How far in advance do you plan your travel?

September 19, 2013

Planning, Travel Tips

Relaxing on Vacation

We just got back from our last planned vacation for the year but as this travel addict goes, I’m already researching ideas for next year’s travel. I goofed up pretty bad this year with my husband’s vacation time (you can read about it here but know that he has forgiven me!) so I figured I better get a head start. This got me thinking about my friends, family and readers plans and so I’m wondering, how far in advance do you plan your travel?

Now that my daughter is in preschool I am feeling the pressure to vacation during “normal” breaks. I mean, it’s only preschool for heaven’s sake but it is still school. Last week while we were in Texas her class learned the letter F – what will I do if she never learns the letter F??? So I’m in that internal debate and looking at Spring Break in March and right when school ends for vacation possibilities. I have come up with several options. Of course I am only at the beginning stages of getting suggestions (travel with kids to me is easy if you go somewhere someone has already recommended!) so I still have a lot to do and may give in to missing school versus learning another letter.

I think money also comes into play here too. If we travel at the same time as everyone else, prices will be much more expensive. Did I mention I hate crowds? Also, if I book anything now for March,  I imagine I will have to put a deposit down or pay for plane tickets, etc. In all honesty, the travel money we have left for the year I’m saving for those “extras” that will come up… you didn’t think I actually would have my last trip for the year be in September?

I recently attended a twitter party with Traveling Moms and it was about spontaneous travel. I struggled with answering a lot of questions like “what’s the best thing about spontaneous travel?” I’m such a Type A person that I plan EVERYTHING. I even plan our down time! How would I know what is so great about being spontaneous… or so I thought. I realized this week that I don’t actually plan everything in advance.

Throughout every year we always have trips that “come up.” My husband sometimes travels for work and I want to tag along. For example, next month he has to go to Massachusetts and I’m thinking Jolie and I will go see our old friends (friends, donations welcome!;). My parents also fly standby and so they never make their holiday plans until later than most normal parents. So we have no idea what we are doing for Thanksgiving or Christmakuh. I also have a 91-year-old grandmother in Connecticut that I adore more than anyone (shhh, don’t tell my husband or my mother!) and I’d like to see her for whatever holiday I don’t see my parents for.

Either way, I guess I do “plan” for the unplanned. Sometimes it’s a good thing to be such a planner as we were able to go to Maryland unexpectedly earlier this year for a death in the family (read about our day in Baltimore here /not about funerals, no worries). In the end I guess I wish I was more spontaneous but I am glad that even if my plan goes awry, which it always does with us, we always have a back-up plan… yes, I plan for that too.

So I’m curious, how far in advance do you plan your travel? Is it 3 weeks, 3 months, 6 months or more? Please share in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

Related Articles:
- Booking a Hotel Last Minute: How We Saved Money
- Saving to Travel: Our Savings So Far
- Who is the Trip Planner in your family?
- Planning a Staycation
- Tips on Planning Kids Activities while Traveling

 

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14 Responses to “How far in advance do you plan your travel?”

  1. Karen Dawkins Says:

    HAHA!!!! You are like a mini me. When my kids were Jolie’s age, I planned our travel well in advance down to the last detail. And that was before the internet! Now, there are times I plan travel the day of! The days go on the calendar as soon as I know about them, but I don’t select hotel or plan every event in advance like I used to. Part of that is the internet (great last minute hotel deals). Part of that is having kids old enough to contribute legitimate ideas. :)

    As to school, take her!!!! My daughter is in 3rd grade and I have pulled her out of school at least once a year to travel. This year, I’ll pull her three times. Jolie will catch up on the letter F! F is for Family Fun!

    Reply

    • Kiera Says:

      Ha ha Karen you are so right! I have been getting better about waiting on some of the bookings as you are right, some great deals happen last minute. I’m slightly scared for when Jolie gets older and can provide more legitimate ideas as she’s already so opinionated. Hmmm, I wonder where she gets that from! :)

      Reply

  2. Adam Sommer Says:

    We actually do alot of last minute trips! I’ll look at where hotels near us (4-6 hours away) in big cities are going cheap on Hotwire, and go.

    We once saw a Southwest Airlines commerical about new flights from STL to Minneapolis for $39….booked that day and left that weekend!

