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Planning summer travel? When to book to get bang for your buck – National | Globalnews.ca

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It may not be the first day of summer just yet, but Canadians are already feeling the heat and getting ready for summer holidays — and as more look to book a vacation, there may be ways to save on your next flight, hotel or other aspect of travel.

A report from Deloitte Canada last month suggested even amid ongoing economic pressures and relatively high costs, 77 per cent of Canadians are expected to spend even more on summer travel than last year.

Overall, consumers plan to spend an average of $2,405 on transportation and lodging costs for a major trip.

Chadd Andre, executive vice-president of Canadian travel agency Travel Centre, told Global News that when it comes to saving on those trips, there’s a “general rule of thumb” that to this day can still be followed.

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“The further out you can book, the better. And when you find something that fits your budget or is a relatively good deal, do not wait,” Andre said.

Andre added that part of this is due to dynamic pricing in the industry, including flights and hotels, and stable prices are a “question mark” because you can’t rely on the price you see one day remaining that low for long.


Click to play video: 'Travelling on a Budget this summer'


Travelling on a Budget this summer


Travel experts like Andre and Jennifer Weatherhead Harrington, founder of the online magazine Travel & Style, told Global News the best time to book can vary but it’s often recommended to do so at least two to three months before departure.


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But you can still sometimes find deals closer to, it just depends on what days you’re booking. For example, Weatherhead Harrington says you’ll see higher costs if you want to vacation on a long weekend.

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She suggested travelling midweek as it could be less busy, or avoiding days when events may be happening at your destination, so going when a Taylor Swift concert or music festival is taking place could mean higher costs due to the popularity.

As well, while people may not want to wake up early, booking the earliest flight time can help not only because the price may be lower but also for flexibility.

“If you do have a delay, you could possibly get on the next flight, just gives you a bit more flexibility and more options,” she said.

Another way to save? Staying in Canada and even hitting the road.

According to Andre, Travel Centre has seen customers showing demand for travel within Canada and with warmer than normal temperatures expected nationwide, it could be the right time for a staycation.

The Deloitte Canada travel outlook noted 74 per cent of Canadians plan to stay in the country this season.


Click to play video: 'Travel hot spots and tips ahead of March Break'


Travel hot spots and tips ahead of March Break


Canadians should also be sure to read the fine print on airfare as even if a basic fare looks like it’ll save you money, by the time you add on costs like choosing your seat or an extra bag, savings could be minimal.

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“Suddenly you’ve added two to three hundred dollars onto the ticket price that you thought was so cheap,” Weatherhead Harrington said.

Whether staying in Canada or travelling abroad, experts say to use the various forms of technology available to help with budgeting and finding the best fares, but also to consider using consultants, like travel agencies, who may be able to help find hidden fares or assist in the more complicated tasks, like booking group vacations.

“The world of travel is complex and it’s like an orchestrated symphony for a trip to go off unscathed or without any sort of hitches,” Andre said. “To have someone by your side to help you navigate any of those bumps in the road is certainly a value that a lot of Canadians still see.”

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