As soon as you know where you are likely to go or, at least, the currency you are going to be using, keep one eye on the exchange rate. It will fluctuate throughout the year and peaking at popular vacation periods. Generally, you should look to change your money outside of the Summer, Winter and other public holidays to get the best deal for your dollars.
The minimum time you should leave to book your flights is 6 weeks. If you book less than 6 weeks in advance the plane is most likely already filling up and seats are in demand. The further you book in advance, the more flexibility you have and can shop around for the best deals. If you leave it too late, your options will be limited and more expensive.
On the other hand, you can get great deals if you wait until the last minute. This is only a good option for the spontaneous among us. There are deals to be taken advantage of that come available at the last minute. When hotels and airlines are desperate to rent out their rooms and book out their seats, there will be offers that pop up with very short notice. It does mean that you have less choice but the discounts could see you come out on top.
Everything is more expensive at the airport. Their obvious costs like food and water which can be unavoidable but when it comes to things like car rental and hotels, there are other options. Car rental especially, paying for a local outlet in town as opposed to the first one you see (at the airport usually) will save you hundreds of dollars on rental fees. All you need to do is find your way to the car rental outlet which is a little more inconvenient but the difference in cost is astounding.
This may seem obvious but when it comes to paying on your credit or debit card, it might give you a choice to pay in either the local currency or dollars. You should always opt to pay in the local currency. The exchange rate offered by your bank is usually more than fair and if you pay in dollars you never know how much you are going to be charged on top.
Check to see if your existing insurance includes travel insurance or as an added extra. This could be a way to protect yourself from the unexpected without incurring the full cost. Don’t be tempted to automatically take it out when you are booking a package vacation. It is smart to have travel insurance but it is most likely cheaper or at a higher standard elsewhere.
A fantastic option for families! All inclusive deals usually include your flights, hotels, any other transport and all of your food and drink in the resort. They may look more expensive at first, however, it will significantly reduce your spending while you are away. The only extra spending you will do is any activities outside the hotel. This is best suited for those who like to settle and relax in one place.
You never know what is going to happen on vacation. It is always good to have an emergency fund on you away from the rest of your money. Not too much that will make you a target but enough to get you out of a jam. Perhaps, a $100 bill tucked in your sock or underwear could make a huge difference if something were to happen.