With everyone’s busy lives and the uncertain economy, it’s understandable that planning a vacation may seem too daunting a task. However, you may be surprised to know that it’s an unprecedented time for finding travel deals. Dream destinations are more accessible now than ever before.

According to Barbara Messing, VP, here are the top ten tips for planning your DREAM vacation:

  1. Let the deal be the inspiration. This is the best tip I can provide. The trick is to be flexible with your travel plans to get the most mileage from your dollar.
  2. Get a head start on your paperwork and be prepared. First things first. Even if you don’t have a specific trip in mind, get your passport. Processing times (without extra rush fees) can take a month or more and a new travel deal can be here and gone in as quick as 24 hours. Some travel deals are too good to pass up and the key is to act fast.
  3. Set a realistic monetary goal for your vacation before you start looking.
  4. Know your travel style, and stick to it. Would you rather lie on the beach all day or see as many sights as you can? It’s best to identify the type of vacation you want up front.
  5. A good time doesn’t require huge travel time. Now that you have the type of vacation and price range that you’re comfortable with, how much time can you dedicate to your trip this year? Don’t be discouraged if you can’t escape for long periods of time. Big experiences don’t always require big travel. You’ll be surprised by the amount of diversity within single-digit flight hours.
  6. Understand seasonal travel trends. Masses of people attend Carnival in Brazil in February. Travelers flock to Pamplona, Spain, for the Running of the Bulls in July. College kids flood Cancun for Spring Break. These events drive prices up.
  7. Leaving on a Jet Plane – midweek. You can save hundreds of dollars just by shifting your flights by one day.
  8. Exchange rates make a bigger difference than you think. The deal might look amazing at first, but think about how much you’ll be spending on food, entertainment, and shopping while you’re traveling.
  9. Utilize online resources to score the best deals. Let online travel tools do the hard work for you. During a down economy, travel providers look for channels to maximize their reach to consumers. Currently, they’re using outlets like geo-targeted deal newsletters and sites like, often providing exclusives and flash-sale opportunities.
  10. If  you have a big window of free time, take advantage now. Maybe you have a little downtime during school or work? If so, take an extended trip. Circle-the-globe styled itineraries and continent-wide trips allow you to have a truly immersive experience. The best part is that they’re more affordable than you think.

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