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August 11, 2016

Six Trips Which Should Be Booked at Least a Year in Advance

Some destinations require advance planning due to limited availability, high popularity, or both.  Often the best options book up early, and in some situations there may be only one good option!  If any of these are on your list for 2017, you should start planning now.

African Safari   

The best Africa lodges and tented camps are small and intimate, often less than a dozen rooms, so there isn't much space to begin with.   Safaris are popular for family reunions or celebration trips, so it's not uncommon for one group to book the entire property.   Families should note that lodges might have only one family suite which can sleep 4 people, otherwise you will have to book two separate rooms.  


Who says you have to rough it while on safari?
The other key to a fantastic safari is having the right guide, and the most knowledgeable and respected ones are booked year round.  Even the escorted tours, that generally stay in larger lodges, are fully booked a year out. 

My client's South Africa wildlife encounter.
Alaska

Due to a short travel season and high demand, hotels are booked to capacity every summer. The problem is exacerbated when cruise lines block chunks of hotel space far in advance, and I've had to reach in my bag of insider tricks to get even one room for my clients.  Wilderness lodges are small, and I know at least one in Denali that is already sold out for most dates in summer 2017.   


This beautiful lodge, built by the owner, has only 14 rooms.
Lucky family got a clear view of Denali!
Want to travel on an expedition cruise so you can get up close to nature?  They carry less than 100 passengers so you have to grab your spot early.  You can find space on large ship cruises on fairly short notice, but the options will be limited.  Your choice of cabin location or itinerary may not be available. In my experience, the best rates and perks come with booking earlier rather than later.
My clients got up close to a calving glacier on their Lindblad cruise.
Tuscany Villa

Yes, there are lots of villas available at any given time if you are searching on the internet.  But if you want to book a property that you know has been vetted by a reliable source so there will no unpleasant surprises on arrival, you need to plan early.   And if you want one with everything on your wish list (a pool, near a quaint town, centrally located, etc.), all the more reason to plan early.  Those villas you see available in April for summer travel?  There's a good reason they are still on the market.  

Wine-tasting with a fabulous view.

An easy day trip to Florence
Iceland

Its popularity has skyrocketed for travelers seeking adventure, especially as it's considered one of the safest European destinations.  Unfortunately the tourism infrastructure has not kept up with demand, so hotels and our preferred tour partners are heavily booked. Reykjav√≠k is a decent sized city, but finding accommodations in the countryside can be quite tricky.  And when you find yourself in a remote location with limited resources, you definitely want to be traveling with someone reliable.
Clients captured this gorgeous double rainbow on their epic family adventure. 

National Parks

The national parks are always popular, especially with families, but even more so as travelers prefer to stay close to home rather than venture out of the country.  Because of the convenience and historical aspects, staying at a lodge within park boundaries is highly desirable, so even the most modest accommodations book up early. 


Can't get much closer to the Grand Canyon rim than by staying at El Tovar

A little chilly on top with the residual snow,
but great weather for a hike into the canyon
This year's centennial celebration increased demand, and I expect spillover into 2017 from travelers who got locked out this year.  Guided hiking and cycling trips are especially popular with active travelers, but their set departure dates mean you have to book early.

There is much more to Yellowstone than Old Faithful!
Any Destination Over the Holidays

It's not uncommon for the top beach and ski resorts to have waiting lists more than a year in advance.  And most have strict minimum night stays, so you need to make sure you've blocked enough vacation time. The best rooms and suites (and guaranteed connecting rooms for families) are always the first to be snatched up.   


Ski out right from the terrace at the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe
The new Four Seasons Ko'Olina on Oahu does not have
a waiting list for the  holidays. Yet.
Imagine how happy and relaxed you would be to know you have the trip of your dreams planned out a year in advance. And research shows that the anticipation of a trip is what makes us happiest, so why not extend that feeling as long as possible?

Whether you plan to travel next week or next year, just send a note to suzette@family-treks.com and we'll get started setting up something for you to look forward to!

Our Amalfi Coast visit