Last-Minute Vacation Bookings Up
Faced with uncertain economic times as well as demanding work and family schedules, Carolinas' travelers are increasingly booking their vacations at the last minute, according to AAA.
Some AAA Vacations branches report as much as half of all bookings as last-minute. While booking ahead typically saves money, many travelers prefer the flexibility of making last-minute decisions even for significant vacations such as Alaskan cruises.
"When you book at the last minute, you are certainly going against conventional travel wisdom that says for the best deals and the most options book early," said Claudia Collins, branch manager of the AAA Vacations office in Southern Pines. "While it is still true that booking ahead typically saves money -- particularly on air travel -- there are affordable travel options available on short notice that won't break the bank."
Alaska, Caribbean cruises, Cancun, Aruba and Jamaica are the most popular and feasible destinations for last-minute vacation bookings among travelers who have a passport, according to AAA Vacations. If you don't have a passport or are looking just for a drive-to vacation, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Disney World, the Outer Banks, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Savannah are top choices from the Carolinas.
"If you decide to book at the last minute, it is important to be aware that you might not get your first choice as it relates to hotels, cabin locations on a ship or airline schedules," Collins said. "Vacation insurance is important whether you book early or late."
While economic uncertainty is playing a significant role in the inclination of Carolinas travelers to opt for last-minute travel decisions, it is not all about the money. Other reasons for short-term decisions are uncertain schedules of children and other family members as well as demanding work schedules.
"The majority of people are still taking well-deserved vacations regardless of the economic news," Collins said. "These travelers know that there are many ways to take a rewarding vacation that is not too expensive if they are willing to adjust expectations here and there."
When booking at the last minute, consumers should consider the services of a travel agent who has access to a wealth of information and can confirm itineraries quickly.
"A real person rather than an Internet site can assist you with sifting through last-minute options," Collins said. "When booking at the last minute, you have to be quick to obtain the best deal, but you also need to know exactly what you are getting and if it is the right fit."
More like this story