The sun is out, and U.S. beaches are still open, but that doesn't mean it's too early to begin planning your winter vacation.
Apple Vacations consumer research indicates that due to pent up demand from years of cutting back, Americans are booking their winter vacations earlier than last year. Waiting for a last-minute deal could mean winter travelers may miss out on their first hotel choice, destination or date. Apple Vacations is offering these tips to help consumers save money on winter travel:
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1. Book an air and hotel package. Typically, companies that can package air and hotel together have more negotiating power, ensuring the lowest price possible.
2. Investigate travel protection. Apple Vacations' AVOK Plus with Best Price Guarantee offers a cancel for any reason policy. Apple's AVOK Plus insurance also protects travelers from price hikes and provides refunds if the price of a booked trip drops.
3. When researching, be sure to compare apples to apples. For example, is the vacation from Company A the same as Company B? Does it include hotel transfers? Taxes? Meals?
4. Whenever possible, book a nonstop flight. While the financial savings may be negligible, the costs to the environment are much less. Nearly half of the carbon emissions released by airplanes happen during takeoff and landing, so fewer stops mean a "greener" flight. It also means a quicker start to that winter vacation.
5. Go all-inclusive. Today's all-inclusives offer gourmet restaurants, premium brand drinks, fitness classes from certified professionals, all-day activities and nightly entertainment -- a far cry from the boring buffet lines of all-inclusives past. Secrets Resorts in Riviera Maya, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, for example, have a la carte French, Italian, seafood and tepanyaki restaurants included in its package price.
6. Look for packages that include extra values. For winter travel, hotels are offering free golf, free spa treatments, kids stay free and more. Travelers can save money on their vacation activities before they even arrive.