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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Planning for a winter holiday

by Lili Mounce

I know, it's summer, it's hot, it's not even school yet (for most areas). Why on earth would I even begin planning for a winter vacation?

Because, we are planning our travel for a winter trip by air. And now is the time to book flights.
  • If using miles, there is still availability to travel for next to nothing. 
  • But also, if paying the fare, discounts have been out there on many airlines for a couple of weeks.
Now is also the time to book hotel rooms for winter.
  • I've been tracking the rates at various hotel/motel chains. There are discounts still available. But, rooms are beginning to book up. 
This is also a good time to begin conversations with family. Who is going where for the holidays? Who will host? Where will everyone stay? I like to get these things settled well in advance, so I can begin making my arrangements. By settling where the holidays will be spent:
  • We all can begin our travel plans early, and get a jump start on the rush. 
  • And as taking vacation time off from work is often on a first come, first served basis, now is the time to speak up, before the rest of the office puts in for their vacation time.
There's still quite a bit of time to adjust our budget, and acquire gift cards to help pay for a trip.
  • With several months lead time, travel expenses can be worked into a monthly savings program. I estimate our total costs, then divide by the months remaining until our travel. I ask myself, "can we swing that monthly amount?" If not, I look for ways to cut our travel spending and/or ways to decrease our regular spending, so we can divert funds from usual expenses into a travel fund.
  • For the gift cards, I know folks who answer surveys, participate in healthy living programs through their medical insurance and/or accumulate points through rewards credit cards. These folks get "paid" for their "work" in gift cards that can be applied to travel. I'll be converting points to gift cards through some frequent traveler programs, answering surveys, and cashing out our credit card reward dollars to spend on travel.
So, now is the time I think about a winter holiday away. I found flights using reward miles that will save us a bundle on travel. I booked a room at a discount of about 25% off what we've paid in the past. Now, just to count down the days! One more thing to check off my list.


  1. Sounds like fun, Lili. Any plans yet on where you would like to travel? I would like to see Italy someday, and England too. Until then I will dream big. :)

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Well, in my dream of dreams I'd like to go to northern Italy and Ireland. But for this winter, it'll just be California (gotta get into the sun in winter -- Seattle gloom can be brutal!) There's a site that has some good tips on home exchanges -- It sounds like an interesting idea, and something I'll look into further, when we're in the position to travel to Italy or Ireland. For now, California here I come, right back where I started from. . .I've found some excellent deals! Trying to see just how little we can spend for this trip.

      Thanks for commenting!

    2. Oh that sounds like fun, Lili! I hope you have a great time. :)

    3. Thanks, Belinda. I think the planning and waiting will be at least half of the fun. It'll be another trip on a budget, and I love that sort of challenge!


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