Destination selection is one of the most important aspects on making your trip affordable.
Welcome to Part 2 of Trip Planning. In this article we will explain our second step into planning our next vacation. Selecting our destination based on our rough budget by taking into consideration multiple factors that affect pricing.
Let’s quickly overview some major factors that affect pricing of our destination
- Time of year (Low or High Season)
- Length of Stay
- Special Events
- Arrival Day/Departure Day
Time of Year
Timing of your trip is crucial when selecting your destination. Low and High seasons play a huge role in their price due to the fluctuation of tourism. Depending on your destination, the low and high seasons might be reversed. For Example: If you are looking for a beach vacation, a colder time of year usually means the low season. Less tourists are willing to visit therefore pricing drops to incentivise travel. In the other hand, if you are looking to ski resorts, winter season tends to be the highest.
We need to learn what will work with our needs, just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean we should do it. Would you book a trip to enjoy the beaches of Barcelona in winter because it’s cheap? No, you wouldn’t.
Length of Stay
The length of your stay can vary your pricing, it is mostly due to airline fare conditions.
International travel is specifically affected by this. This is why you sometimes see a round trip ticket costing the same as a one way ticket. Fare conditions is something to keep in mind, but to keep within topic, we will explore that at a later time. From my own personal experience I have noticed that 7 days or less stays tend to be more expensive, while 7+ days tend to be cheaper.
Special Events and Holidays
If you want to avoid mark ups during peak travel, it is important to take this into consideration. Of course, some will affect more than others. But it is important to have that in mind. If you see a big difference from one day to the next in pricing, there may be an event going on. This is especially true for affected cities that thrive on tourism and conventions. Ie: Las Vegas. But even then, we must be aware that booking on long weekends and during special events may cause your price to be higher than usual. Christmas time and New Years is the most expensive time of the year to travel because of the increase traffic to see relatives. There are still ways to get around it but you need to be very wary on which dates to book. For Example: flying on the 25th of December tends to be cheaper. On the other hand, booking a trip out of the US during Thanksgiving weekend will most likely be cheaper.
Arrival and Departure Day
Back to airfare conditions, some cheaper fares have rules that you must spend a weekend at your destination for that price to be valid. Like stated earlier, we will look at fare conditions at another time. For the purpose of this series we will briefly overview arrival and departure days. Flying your out bound leg of the trip on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday usually results in the cheaper pricing. Flying your return in these days also lowers the pricing. Attempt to avoid Friday-Monday as these can seriously affect pricing. The best example for this is Las Vegas. A weekday trip could be $100USD round trip, while a Friday to Monday trip could be double. You will see this affect pricing in international flights but at a much lesser extent.
Now that we understand the major factors that fluctuate price, lets keep working on our Scenario that we started in Part 1 of this series.
Our conditions are
- Rough budget: $1800USD
- Length of trip: Minimum 4 Nights
- Weekend stay, Friday-Monday (This means we will be leaving on a Thursday)
- For 2 persons, $900USD Each
- Our Departure airport will be Los Angeles – LAX
We will do a quick Flight search based on this criteria using our good friend SkyScanner.
Click on the picture below to follow along the instructions and work with your scenario!
We were able to find a decent price, non-stop flights to Paris, France on November 14 to November 19. Thursday to Tuesday – 4 night stay for
$430ea on Norwegian or $576 on Delta/AirFrance
Our destination has been set for Paris, France!
We will use these flights for our scenario. Stay tuned for the next article where we will break down both flights and see what is a better option.