From Panama Jack — February 25, 2015 at 5:00 am

6 Excuses to Start Planning Your Summer Vacation Now

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©istockphoto/cdwheatley

©istockphoto/cdwheatley

Although the view out the window might tell you otherwise, summer really isn’t so far off. Before you know it, you’ll be swapping out snow pants for a bathing suit, and that shovel will be used for building sandcastles, not clearing snow.

Believe it or not, there’s no better time to start planning for your summer vacation than right now. We’ve got six (mostly) practical reasons to get a head start on your holiday plans today. What are you waiting for?!

Save Money
The biggest advantage of getting a head start on your summer travel plans is that you’ll save a considerable amount of money. You know the saying: early bird gets the worm. In this case, it’s true.

Planning early means that you’ll have plenty of time to scout out the best sales and deals on transportation, accommodations, attractions, and entertainment. There’s nothing worse that having to fork over extra dough because you waited to plan until the last minute. Get to work now, and you’ll have more money to spend for Mai Tais on the beach.

Explore Your Options
When you get a head start on your holiday planning, you have the luxury of time on your side. You won’t feel rushed in researching the perfect destination for your well-deserved vacation, nor will you feel pressured to book something—anything—just for the sake of it.

Instead of impulse bookings and purchases, you’ll be able to make well-informed decisions that actually make sense for you and your family. That’s way better than wondering what you were thinking when you booked that family folk dancing lesson.

Get First Dibs
If you wait until the last minute, chances are pretty good that you’ll get stuck with the leftovers—that is, the stuff that nobody else wanted. When you’re stuck in that grimy hotel room with the garbage dump views, you’ll have nobody to blame but yourself.

Start early and get first dibs on the best rental cottage or the prime time whale watching tour. Build an itinerary that works for you instead of squeezing in whatever is available.

Sort the Small Stuff    
Booking a vacation involves more than buying plane tickets and reserving a hotel room. You might have to find a dog sitter, book the time off work, find someone to keep your garden alive, and reschedule that dentist appointment you booked around Christmas. Planning your summer vacation well in advance means that you’ll actually have the time to organize all that small stuff. When you finally set out on your holiday, you’ll feel at ease knowing that everything is taken care of.

Seek Recommendations
You probably know somebody who has already visited your destination of choice (and if not, you definitely know somebody who knows somebody who has!) Starting your planning early will permit you to go through your network to find people with insider information that could take your summer vacation to the next level. Instead of a rushed “any suggestions for my trip?” text, you’ll have ample time to pick their brains over coffee.

Dream On
The best part about planning in advance is that it gives you more time to get excited about the big trip. Start a countdown, watch movies set in your locale of choice, and start devouring books about your final destination. After all, nothing will get you through another boring office meeting better than knowing you’ll be sitting on the beach in just a few more days/weeks/months…!

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