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Your Travel Questions | Money Part 1

Last week I asked all my family, friends, and clients what was their most wondered about travel questions. Some were one's I am going to have to research. Some questions were asked by several people. Some shock me that not everyone knows the answer. They were very good questions, not stupid questions, I just forget that I was practically raised traveling and I learned the answer as a child learns to speak. I received some really thoughtful questions from everyone that sent one, so I have decided to answer these questions here on our blog.

My first question is from Megan M., a young Mom and small business owner, who I have been friends with for years. Thank you, Megan, its a great question to start with because it has to do with...MONEY.

How far in advanced could something be booked and does it all have to be paid up front or can I make payments?

Let's take the easy part of the question first. How far in advance? Right now, I have the 2019 itineraries for most cruises and tours. I also have the itineraries for some out to 2020. Many vacations can be planned a year or more in advance. There are many good reasons why you should. Some tours, for example, know now that there is a big event they want to plan around so even though they may not have an exact itinerary, date, or pricing they are taking pre-sale deposits. We are making plans now to take a group tour like this to Germany to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau in 2020. This is a huge play about the last days of Christ with over 1,000 actors and 100's of live animals. It is produced once every 10 years. So you have to plan ahead for those types of once in a lifetime events. What you should really plan ahead for are any vacations that fall on Christmas, Thanksgiving, Spring Break, or any time that is special to you. Plan for these at least a year in advance and you will get the best selections in dates, events, reservations, rooms or cabin space, and prices (many suppliers have Best Price Guarantees). Lastly, you can put your vacation on a layaway plan.

What has to be paid for when? I think this is always the question people WANT to ask first, but for whatever reason they wait until all the quotes and details are done and then ask. It has a few answers and it depends on a few factors.

There are deposits, payments, and the all important FINAL payment. Every supplier is different (that is why you use us, to hash out the details) but, in general, you will put a deposit down (somewhere about $150-200 per person) on what ever package you have decided. Then if you have planned ahead six months or more you can pay whatever you want whenever you want as long as the FINAL payment is paid by the FINAL payment date. The longer the lead time, the smaller the payments. Otherwise known as Vaca Layaway.

The deposit may only be refundable for a certain amount of time, so make sure you ask the details. (Trip Insurance will be a future topic) Sometimes you will get a great deal on a package because the deposit IS NON-refundable, so ask. Most suppliers don't care about any other payments except the deposit and FINAL payment which is usually due 45 days before your trip. Most of the time with no more notice than what you received at the deposit six months before, you will have a totally cancelled vacation because you were one day past the dreaded FINAL payment date. When they say FINAL they mean FINAL! And sometimes because you didn't cancel on time you have lost any money you have paid. But just remember the FINAL and you are fine. We add all FINAL payment dates to our calendars to help you remember at least a week before.

Airfare is sort of an exception to the rule. It usually has to be paid in full at the time of booking. Airlines, if you don't already know, are NOT customer friendly. You want to fly, you buy. Period. This is where you use the credit card.

In next week's blog, I will tell you how to pay for Disney, Carnival Cruises, and use UpLift. Until then, schedule a travel consultation with me with our online booking calendar and receive a $25 credit on your next vacation. How many pina coladas is that?

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