We might be in the depths of winter, but now is the time to make your plans for summer vacations at National Parks in the United States.
"Many national parks have excellent room availability right now, even at the lodges that are typically the first to sell out many nights during the months of June, July, and August," says Dave Hartvigsen, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for national park concessioner Xanterra Parks & Resorts.
"Because we do expect the summer 2012 season to as busy as it was in 2011, potential travelers who have their hearts set on a specific lodge should book their rooms now rather than waiting a couple of months."
Xanterra operates lodges and other concessions in Yellowstone, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, and Zion National Parks. The company also manages Grand Canyon Railway, with daily train service to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
"While travelers can often find last-minute rooms in national parks, early planners have a definite advantage because they have more room, lodge and date options," Hartvigsen says.
Hartvigsen offers the following tips for travelers planning their summer national park vacations now.
- Do your research and make your reservations on line.
- Be flexible – if first choice locations or dates aren't available, consider alternatives.
- Understand booking patterns – there is often lots of room availability in May and October, and sometimes there are soft spots in the first two weeks of June, last 10 days of August, and first two weeks of September.
- Book direct – third party reservation web sites sometimes charge a non refundable fee.
- Book activities and make dinner reservations in advance.
- Look for value added packages.