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How to nail your overseas travel plans for Christmas 2020

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Veteran travel agent Tenele Conway is here to whip your overseas Christmas plans into shape—before you miss out. 

I’m on a mission. Some might compare me to Mother Teresa, or Ghandi even—it is a truly selfless act after all.

The reason for this mission? I don’t want to see any more disappointed would-be travellers miss out on their dream of a Christmas escape because they left their run too late.

When I am done with my mission, all those wanting to travel anywhere, for any reason during the Christmas/New Year period will be fully organised and booked in the first six months of every year…from now till eternity.

And why am I so passionate about this mission?

For the simple reason that if you start investigating your Christmas holiday post-September (often July even)…you ain’t going anywhere, honey.

Now, I can hear you saying. “But we just finished Christmas, I don’t want to think about Christmas for another 12 months”.

I know I know. I feel your pain—but right now you have the advantage.

I am about to let you in on the secrets of travelling at Christmas and still being able to afford presents for the kids.

Secret 1: There are no deals

You will never ever get a “deal” or a “sale” or any other type of discount if you want to travel in December or January, no matter when you book.

Booking early will help you get a better price but it will still be the most you will ever pay to any destination. This is the peak of the peak season.

Secret 2: Setting Expectations

Once you have recognised that you are wanting to go away at the busiest time of year to travel you can set some expectations.

Expect peak season fares that will book out well in advance with the price increasing in a pattern directionally proportional to the number of bookings taken.

Contrary to popular opinion, fares won’t “drop” closer to departure when we are talking about holiday season travel.

It doesn’t pay to wait and February is not too early to be looking at booking your next Christmas holiday.

Secret 3: Time is money

Understand that time is power and this kind of power translates into money…in your pocket.

Although you will always pay a peak season fare to travel at Christmas if you get in early enough, for example, 11 months in advance, you can at least get in on the lowest of the peak season fares.

Leave your run too late and you will get to witness the epic scale of what is known as “a full economy fare”. This is the most you will ever pay to travel in economy class when all cheaper fares are sold out.

To give you an idea of what sort of price bracket this sits in, you could be looking at 6-8 times the best-priced fares.

In real terms, this could mean a $5000 return economy ticket to Europe. And believe you me, the airlines will charge this fare for those who have left their run too late.

The reason they do this is because they can and they can because—you guessed it—it is the busiest time of year to travel.

Secret 4: Create a new timeline

I’m not a total sadist. I’ll give you the start of February. Spend your time enjoying the sun and generally soaking up summer.

But you have one task during this time off: start talking about what you are going to be doing next Christmas.

If those plans involve travel in any form, come 15 February you must walk into a travel agency and get the ball rolling.

Your pocket will thank you and your travel agent will give you a gold star for not becoming an end of year statistic, one of the many who won’t be going anywhere.

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