How to find the best price for summer vacations: Travel agents weigh in

Summer vacation is just days away, which also means college budgets play a major factor into traveling and destination choices. From handling flights to using a travel agent, there are several ways college students can manage their budget when planning a summer vacation.

Using a travel agent to book a packaged vacation can actually save a traveler some money.  “We have a lot of relationships with certain travel vendors and so we get great pricing,” said District Office Supervisor for AAA Travel Charlene Rouse.  “Sometimes we get better pricing than what you can go out and find on the internet because we might get some specials or discounts to use.”

In addition to the relationships AAA has with many resorts, they also match best prices and their travel agents can better inform you on the destination as well as additional information on the actual resorts.

“Online, you’re kind of guessing about where you’re going to stay and what it’s really like,” said Rouse.  “They are always going to show you the best picture of the property online.”

One major misconception is that booking a trip with a travel agent actually adds cost to your trip.  “Most people don’t understand how travel agents work,” said Travel Counselor Chris Hosty.  “They think it costs more and it doesn’t; truly they can save money by using a travel agent because we find the best price.”

Depending on the type of trip one is looking for, an all-inclusive vacation may be the most cost friendly since room, food and alcoholic drinks are often included in the price.

“If you are going to a destination that is concentrated with all inclusives, they are going to be as competitively priced as anybody else,” said Hosty.  “So if you’re picking some place that doesn’t have an all inclusive, the person should expect to spend an extra $75 a day per person for their food and drinks.”

While an all-inclusive trip may help save some money, summer travelers should know that there are no all-inclusive resorts in the United States, which would mean booking a flight.

“Some tricks I have found would be using,” said English major Trent Shepard.  “It compares all airfare sites at once.”

Booking a flight from the Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio may make for a slightly cheaper flight, depending on the destination desired. “In some destinations they have less expensive fares, but not always,” said Hosty.

While the Dayton International Airport at one time had cheaper airfares than the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, the pricing isn’t nearly as dramatic as it once was.

“I’ve read from multiple sources online that the best day to book a flight is exactly 21 days before the date of departure,” said Shepard.  According to Hosty as well, to get the best airfare a traveler would need to book at least three weeks prior to departure to ensure a seat at a good price.