If you're a frequent traveler, you know it as a "blackout period." Between Dec. 23 and Jan. 5, your frequent-flier miles are essentially worthless and all the "hot" vacation spots are apparently sold out.
No travel bargains this time of year, right?
Wrong, says Christopher DeSessa, a certified travel counselor and assistant professor of travel-tourism management at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.
"Contrary to popular myth, you can find good travel deals and make last-minute travel arrangements to desirable destinations during the holiday season - provided you're willing to be flexible with your travel schedule and keep an open mind," he says.
If stretching your travel budget is your top priority, Mr. DeSessa says, now is the time to start looking for discounts.
"Around Thanksgiving, the airlines have a better sense of which flights are selling well and which are not," Mr. DeSessa says. "Then they lower the fares to those destinations accordingly."
But if you're determined to ski the Rockies or bask on a Caribbean beach, be prepared to pay full price. And, Mr. DeSessa says, give your travel agent four or five destination and departure options.
"The least productive thing you can do is call your travel agent and say, "I want to go to such-and-such a place on this date and depart at this specific time.' That approach may be fine at other times of the year, but during the holiday season it will just leave both of you frustrated with the results," he says.
To assist you in your search for a worthwhile holiday trip, Mr. DeSessa offers these tips:
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