Travel

Where Should I Look for a Deal on a Cruise or Resort for a Large Group?

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Booking a vacation as a couple or even solo can take real work. Now imagine booking a trip for not one, not two, not three, but 14 people.

A week-long trip for that big of a group can come with a huge price tag. So it makes sense that you’d look for some sort of deal or discount.

How Do I Find a Deal on a Cruise or All-Inclusive Resort for My Large Family?

What’s the best way to find a deal on a cruise or resort for 14 people?

That’s what a Clark Howard listener recently asked.

Asked Jay in North Carolina: “I have pretty big family (14 people) and we want to take a week-long vacation. We are flexible on dates and location but we are only looking for all-inclusive resorts or cruises.

“What would be a good place to find last-minute deals for such a large group?”

While you can sometimes find last-minute travel deals, it’s rare to score a late deal with a group that size.

“If you plan well in advance, and you use the calendar as your friend since you say you’re flexible on dates, that’s the whole game,” Clark says.

“Because you’re flexible on dates and location, that’s the key to you saving a lot of money.”

How To Score a Deal on a Cruise

Before computers introduced some sophistication to travel booking, cruise lines offered standby at ports. If there were eight empty cabins, the first eight couples in standby would get “screaming firesale prices” at the last minute, Clark says.

Especially taking a cruise with 14 people, don’t expect a magic moment where you secure huge savings at the last minute.

Really want a deal? Start with the calendar, Clark says.

“September after kids have gone back to school is a real bargain time for cruises,” Clark says.

“The December period after Thanksgiving, before Christmas is a dead-dead time for travel. Resorts, cruises, whatever. It’s most years the cheapest 10- to 14-day period of the year for travel.”

If you want to lose weight, you can try a fad diet or a “miracle” pill. But it’s hard to beat the tried-and-true of eating healthier (and consuming fewer calories) and exercising consistently.

The same is true for scoring a deal on a cruise, with or without a large group. The most reliable method is old-fashioned comparison shopping.

Get a pen and paper, Clark says. Start with your favorite cruise discounter. And take 90 minutes to go through several cruise lines, ships, dates and destinations that you’d be happy to book.

“Write down by week how much different cruises are from a cruise line that you’re happy on going on,” Clark says. “It’s a stunner how much different the price is from one week to another on the same ship. And how different the prices are from one ship to another with even the same cruise line.”

You can also browse websites such as Cruise Critic and Cruise Compete to look for deals. Those sites include lists of “what they refer to as last-minute cruises, which usually means booking six weeks out or less,” Clark says.

Final Thoughts

Booking a trip for a large group? You may find better deals on group travel by planning ahead rather than waiting until the last minute.

Try being thorough when you comparison shop. And if you can be flexible on dates and location, you can save big.

This post was last modified on April 1, 2024 2:48 pm

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