Congratulations on signing up for that new cruise! Now you just need to find out how to get to your ship. Buying airline tickets can be a hassle whether or not it’s something you normally do. Toss in the anxiety over packing for a cruise and you’ll have a real headache. We want you to know how to book airline tickets for a cruise. That’s why we put together this handy guide to give you perspective. Let’s start with the more obvious advice on how to book airline tickets for a cruise.
When and How to Book Airline Tickets for a Cruise
Getting down to the basics, we want to help you buy the right tickets at the right price. A lot of this comes down to where you look and when you do it. If you’re someone who REALLY likes saving money, this might mean checking multiple sites over the course of a couple of weeks.
Websites to Use
You can find a few websites out there which know how to book airline tickets for a cruise. Their names will be fairly common to you because they advertise like crazy. First up is Expedia. Like other popular travel sites you can check flight options, rent a car, book flight+hotel packages, and take care of any additional travel needs. Other websites travelers like to use are Priceline and Kayak. If you don’t feel like checking prices every day, take advantage of the price alerts you can set up on these travel sites. This way you will be notified when a flight you want has lowered its price.
If you’re simply wanting to monitor flight prices, something like AirfareWatchdog might be of use. You can actually track prices through most travel sites these days, even Google has a service for this. We often focus on websites aggregating information from a dozen airlines, but you can always go directly to Southwest, Delta, etc. and find some great information. You’ll eventually want to do this anyway to find out exactly what you can pack or bring with you.
When to Book
This is the magical question when it comes to booking flights. “Do I need to wake up at 4am on the 3rd Tuesday of April to find the perfect flight at the right price?” No, at least, not unless you want to. Some travel experts still hold to Tuesday being the best day to buy a ticket, but others say it’s more important to buy within a certain window of time before your trip. Six to eight weeks before you plan to fly is usually the best chance to get a good deal. Don’t hold out for some last second markdown the week of your trip because airlines don’t always work that way. We would hate for you to miss your trip or pay an exorbitant fee just because you had cold feet. Find a price you’re willing to pay a month or two before your departure.
How Can I Know If I’m Getting a Good Deal?
Perhaps you’ve already burned through a lot of the money you were saving for this trip and now you’re desperate for a good deal. Even if you have plenty of money set aside, it’s nice feeling like you got one over on the big airlines. Here’s how to book airline tickets for a cruise and save a bundle: Fly when everyone else doesn’t want to. Because airlines expect a certain amount of travel on Mondays and the weekend, they don’t always feel the need to drop prices on those flights. If you can, aim for a flight midweek (maybe a Wednesday).
Between flying at unpopular times and watching over prices like a hawk months in advance, you’ll probably do just fine. Even better, several websites, like those we mentioned above, will have quality measures in the search results telling you how good of a price the one listed is. You can also ask the cruise line you booked with if they have any special advantages for guests in need of transportation.
Time Cushion Between Flight and Cruise Departure
“Home Alone” may be pushing 30 years old, but the image of a family racing through the airport still stands out as something we do not want to take part in while traveling. Not everyone has vacation days to burn, but we suggest providing yourself a buffer of time between your flight and the time you are to report to the ship. Many people prefer to schedule flights to their port cities the day before departure. This allows travelers to enjoy some down time before the big day so you don’t look like you’re competing on “The Amazing Race.”
Leaving one day (or more) between your flight and the cruise ship’s departure lets you enjoy cities like Miami and Ft. Lauderdale or just take it easy in your hotel room. Maybe you’ll want to catch a massage while on the mainland (where it’s substantially cheaper) or run through your suitcase one last time before hopping on the boat. If none of that is enough to compel you, just remember that Orlando International Airport and Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are among the worst airports in America when it comes to flight delays. Coming or going, it’s nice to have some spare time on your hands.
Is Flying Really Better Than Driving?
As you learn how to book airline tickets for a cruise, you may second guess yourself and worry you’re making the wrong decision by flying. For some people, driving may provide a better transportation option. If you live less than five hours from the port of departure, driving could be a great way to go. Just don’t forget about the cost of parking your car while you’re gone.
For everyone else, flying is a quick and affordable way to cover 1000 miles in an afternoon. You’ve already efficiently packed your suitcase for the TSA screening, the kids are manageable, and you don’t have to worry as much about one traffic accident ruining your schedule. In most cases, flying is the better way to arrive at your destination. With that being said, get back out there and find the best deal for you and yours.
Premier Cruises is your best bet for adventure when it comes to family friendly cruises through the Caribbean. We offer a number of exciting opportunities for faith groups, married couples, and single adults who want to get out and see the world. Find out how you can join us for the trip of a lifetime by clicking on the link below.