Your Summer Vacation
By Hilary Davidson
When planning a vacation, there are two main types of people: the Early Birds and the Last-Minuters. Both sides can make a strong argument for being able to get a good deal. But during the short summer season, when kids across the country are out of classes and everyone’s trying to book some downtime, the advantage goes to the Early Birds. “If you’re willing to be flexible -- including when you travel and where you’re going -- you’ll get the best deal by booking last-minute,” says Valarie D’Elia of the TV and radio program “Travel with Val.” “But this situation doesn’t apply to most families. You can’t take advantage of a last-minute deal on a cruise for two when you’re a family of four.”
Planning ahead pays off for early bird Ellen Neuborne. “We start in the spring, deciding what state we plan to explore. Then I order the guidebooks online and we all hit the Internet looking for fun things to do,” says the New York City-based mother of two. Last year, the family visited Texas. “We booked our air travel through an online site and saved some cash that way,” says Neuborne. “We also bought tickets to Six Flags online in advance rather than at the gate." So start your planning now -- and use these tips to get the biggest bang for your buck on your family’s summer vacation.