Vacation Planning Tips from Debbie Hudson

travel planning tipsNow that summer is over and fall is on the horizon, a lot of us have put our vacation planning skills to bed.  Our kids are back in school, fall decorations are starting to show up in the stores, and all of us seem to be busy and on a schedule.

But time passes by quickly, and before you know it, the holidays and school breaks will be upon us once again.  Time off will sneak up on us, and if we aren’t careful, we will have lost valuable vacation planning time!  …and losing valuable vacation time equates to losing money and maybe even opportunities!

Yes, it’s true.  Did you know that planning your vacation in advance, by months and sometimes even years, can help you save money and frustrations down the line?

Let’s look at a few advantages you can gain by planning out your family’s vacation ahead of time:

  1. First of all, get in touch with an authorized travel agent or vacation planner. One thing I have learned over the years is that using a travel agent makes my life a whole lot easier!Travel agents offer their services for free and often possess a vast knowledge of travel destinations, accommodations, and travel specials!  They help you plan out your itinerary, make hotel reservations, dining reservations, and can even arrange special celebrations.

    (As a side note, the media has recently brought to our attention several unscrupulous travel agents.  MMP Travel has addressed this issue and can help you avoid travel scams by following five simple tips.)

  2. Plan your vacation as far into the future as reasonably possible.Did you know that by planning your vacation in advance you can actually save money as well as snag coveted hotel accommodations, dining reservations, and experiences that often sell out?It’s true!  For example, airlines and sometimes cruise ships often charge less for flights and sailings purchased well in advance.  By purchasing your tickets sooner, you secure a cheaper airfare or cruise price.

    Another example is a Disney vacation.  Did you know that Disney has its own Visa card?  If you purchase a vacation package and pay for it using your Disney Visa, Chase and Disney will give you 0% financing for six months!  This makes planning a vacation to the most Magical Place on Earth easy and affordable for almost anyone.

    …and planning a vacation in advance not only amounts to cheaper travel fares and budgeting concerns, it also helps to secure the hotel accommodations your family may need, great food and dining reservations, and limited-space entertainment options!

    Again, let’s look at Disney as an example.  Disney often releases seasonal specials several months in advance of travel dates.  Promotions may include a free dining deal or a room discount offer.  If your family vacation is not planned ahead of time, you may miss out on discounts, promotions, or reservations at a resort you really wanted to experience.

    Did you also know that Disney opens up dining reservations to its coveted restaurants 180 days in advance?  By knowing when you are going to travel and planning out where you’d like to eat, you can secure a reservation to some of the most popular restaurants on Disney property.  Venues like Be Our Guest, Disney’s newest and most popular restaurant, normally sell out months ahead of time and can be very hard to get into on short notice.

    Entertainment options for your vacations also benefit from planning.  For example, if going on a cruise, shore excursions can normally be booked in advance.  This, in the same way as dining reservations, secures your family unique experiences that might ordinarily sell out or not be available to you closer to your travel dates.

  3. Use a Dream Vacation Registry!MMP Travel is the first travel agency in the industry to offer travelers a vacation “registry.”  What this means is that you can now REGISTER for your family’s vacation!

This new registry acts much like a traditional wedding registry.  However, instead of registering for specific, individual gifts, you now register for your dream vacation!

The great thing about using this new and innovative service is that it allows you to plan, budget, and travel to the destination of your dreams.

Here’s how it works — plan your family’s dream vacation destination.  Then visit MMP Travel’s website (see the link above) and register your dream vacation on their website and registry.  Once planned and registered, share with family and friends.  That’s it!  MMP Travel will handle the rest for you.

Not only can this registry help you budget for your trip, but it also allows family and friends to donate to your dream.

MMP Travel’s Dream Vacation Registry is great for honeymoon trips, college graduations, special occasions, and even annual family vacations.  Planning in advance gives your family and friends the option of helping you travel to a destination once thought unaffordable!

So there you have it.  Planning out a vacation is as easy as 1-2-3, and when you plan in advance, you are saving your family time, money, and last-minute vacationing frustrations.  Vacation PLANNING sets up your family’s adventures and lets the memory making begin!

Debbie Hudson is a Travel Agent with MMP Travel.  She keeps busy in North Forsyth raising two teenage boys along with a host of animals; working part-time as a Disney Store Cast Member at the North Georgia Premium Outlets; and serving as a Haw Creek Elementary school employee.  She and her boys volunteer for the Forsyth County Humane Society, where they serve as a Foster Home.  Debbie also owns and runs three websites – Day Late Dollar Short, The Coffee Blog, and Teen Disney.

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  1. What great tips! I never heard of a Vacation Registry. Sounds perfect for upcoming graduations.

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