January generally brings a new round of sales: Travel sales.
The last-minute deals of years past are largely gone, swept away in the desire by businesses to book as much business as they can early in the year. For cruise lines, hoteliers, packagers, tour operators — and even airlines — this often means January deals.
Some of those special prices will apply only through spring. But others might be good far later in the year. Since you’ve already identified your free-travel spaces, you already know what works for you time-wise.
Now, you just need to prioritize your wish-list.
If you don’t have one, it’s time to make one. If you do, it’s probably time for an update.
I keep two lists, one for once-in-a-life trips (polar bear watching in the High Arctic) and other for that-could-be-fun places and return visits. (Colorado’s Broadmoor, Brussels). As you move places up and down your list, you’ll want to consider the following:
How much time do you need for a reasonable visit? (Five days in Paris or London is a decent little trip, but anything less than two weeks in China isn’t really worth it.)
- Are any of the places on your list at risk? The glaciers of Alaska are receding. Relations with Russia have been dicey; now might be the time for that visit to St. Petersburg. Is Myanmar becoming too popular, making it a now or never trip? Are you longing to go to Cuba during this historic change?
- What’s in recovery? During the Ebola crisis, even unaffected destinations far from the disease suffered tourism losses…meaning this could be a year for great deals.
- Are your traveling companions aging or, alternatively, about thinking about getting pregnant in the next few years? You might want to book that trekking trip while you know you can.
When the deals appear, you’re ready to pounce!