It is hard to believe that it is September and labor day weekend is upon us. For many, it marks the end of summer. It is definitely bitter sweet that the end of summer is here, kids are back in school and the weather is about to turn into winter.
While this is definitely unfortunate, this is a great time to think about the past summer and what was great and what you would want to do differently next week. Perhaps you didn't take a vacation or didn't get the requested week off from work. Maybe you didn't do all the things that you had planned to do.
With all these memories fresh in your mind, this is actually the best time to begin making plans for Summer 2017!! A lot of people just can't plan that far in advance but if you have any desire to get prime weeks and prime resorts, now is the time to begin the planning. Believe it or not, most of my entire summer is currently planned with various options laid out which will ultimately depend on whether certain exchanges comes through with my timeshare.
As explained in this post concerning timeshare planning, it is essential to plan far ahead and have multiple options so that you can get the desired vacation and be able to travel to luxurious destinations in luxurious accommodations on a tiny budget. If you want to achieve this, here is what you need to do!
STEP ONE: SET UP AN EXCHANGE REQUEST
If you own a timeshare and want to make excellent trades, put in a Request First with Interval International or do an Ongoing Search with RCI.
For Interval International, you can do a search for the desired week and include the specific resorts that you want to travel to. THINK BIG!
Put in a request for the Four Seasons property in Carlsbad, California or the Marriott property in St. Thomas or the Westin in St. John or the Marriott properties in Hawaii. Request the ultimate vacation of your dreams. This is the fun part of vacation planning!
When you make the Request First reservation, Interval will charge you the exchange fee of $179 and I highly recommend getting E-Plus as discussed here. This can give you even more flexibility down the road. Remember that this is fully refundable if the exchanges does not occur. The fees are refunded and your deposited points or week is refunded.
For RCI, in order to do a Ongoing Search, follow these steps:
Again, THINK BIG and try for the Hilton in Waikoloa, Hawaii, Casa Velas in Puerto Vallarta or the Pueblo Bonito in Cabo San Lucas - all highly rated luxurious timeshare properties.
STEP 2: SET UP AIRFARE ALERTS
Use Hopper. As discussed here, Hopper is a great tool for monitoring airfare. Put in the various times, dates and destinations for the specific weeks that you requested above. Hopper will track the cost of all these flights. Ignore the cost of the flights for the moment as you will continue to monitor them until the point that the airfare reaches a price point where you are comfortable spending. Put in multiple destinations so that you can track costs for all potential options that you chose in Step 1.
STEP 3: BOOK BACKUP HOTEL PLANS
Book hotel accommodations for the desired weeks. If you end up booking airfare first, you will need to have a good backup plan in case the desired timeshare does not go through. Again, ignore prices at the moment but do make sure that the reservations are fully cancellable.
I will discuss various methods on how to get hotel accommodations for reasonable prices so that you can truly have a good backup plan in case the the timeshare does not get confirmed. If you have hotel points, this is a great time to book a speculative week on points so that you are assured a free week of accommodations. Again, getting these points are achievable and we can discuss various methods to do so in other posts.
STEP 4: SET UP GETAWAY ALERTS
Set up Interval Getaway alerts if you are an Interval International member. I currently have a saved searched called "Summer" for 2017 where I inserted all the top properties within Interval so that I can view when availability comes up and I can make a decision on whether to book with cash immediately or continue to wait for the desired week or timeshare property to become available. Using this method, I already saw a prime week in Hawaii for a Marriott property where the one bedroom cost under $600 for the week. I didn't grab it and it disappeared within a few minutes. If you see a deal like that, book immediately. Be aware that these Getways are non-refundable and non-changeable so make sure you can actually use it before booking.
STEP 5: RENT A CAR AND USE AUTOSLASH
Use Autoslash if you will be wanting to rent a car. As discussed in this post, Autoslash is the ultimate car rental reservation tool. You can make a reservation without using any credit card and Autoslash will automatically track the reservation and either alert you of a lower price or automatically rebook you for the lowest price available. Make multiple reservations that coincide with the various destinations that you chose in Step 1. Since there are no fees, credit card requirements or cancellation fees, book multiple weeks and once everything comes together, you can cancel the unused rental reservations.
STEP 6: MONITOR EVERYTHING
Monitor everything. Since everything is generally now on autopilot, just monitor everything so that when a exchange gets confirmed or a Getaway becomes available, you can quickly review the flights and determine if the costs are doable. In other posts, I will explain how to obtain and use frequent flyer miles so that the flights will be free but for now, the above steps should work well in order to set yourself up for a fantastic summer for 2017.
STEP 7: SIT BACK AND RELAX
Remember the summer that just passed and be excited for next summer. Travel planning can be difficult but when you plan ahead, you have a much better chance of getting awesome vacations in luxurious places and resorts for a fraction of the retail cost.
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