Plan ahead to save money on spring break travel

FILE - This undated file photo provided by Carnival Corp. shows the 710-passenger Adonia ship. Starting in May 2016, Carnival Corp., plans to offer trips from Miami to Cuba, the company announced Tuesday, July 7, 2015. The trips will be through its new brand, fathom, which focuses on trips where passengers sail to a destination in order to volunteer there. The week-long cruises will be aboard the Adonia, which had previously been part of the company’s United Kingdom brand, P&O Cruises. (Carnival Corporation via AP, File)
FILE - This undated file photo provided by Carnival Corp. shows the 710-passenger Adonia ship. (Carnival Corporation via AP, File)

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) — Spring Break isn’t just for college students. It’s a chance for families to spend quality time together on vacation. For those planning to travel by air, don’t wait for last-minute travel deals. Experts insist you have to book early.

“The minute you know you want to take a vacation, you have to book,” said Tammy Levent, CEO of Elite Travel Management Group.

She tells 8 On Your Side, using third party websites and apps to find deals may seem like a good idea, but buyer beware.

“God forbid something was to happen, the airline only helps those, physically, that bought either from a travel agent or their airline direct,” she said.

Some cruise lines offer online specials for booking in advance, like Norwegian.

“Once you get on the cruise, it’s very hard to save money, because everything you see you want to buy,” said Ryan Yerwood, who just got back from a cruise.

Levent recommends making off-ship plans with the cruise line.

“If you booked an excursion on a cruise line, and something was to happen on that excursion, since you booked it with the cruise line, they’ll wait for you. If not, they’ll just leave,” she said.

Many families will take road trips. Levent recommends booking hotels early and if a better deal comes along, you have 24 hours to cancel your original reservation.

You can also use apps like Yelp and Foursquare to find deals on food. Groupon can help you save money on activities too.

Another way to save money: avoid traveling during Spring Break, and instead, vacation earlier or later.

“We took about four days off from school and college and we came down to enjoy Tampa,” said Angela Erb, traveler.

According to AAA, one out of every four people in Florida plan to take a Spring Break vacation, and four of the top 10 most popular destinations are right here in the Sunshine State.

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