As it often happens, 2019 got off to a manic start for our family. Both my wife and I had a busy, stressful stretch at work. Our two-year-old decided to add to the excitement by having a bout of sleep regression.
On top of that, a very close family member came down with a serious illness. Fun times it was not.
As a result, one beautiful morning in May was massively spoiled by the sinking realization that we had made absolutely no plans for our summer holiday. The dreaded curse #8 of a highly paid professional has struck us yet again.
To make things even worse, I really can only take time off in August, when most of my clients and colleagues are also on holiday.
Panic ensued as we tried to find a reasonably priced hotel and flights for a family of three at the height of the school holiday season. Thankfully, I managed to use my BA status to get us some economy tickets to Greece (albeit at double the Avios).
And after endless research and multiple disappointments, my wife found us a great family-oriented hotel.
Even though we missed out on early-bird pricing and the best rooms, we were happy to avoid punching a massive hole right below the waterline of our budget.
Coming off that experience, I have decided to try something new and book our NEXT summer holiday by the end of September. That’s right, a full 10 months before take-off.
As it turns out, the benefits of planning and booking early can be tremendous.
Great Reward Flight Availability And Pricing
It’s only been a few weeks since BA released their flight calendar for next summer. As a result, there are tons of reward flights available – at great prices.
We locked in three round-trip tickets to Spain for just £94, 30k Avios and a BA Companion Voucher (that we would have not used otherwise). The market price of these flights on EasyJet or RyanAir? Definitely north of £1,000.
Who says you can’t build wealth with credit cards? It’s true that flight prices can get better over the next ten months. Reward flight availability won’t. Claim yours now.
Better, Cheaper Accommodation
Whether you are a large hotel chain or a retail vacation property landlord, you want as much certainty over your future cash flows as possible.
This is why you see so many hotels early booking discounts on offer. What’s best is that you often don’t need a deposit to secure your booking – just a credit card number will do. Oftentimes, you retain full cancellation privileges until your payment is due a few weeks before your trip.
If you have specific room preferences (i.e. seaview or high floor), these typically get honoured on a first-come, first-serve basis. Book early and you won’t have to live above the cafeteria for two weeks.
Avoid Holiday Scheduling Arguments At Work
Workplace arguments about vacation scheduling are a pointless waste of time. An effective way to avoid them is to tell people you’ve booked your holiday while they were still recovering from the previous one.
What’s better than sitting back and relaxing while your colleagues bicker about dividing up the remaining holiday calendar.
Lock In The Cost – And Budget For It
With flights and hotels out of the way, you will have a pretty good picture of how much your next summer holiday will cost. All you need to do now is divide that number by ten – and start putting that money away each month.
What If Your Boss Asked You To Do It?
In what I find to be one of the biggest mysteries of human behaviour, the vast majority of smart, educated, hard-working people work harder for their employers than they do for themselves.
Let me assure you – if your boss realized there was a way to save the company money by planning ahead for a major future expenditure, it would be on your to-do list before you knew it.
And let me also assure you that you would work hard and find the necessary time and effort to make it happen.
So why not apply the same logic and enthusiasm to your own finances?
You Will Go Away Anyway – Might As Well Get It Done
Procrastination might be a popular way of dealing with life, but it’s not an effective one. If you go on a summer holiday every year, then you will go on one next year.
Book it now, cross it off your list – and potentially save tons of money. And if you decide to vacation in Spain, we may even bump into each other!