it's cheap!" Howver, I am here to burst that bubble.
Flying a budget airline during winter months can cause challenges IF that budget airline is not prepared.
Winter weather can equal scheduling issues. Airlines may need backup crew, backup planes, even backups on backups.
Typically, the budget airlines can't operate this way... they simply don't have the cash or staffing to be prepared for these types of changes.
Those cheap fares mean the airline is operating at razor thin margins - they simply can't afford to have backup crew or planes.
During the winter, I tend to focus on the most reliable airline, not the cheapest.
bonus: mistake #4: not buying reputable travel insurance
This is a must: Cancellation coverage is a no-brainer, but have you ever thought about trip interruption or trip delay coverage?
Trip Interruption and Trip Delay coverage cover you for exactly those things - if your trip is interrupted for some reason, or if your trip has a delayed start for some reason.
Did you know that if your flight is delayed or canceled due to weather, the airline is not obligated to do a gosh darn thing? That's right: If you encounter anything that is considered an "act of god" (including weather), the airline is not obligated to help you. This can impact you in many ways:
- If your flight is canceled due to weather and you're stuck in a connection city, the airline is not obligated to pay for a hotel or meals. Airport hotels and food are expensive - this can add up!
- If there is bad weather and your flight is diverted, the airline is not obligated to help you with a hotel or alternate transportation. You could miss your trip entirely with a string of bad-luck delays.
- If your flight is delayed or canceled due to weather and you miss the first day of your trip, the airline is not obligated to reimburse you for that missed night.
- Further, the hotel isn't obligated to refund you for any nights that you miss!
Insurance can provide coverage for all of the above, as long as you have the right policy.
Daily Limits for trip delay and trip interruption can vary, so this is a point where it pays to shop around.
For my clients, I pay close attention to these limits during the winter months.
BOOK YOUR TRAVEL WITH A PROFESSIONAL
This is why booking your all inclusive resort vacation with a professional travel advisor can be life changing -- we have been there, done that. We know the types of pitfalls to avoid and can help you maximize your precious vacation budget, both in terms of time and money!
Ready to get started on your next escape?