How far in advance can you plan?
Hey, if you want to save money it’s a good idea to plan in advance, as far as you can preferably. I’m not suggesting years but up to a year wouldn’t hurt. This gives you time for things like
Securing a good price on your flight and a choice seat
Prepare for contingencies (hey, things happen)
Locate and reserve a decent place to stay
Take advantage of sales that pop up from time to time.
Research the area so you have some idea of what things cost, what you want to see, what areas to avoid … you get the idea
Have you traveled by air before? How about overseas on a journey that lasted at least 10 hours? If you have then you are keenly aware that seating position is paramount. You don’t want to be in the middle on a long haul flight. And in my opinion, you definitely don’t want to sit in the middle of a configuration consisting of 5 or more seats for any length of time. The people who do, didn’t or couldn’t plan and got stuck in a passenger sandwich. The problem is armrest space and getting up if you need to. You’re basically confined for the duration. I on the other hand like to get up and walk around a bit during the flight. And, if I want to use the bathroom, I don’t have to wake someone up, crawl over anyone or keep interrupting the lives of those sitting on either side of me. I made the mistake of being the one near the middle once and I vow to not let that happen again. So, planning in advance allows you to get a good price and the seat you would like. An Isle seat, close to the bathroom.
Since you have the presence of mind to plan well in advance, contingencies will undoubtedly arise. For example, you decided early on to visit a particular place and your research uncovered something more interesting. Now, you have the time to modify your plan. Or, you reserved a room and found a better place to stay. Again, you can modify your itinerary. You may be planning to spend time in a country that on the surface appears to be a paradise. But, after you purchase your ticket, political demonstrations erupt and the State Department recommends avoiding the place. You may be the type that will go anyhow (like me) but if you’re not, you have options.
When you’re looking for a place to stay, my suggestion is to refrain from reserving the first place you see, unless you absolutely have to. As you research a place better options may appear. You may be looking at hotels and apartments are the way to go or perhaps even a campground. Who know? What if the place you’re renting at suddenly drops their prices? Think they’ll pass that savings on to you because you reserved early? Probably not. Of course, you have to gauge exactly when to rent or within an acceptable time-frame and experience will assist in this area but until that time arrives, my advice is don’t accept the first thing that comes along.
Are you a member of any travel sites, hotel chains or the like? You can set alerts for deals that may come up and perhaps, once you do this the sites may recognize a potential sale and send you a deal as your departure window shrinks.
Of course, things may change and screw up your plans anyhow but it rarely hurts to do a bit of planning in advance.
Oh and don’t forget to get set up at home. Like have someone watch your house and check the mail just for good measure.