Summer Travel To-Do List

Is the view from your window blocked by snow drifts? The good news is summer’s on the way, and it’s not too soon for some vacation travelers to begin drawing up a checklist – and in some cases, booking flights.

LISTEN: Travel expert Rick Seaney adds to the list.

Late Spring, Early Summer Flyers

  • Booking tickets: If you plan to fly within the U.S. in about three months or so, book your tickets. Don’t wait until the last minute because fares will rise dramatically. Have your tickets at least three weeks in advance of departure.
  • Timetable to keep in mind: On or about June 8 marks the day many airlines begin raising fares on cross-country flights.
  • To-do list: Check on your luggage to make sure it’s not falling apart.

How to pack absolutely everything in a carry-on

Peak Season Flyers

  • Book tickets: The three month rule applies; if you’ll be flying in the U.S. in July, start looking and definitely begin booking in April (or even March).
  • Timetable to keep in mind: Fares to peak season destinations usually drop significantly at the end of August.
  • To-do list: Start checking the Deals Blog for ideas on the best deals from your city.

Europe Flyers

  • Book tickets: The rule of thumb is to book tickets about five months in advance and have tickets in-hand at least a month-and-a-half ahead of time (or even earlier). Exception: If you don’t mind traveling in March or April, we’ve recently seen some very good deals to Europe, but these fares won’t last long.
  • Timetable to keep in mind: Fares rise for Europe’s summer season on about May 16 and drop again around Aug. 23.
  • To-do list: Check passport expiration dates carefully. Some countries will not allow you to enter if the passport will expire within 6 months of your visit.

All Travelers

  • Begin mapping out a strategy now: Consider using miles where possible (and remember, Delta’s SkyMiles will drop in value for many travelers as of 2015). Evaluate the savings of driving to and flying in-and-out of a larger airport (always compare prices). By planning now, your raise your chances of a stress-free vacation while raising your chances of saving money.

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Published: February 26, 2014