Sunday Savings Series: Know Before You Book

I’ve been dreaming of Disneyland… 

If 2020 and 2021 have taught me anything, it’s that we have no idea what tomorrow will bring. We can plan something down to the smallest detail, but then something will happen and all our planning goes out the window. (It looks like I’m in the mood for clichés today!) Many of us have had to cancel or change plans in the past 18 months, sometimes more than once. I still haven’t booked my Disneyland trip for December because I don’t want to have to change plans yet again. We have the dates picked out and even know where we want to stay, but I still hesitate. I hate the thought of canceling another trip.

I’ve talked a lot about booking through third party sites. Some of it has been good, some not so good. (I’m talking about you, Hotwire!) With people traveling again, there are deals to be found. I want to warn you to know the policies before you book.

Make sure that you know what the cancelation policy is, whether it’s a room, flight, car, or package. Will you get your money back? Will you instead receive a credit? Will you be out what you paid if you have to cancel last minute? Will you be charged a fee if you cancel? These are all things you will want to know before you book.

Also, find out if there are any extras that you didn’t know about. There could be a resort or pet fee at a hotel. Don’t forget about the parking fee! Many airlines are now charging for bags, including your carry-on. There could be a reason why the deal is so good.

It isn’t just third party sites that you need to look out for. Booking your flight or room directly could also incur fees if you cancel. A few weeks ago I received a fantastic offer for the hotel that we plan to stay at on our trip. The rooms prices were incredibly low, and changing dates was easy! The problem was that I could only change the dates, I couldn’t get a refund. With everything so uncertain right now I decided that maybe it wasn’t the right deal for me.

We all want to save money on our vacations. Just make sure that you are actually saving money. This is one time that you really should read the fine print. You don’t want to end up paying more or, worse yet, losing your money because you didn’t know all the details.