Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Waiting Game

Not sure what it is.  Is it a cultural thing? Is it a generational thing?  Or is it simply a human thing?  I am referring to this idea that waiting will somehow give you a better advantage when it comes to the cost of booking a trip.

I am curious because it seems to cross over into other areas of life.  Back in the day when I was a Realtor, I had clients who would decide to wait on making an offer on the home they wanted or decide to wait to list their home to see if the market would improve.  In most of those cases, the waiting cost them money.  I am talking about 5+ years ago.  A couple would think that waiting might cause the owner to reduce their price before they made an offer, but then get upset when that same house sold right out from under them.

I am not intending to make this a post about real estate, but I want you to see that maybe it is more than just an industry-specific notion that waiting will somehow work out to your benefit.  Because here I am now working as a professional travel consultant and I see the same exact mentality.  "Let's wait and see if airfare will go down" or "let's wait and see if that cruise offers some steep last minute discounts."  That might have been the case several years ago, but the landscape has changed.

Today...we are experiencing a huge uptick in travel across the board.  In fact, this article, "Consumer Travel Attitudes Hit a High Note," shows that more people are traveling now due to several positive factors.  That means demand is up.  Airplane seats are being filled.  Hotel rooms are being booked.  Cruise lines are selling staterooms further in advance of the actual cruise date.  I already have clients booking vacations into December of this year and hotel rooms have already become scarce at the more popular destinations.

I say all of that to say...if you wait, you might not only pay a higher cost for your trip, but you may also lose out on the place that you wanted to stay.  I have had situations where someone wanted to ponder a little longer and that pondering cost them a few hundred dollars because the cheaper airfare had already sold out.

This is going to take a mentality shift for a lot of you, but here is my advice.  Decide where you want to go.  Determine the dates as quick as you can.  Sit down with yourself, your spouse or your significant other and determine a budget that you can afford for the trip.  Then contact a professional travel planner and give him or her that info and let them do their job.  And when they come back with options, don't think that you have lots of time to ponder and check prices etc.  That price you were quoted may not be there tomorrow.  So listen to your trusted professional.  He or she knows whether the place you are going and the time that you want to go will be something that you can wait on or not.  If it is Hawaii in December...I wouldn't cue the Jeopardy music and think you have plenty of time to decide.

So I am not sure I have an answer to my original question; is this idea of waiting unique to us Americans or is it a world wide trait?  Have you waited to book only to find out that you missed your chance at getting the lowest price?  Maybe you disagree with me.  You comments are always welcome.

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