We all want to find the best deal when booking our big yearly winter vacation, and you can find a lot of conflicting information when trying to research it. At everythingresorts.com we study this question all year round and we’ve discovered that the “early bird specials” are indeed the best rates you can get anywhere.
What is an early bird special?
When searching a site for vacations like Expedia.com, you’ll often see just a few properties that offer special discounts, and those are usually not available elsewhere. They are typically 20 to 30% off the regular rate, and they only last for short periods.
Usually they are available in the highly competitive destinations like Cancun or Punta Cana and less often at destinations with fewer resorts like St Kitts or Dominica. Usually you have to book at least 60 days before your departure to get the best rate, but sometimes it’s only 45 or even 30 days.
In order to lock in the best deals it’s wise to search for your desired dates at least twice per week. This way you’ll see the new Early Bird Specials within the first few days of them being offered, so there is very little chance that you will miss them.
Our recommended strategy is to find perhaps 3 or 4 resorts in your destination that are in your price range and that will suit your needs. Then check and keep track of their normal rates, waiting for at least one of them to go on an Early Bird Special.
Once one of the resorts is on sale you might only have a few days or a week to lock it in, but at least you know that if you do book that you’ll be getting the best rate possible. It was more expensive the week before, and it will probably be more expensive the week after, so locking in that low rate will be a comforting feeling.
Use the savings to upgrade
Let’s say you were going to get a Standard Room at a resort that is normally US$299 per night for two people, and you see an Early Bird Special at 20% off. You can get that same Standard Room for US$239 now, but it might be better to upgrade to a Deluxe beachfront room for only a bit more. Typically they only cost $20 or $30 more per night, and they are usually much nicer.
So instead of paying $300 per night, you’ll be paying $250 per night AND upgrading to a Deluxe room. You’ll still have more money to spend on diving or upgraded meals when you are there, or souvenirs that will help you remind you of the trip for years to come.