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Mistakes people make when booking summer travel

With school holidays and extra sunshine, the months of June, July, and August become the peak tourism season for Americans.

It’s also the peak season for rookie travel mistakes. That’s why we asked travel experts to share common summer vacation misconceptions that tourists make.

From bad timing to lack of research, here are some summer travel errors—and some advice for avoiding them.

Picking Mega-Popular Destinations

“One of the biggest mistakes many people make when planning their summer vacation is going to super popular tourist destinations,” Claire Summers, the travel blogger behind Claire’s Itchy Feet, told HuffPost. “Personally, I look for up-and-coming destinations that aren’t so crowded and overpriced. One thing I love is using the ‘anywhere’ function on Skyscanner or Google Flights to get the best flight deals. to find and then takes it from there.

Of course, tourists flock to Paris, Rome, London, Las Vegas, Miami and other top destinations during the summer. But consider alternative options if you want to avoid the crowds and expensive accommodations.

“Instead of waiting in long lines, sweating it out in the 95-degree heat to see the Colosseum, try going a little off the beaten path,” said Willis Orlando, senior product operations specialist at Scott’s Cheap Flights. “Scandinavia makes a great alternative to summer. The weather is fresh, the crowds are few and the daylight is on.”

not enough research

An important aspect of enjoying a new destination—especially if it’s in a foreign country—is managing expectations.

“The most common mistake is assuming that everything is just like home, when in fact most tourists travel to experience something different,” said Alan Fayle, president of tourism management and associate dean of academic affairs at the university, Visited Orlando. of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

He said, “Complaints like these are common in the industry, with tourists often expressing wonder when in Spain, when Spanish food is served, when in France, when French is spoken and when in Florida, gators are actually present in the lakes.” are,” he said.

Research and due diligence minimize the chance for error or disappointment. While you don’t have to plan out every little detail, travel blogger Katie Mackintosh emphasizes getting at least a base-level understanding of what to expect at your destination.

“An example of this are travelers who travel to Europe during the peak summer season, only to be disappointed by the crowds, the expense and the traffic,” she told HuffPost. “For example, many Italians get their annual vacation in August at the same time and head to popular summer destinations. If you plan your trip around the same time, your vacation can be as dreamy as you imagined.” , can be more crowded and stressful than summer vacation.”

underestimating the heat

“Climate change is raising summer temperatures, and it will only get worse in the next years and decades,” said travel blogger and TV host La Carmina. “Last year, for example, Vancouver had a scorching heat dome and people had to stay indoors for days to make it happen. Many travelers do not take into account the unbearably high summer temperatures that now affect places like Spain, Italy and Arizona and when they are there, they are unable to move around or enjoy activities because of the heat. ,

He advised to choose destinations, activities and accommodation keeping in mind the climate. For example, if you’re booking a rental, make sure it has air conditioning. Also pack.

“I think a lot of people underestimate the heat when planning their summer trips,” said Stephanie B., a travel blogger and founder of the travel website Buena. “It’s easy to get caught up in the cute Instagrammable essentials, but then overlook the things you really need like sunblock, mosquito repellent, and inexpensive sunglasses that someone can steal in a busy city.”

too long wait for booking

“Don’t wait. I repeat: Don’t wait. There are wild deals right now,” said Ravi Roth, a travel expert and host of “The Gecation Travel Show.” “Find flight deals. Book now, cancel or change later!”

Given the popularity of summer travel, you’ll want to secure airfare, accommodation, and rental cars beforehand. Otherwise, you may lose out on the available options and end up paying a higher price.

“For trips to the nearest destinations, you will want to book your trip between one and four months, so now is the perfect time to search for those summer vacation flights,” said Naveen Ditkawi, CEO and Co-Founder. Flight Deals Website Next Wake. “Closer than a month and you will start to see those prices rise, or worse, they may sell out. However you can use the time in between to look at price trends and figure out where What’s a good price for your destination.”

Rising inflation and fuel costs are already affecting the air travel industry, and experts are predicting a hike in airfares.

