You survived the holidays. Now it’s time for a real vacation, and here’s the good news: The first few weeks after the New Year are a great time to snag some killer travel deals, says travel deals expert Johnny Jet.
“Not only is it cheaper, but all the resorts are going to be empty — you won’t have to fight for a beach or restaurant chair,” says Johnny Jet. (The other good window for travel deals is the week after Thanksgiving, he adds). “Everyone is offering huge discounts,” says Jet, whose site offers up-to-the-minute listings of post-New Year’s travel deals.
Caribbean Cruise Deals
One great option is a post-New Year’s Caribbean cruise — a quick search of Travelzoo shows affordable multiday cruises available in late January. If you’re a first-time cruise-goer, though, Johnny Jet recommends you book your trip through a cruise planner.
“They may not be the cheapest,” says Jet, “but if you tell them what you want — especially if you have kids or you don’t want to be surrounded by kids — they will tell you exactly what cruise to take.” Plus, a cruise planner can easily get you upgraded. Jet recommends Gelman Cruise Planners for help securing solid deals.
Cheap Vacation Packages
January is also a great time to look for huge discounts on travel packages, says Jet. Hawaii on your mind? Jet recommends checking out sites like Pleasant Holidays, which combine air and hotel deals into 1 vacation package.
For all-inclusive Caribbean vacation packages, try the sites like Apple Vacations, says Jet.
Meanwhile, the Vegas-bound, will want to check out Southwest’s Las Vegas deals. And Southwest offers solid Mexico vacation packages post-New Year’s as well.
If you’re seeking an affordable vacation package to Europe, Johnny recommends you check out the site Go-today.com, which offers discount vacations to Paris, London, Rome and more. Plus, don’t forget the airline sites, such as Delta and United to snag low fares to Europe, says Jet.
If you want to be really adventurous, try a blind travel bids site, such as BiddingForTravel.com. And for fare alerts, try Yapta.
How to Avoid Hidden Charges
If an all-inclusive travel deal you’re now eyeing sounds too good to be true, first thing’s first: Call the hotel and ask if they charge a resort fee, advises Jet. Hawaii and Vegas resorts, he adds, are notorious for tacking on resort fees.
As for the airline you take, see what their check-in and carryon bag policies are. In the case of JetBlue, the first checked bag is free. When it comes to Spirit Airlines, your carryon bag is free if you can squeeze it under your seat, but there’s a $100 charge if you place the bag overhead (yes, you read that right). Which is why, when Jet recently saw a Spirit Airlines “deal” between Vegas and LA for $39, he said thanks, but no thanks.
Finally, don’t forget your travel phone plan, says Jet. T-Mobile just rolled out free international data. And in the event the resort you’re staying at charges a Wi-Fi fee, it might be cheaper to bring a MiFi hotspot.