WHEN TO BOOK HOLIDAY TRAVEL


Booking well in advance for Holiday Travel is a wise idea, but experts say that you don’t have to make your plans as early as you might think to get big savings.

A Conde Nast Travel article by Katherine LaGrave notes data from travel search engine Skyscanner that indicates booking closer may net bigger savings.  “The highest savings for U.S. holiday travel are available no more than four weeks prior to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s,” notes LaGrave. 

Also, according to the article, booking habits for U.S. domestic roundtrip travel also show that there are potential savings available to those booking flights the very same week. Also, according to the article, booking habits for U.S. domestic roundtrip travel also show that there are potential savings available to those booking flights the very same week.Here are the best times for upcoming events:

For Thanksgiving, try booking around Oct. 17. 

“Skyscanner found that October has the best opportunities for savings, with the week of October 17 offering savings of 5.10 percent and four weeks out,” writes LaGrave. 

At Christmas, you will need to book around Thanksgiving. 

“Historical data revealed that the best time to book Christmas travel is when you're packing for...Thanksgiving travel,” LaGrave recommends based on Skyscanner data. 

Big savings for New Year’s come the first week of December. “Book New Year's travel the week of December 5, and you could see savings of 10.57 percent,” she suggests. 



5 CARIBBEAN CRUISE EXCURSIONS THAT EVERYONE SHOULD EXPERIENCE ...

Mapping out a Caribbean  cruise itinerary – and selecting how to spend your time ashore – can be overwhelming. After all, beyond breathtaking beaches and scenic trails, the Caribbean's diverse isles offer an array of port activities and shore excursions you can – and should – partake in if you have time to spare. You can book shore excursions directly with your cruise line, through a reputable tour outfitter or explore on your own. Still, some of the Caribbean Cruises are more popular than others, and for good reason. Here are five Caribbean excursions and daytrips you should try at least once in your lifetime.

Stingray City 
Grand Cayman - Imagine enjoying a relaxing boat ride along the shores of the Cayman Islands. When the boat stops over a sand bar, however, your boat is surrounded quickly by giant stingrays. This is exactly how a visit Stingray City in the Cayman Islands plays out. Because the stingrays are used to being fed, they happily greet visitors. If you venture off your boat and onto the soft sand below, they'll gladly swim around you and underneath you – and even let you hold them. The best part about Stingray City is that these creatures are absolutely wild. So unlike a visit to a SeaWorld Adventure Park, you don't have to feel guilty about enjoying the company of these amazing creatures. Trips out to Stingray City start at around $30 from Grand Cayman, but you can pay more for a private or semi-private boat tour.

Maho Beach 
St. Maarten - St. Maarten's Princess Juliana International Airport hangs on a stretch of land right next to the open ocean, yet a thin strip of beach stands between the short runway and the surrounding turquoise waters. Every year, thousands of people flock to this beach to watch enormous planes take off and land. And if you position yourself against the fence near Runway 10, you can feel the engine power push you toward the beach. Best of all, the experience is absolutely free. And if you need a place to rest while you watch, the bars adjacent to the airport offer prime viewing locations and cold drinks.

Trunk Bay
St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands - St. John offers a wide range of lodging options, with a mix of high-end and budget-friendly resorts. Still, thanks to the island's convenient location and proximity to other Caribbean isles, St. John makes for a great daytrip, whether you're arriving on the car barge from St. Thomas or taking a private boat.  Trunk Bay in St. John offers turquoise waters and world-renowned sands. Consistently named one of the most beautiful places in the world, Trunk Bay is worth a trip all on its own. A variety of reputable tour operators offer daytrips to St. John, but f you want to explore on your own and take the car barge from St. Thomas to St. John, expect to pay around $50 round-trip.

Swim with Whale Sharks 
Belize  -  Certain times of the year – most notably, June through September – intrepid travelers can experience up-close encounters with whale sharks. Most whale shark swimming excursions depart from the Riviera Maya near Cancun, but you can also partake in this expedition from Belize. This once-in-a-lifetime excursion typically costs around $200 per person, but affords the chance to swim along the giant animal and watch it feed on plankton. And after all, how often do you get to see an animal of mythic proportions in its natural ocean habitat?

Swim with Sea Turtles 
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands  -  St. Thomas is well known for it's inspiring island scenery and fascinating wildlife. In nearby Turtle Cove, for example, you can swim alongside magical sea turtles. Watch these captivating creatures feed on the sea floor and effortlessly glide through the surf, all while keeping an eye out for other interesting aquatic life that could be nearby. If you want to tack on a few days to your cruise vacation, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas offers guests an opportunity to book this excursion as part of their vacation package, though you can also book individual turtle watching excursions elsewhere. A half-day snorkel trip from Bolongo Bay Beach Resort starts at $75 for adults and $55 for children.

The Bottom Line

While the Caribbean is known for its crystal clear waters, white-sand beaches and picturesque scenery, there are plenty of action-packed and they are worthwhile excursions to try. You just need to know where to look. Next time you're heading on a Caribbean cruise, consider a guided excursion to enjoy can't-miss sights and attractions across different isles.



PUNTA CANA: MOST POPULAR DESTINATION ACCORDING TO TRAVELER'S CHOICE


The Punta Cana tourism destination, situated in the Dominican Republic’s eastern region, tops the list of the ten most popular destinations in the Caribbean in 2016.

The selection was made by TripAdvisor, one of the world’s most important travel websites.

The website highlights that Punta Cana is one of the world’s top golf destinations and that it has become a top-class reference for the best in leisure vacations.

“The beaches are simply perfect: warm, calm waters that gently caress the softest white sand,” says the website.

The region is also known for its various top-rated attractions: zip line adventure parks, Dominican cultural events where music is the main attraction, and the magical lagoons of the “Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park.”

This is not the first time that Punta Cana is included on the list of the most popular Caribbean destinations.

TripAdvisor is a popular international online travel website which issues its highly-rated Certificates of Excellence, awarded annually at the Travellers’ Choice awards.