“Booking now versus later can mean locking in better prices,” said Casey Brogan, a consumer travel specialist at Tripadvisor. “Waiting to book could mean you pay more.”

only considering the beaches

Instead of spending thousands on an East Coast beach house and sweating it out in the sand, consider the crisp mountain air, said Phil Dengler, co-founder of The Vacationer.

“It’s a mistake to consider traditional beach vacations only for summer travel,” he told HuffPost. “Everyone wants to go to Myrtle Beach or the Outer Banks during the summer, so I recommend considering other types of trips. If you love hiking, go to a traditional winter resort, which is located in Colorado or A state like Utah offers skiing. While you won’t be able to ski, there are countless mountains and other trails, as well as activities like mountain biking.”

If you opt for the beach route, pack your own sunscreen to avoid paying an exorbitant markup, and check to see if your hotel or rental offers complementary beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas. Or if you have to pay daily fee for them.

“In an entire week, you could end up paying hundreds of extra dollars for things you already covered,” Dengler said.

FS Productions via Getty Images

Consider trying a new summer experience, such as hiking (which is less crowded than the beach).

Booking for peak hours

“Booking summer travel during peak season is a huge mistake. This includes the Fourth of July to mid-August,” Dengler said.

Considering the crowd, he said airfare, accommodation and car rental prices are often at their highest during that time.

“Instead, you should book summer travel during shoulder season,” he said. “For the summer, shoulder season is a period where it’s still warm enough to enjoy the summer and the beach but where there are fewer crowds and prices are lower. For most places in the United States, it’s mid to late June. by the end of August and the second week of September. Many children in southern states go back to school in early August, which means there will be fewer holidays in popular summer destinations.”

Parksleepfly CEO Martin Jones advises against traveling to destinations during annual festivals and events if they are not the purpose of your trip.

“Make sure you check the calendar before booking, as these events can lead to price hikes and limit hotel availability,” he said. “If you’re not interested in events, consider booking alternate dates.”

missing travel benefits

“You should check to see what benefits your credit card travel offers,” Dengler said. “Even nontravel cards can have valuable benefits. For example, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers trip cancellation/interruption insurance, secondary rental car insurance, and travel and emergency assistance services.

Before raising travel charges, make sure you’re not missing out on discounts or doubling down on services you already have free access to.

Travel blogger Rocky Triffery also suggests applying for additional services that can ease the chaos of summer travel if you can swing it.

“The increase in volume translates into busy airports, longer lines, and a greater need to make advanced planning and reservations ahead of time,” Trifari told HuffPost. “If possible, I recommend applying for TSA PreCheck, Clear, Global Entry, and any other optional services to speed up how quickly and how quickly you can get to and from your travel destinations. How long does it take to get on and off – which is exactly where you want your time to go, not waiting in the airport.”

planning a stressful itinerary

“The mistake people often make is trying to squeeze out every top attraction and milestone and fill every minute of their time with activities,” Brogan said.

Thirty percent of US travelers polled in a January TripAdvisor survey said it is more important now than before the pandemic to “pack as many activities as possible” into their holiday travel.

“Obviously, travelers want to make the most of their vacation and make up for lost time,” Brogan said. “But it can be a daunting and exhausting task, not leaving time for spontaneity. Instead, try to book local tours and guided cultural activities – activities and tours where subject matter experts and professional guides allow travelers to sit back, Allows you to learn, relax and see all that an area has to offer. Enjoy all the top sites without any planning.”

First accommodation booking

“People lock in their dates by booking accommodations in advance, but you have little chance of getting a good flight deal,” Orlando said. “You’re penning yourself.”

He recommends opening up your options by starting with a broad idea, such as “I want to go to a beach destination” or “I want to go to Cancun, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica or the Bahamas.”

Then, find flight and hotel deals that fit the bill.

“If you have a large group, airfare can really add up, so keep your options open and snag good deals as you come along,” Orlando said. “Then evaluate your options for accommodation. Instead of, ‘I’m going to Paris from July 5-12,’ say, ‘I’m going to Europe sometime between the end of June and the beginning of August.’ It gives you more room to find something unexpected that will surprise you.”

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