    But planned trips are fun too! I enjoy the planning process :)

    Reply

  3. Kim {Stuffed Suitcase} Says:

    As a fellow Type A’er, I plan well in advance. I enjoy the planning almost as much as the trip! I will start planning as soon as it’s decided we’re budgeting and going. So, right now we’re looking at taking a trip next May so I’m already researching. I would say my bookings and timelines vary greatly depending on the location of travel and when we’re traveling. Or airfare for May is already booked because we’re using points and those 25,000 point tickets are rare!
    As for taking the kids out of school, I actually blogged about that. We’ve been traveling during every school year since my oldest started preschool. She’s in 4th grade this year and will be traveling again during the school year. I’m thankful that both my girls are succeeding in school and I don’t worry about them missing an important lesson. Most teachers will give you work before you leave or after you return if you let them know in advance. Some have said not to worry about it and give me tips like, “read everyday, practice math facts”. I would rather work a little more at helping them stay up to date at school than deal with higher prices and crowds. In case you want to see my post it’s here (feel free to remove if you don’t want it posting :)! ) http://stuffedsuitcase.com/2013/05/take-kids-out-of-school-for-vacation/

    Reply

    • Kiera Says:

      Kim, my fellow Type A’er :) of course you can share your post here! I love it. I know it varies for each family but I agree that she could miss school and it really isn’t a big deal. Especially at this age. I think I’ve been feeling a little guilty because she missed one full week, went back for two and then missed another full week – and school JUST started and it’s her first experience with school. Ah well, better planning next year for me! I have to say, you are WAY ahead of me in that you’ve already booked your flights with miles – I’m going to look into it today and this weekend and hopefully will find a place that will work. Thank you for stopping by and providing your insight too!

      Reply

  4. Sharon Says:

    I love the planned trips but we do best on the last minute plans. Those are the kind where we end up seeing the coolest things. But I can’t wait till we can take our next big trip! But with scheduling – its tough to get them planned.

    Reply

  5. Amy Says:

    I am really not much of a planner. Mostly it happens in my mind… but that is about it. So I guess that is good and bad. We rarely travel as a family, but I do travel some when my parents visit, and I just tag along with them. So they plan the trip. This year though I am trying to plan a little so maybe we can do some sight seeing on the way.

    Reply

    • Kiera Says:

      Amy I wish I could relax more about planning! I know sometimes the best deals come last minute too! We rarely travel with my parents but wish we did more often – they always visit the best places lol! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

  6. Phil M Says:

    I heard that you should really buy your airline tickets as much in advance as possible because their price really starts to go up alot within a month of the flight, but it can go up even earlier than that?

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  7. amber whitehead Says:

    It seems like lately I’ve been more of a spur of the moment planner. Thanks for linking up at Tuesdays Travels.

    Reply

    • Kiera Says:

      Amber, that was me this last year too but if I don’t have another trip in the pipeline, I start to go a bit crazy! Love the link-up, thank YOU!

      Reply

  8. Elizabeth Towns Says:

    We always planned our travel time around church conferences and summer camp performances. Our church has a weeklong conference in the summer time that includes a kids conference and we plan one vacation around that; we also plan at least one vacation time around visiting our family in Michigan. I want to plan differently now, too, since my kids are older and I want to take them to other countries.

    Reply

  9. Lance | Trips By Lance Says:

    I’m a planner. I started my blog as a trip-planning business because I love planning trips. It slowly transitioned to a blog over the past year. Before I began blogging I’d obsess over our trips, planning all the restaurants, every little detail. Now with the blog I find we’re traveling a little more and it’s OK to not have all details planned. But to keep my desire to plan a trip before it happens I now write a post looking at what we’ll be doing on that trip. So I’m able to blog and trip plan, and not feel like I’m being too extreme about it, if that makes sense. I’ve always found that trip planning keeps you involved in the trip for months before it happens. I think it’s fun.

    Reply

    • Kiera Says:

      Lance that’s a great idea about writing a post when looking at trips! I think if I did that I would be writing all the time as so far this week I’ve researched Belize, North & South Carolina, London, Portugal… but I also work on trips for my brother that has a hipster blog so I’m involved in my own trips and his, except of course I don’t go on his trips;). I like your idea for my own trips and may have to follow in your footsteps!

      Reply

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