Once you've got your offer for Disney's Cultural Representative Program, you can then start planning your flight in preparation for arriving on your Disney program.
Below I'll talk you through some of my best advice when planning your flight to the U.S. A lot of the below information is dependant on when your start date is and where you're flying from. So if you're arriving in key travel periods such as Summer or flying from somewhere other than the UK, take this information with a pinch of salt.
When To Arrive
When you get your offer, you obviously initially want to get there as soon as possible! However, before you get carried away, think about the below points:
Baring the above in mind, take the time to consider if you can afford to arrive in advance of your program. Now both Disney and I myself recommend arriving at least one day before your program start date. This to provide you time on your check-in day for shopping at Walmart, unpacking time and so you can be ready for a morning check-in.
Who To Fly With
A lot of the time people are booking flights, they will tend to go straight to their favourite airline.
Due to the cost of your flight likely to make a major impact on the savings you have for your program, you want to make your flight as cheap as possible. This may mean flying with an airline you have not flown with before. For that reason, enter the booking process with an open mind of airline.
When To Book
In short: as soon as possible! Flight prices do tent to fluctuate day by day in the week but don't think you can leave your flight booking to the last minute.
As soon as you've been offered your start date, set yourself one or two weeks in which to find the perfect flight. Flight prices will continue to increase right up until the flight departs. A common misconception is that you can pick up deals the closer to the flight you get. In reality you can't. So book as early as you can. For example my flight 6 months ahead was £250. Two days before my flight it would've set me back £400! No one wants to be paying more for the exact same seat that someone else got cheaper sooner.
How To Get The Cheapest Flight!
Before you start looking for your flight, make sure you have considered the below points before you start looking for the cheapest flight:
- Do you have the money to book your flight? If not, you may need to look into booking a seat holder. This is a service that select travel agents offer (Yummy Travel/STA Travel included) where-by you can pay a base fee to ensure you have a seat on a preferred flight. The flight price may increase, but it gives you some more time to save or wait for pay-day if it's absolutely necessary! This may be especially handy if your start date is in summer and flights before your arrival are nearly full.
- Have a few days in mind in which you'd be happy to arrive in. Don't choose a specific day to arrive as when you start looking for your flight, you may not realise the flight is significantly cheaper on a different day.
- Have an open mind when looking for your flight. Be prepared to fly with a different airline if it could save you a significant amount of money. Maybe consider getting connecting flights if it could save you even more money. If you're happy to pay more for a certain airline, then that's of course up to you but do take the time to consider others.
No I'm not talking about taking your own private jet to Florida. I'm talking about private browsing. If you don't know what 'cookies' are, they are a technical aspect of using the web. Cookies track the sites and content you've seen that other websites can use to change your future experience. For example: If you've been looking for stuff on Ebay, when you go to Facebook, you may be served Ebay adverts.
To avoid this clever trick to get you to pay more money, do your searching in a private browsing window. Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer all offer private browsing options.
Check Hotel Prices
Before looking at flights, first check out how much it may cost for you to stay in hotel for each possible arrival date.
Go on a hotel searcher tool (my preferred site is Hotels Combined), look at how much you'd be willing to pay per night ($100 a night is pretty standard for the area), see which hotel you'd like to stay in and jot down the costs of each possible arrival date to check-in date.
Program Check In: March 13th
March 9th - 13th = $450
March 10th - 13th = $250
March 11th - 13th = $300
March 12th - 13th = $130
This allows you to total the cost of your hotel and possible flight together so you spend the least all together. If in the example above the flight on the 10th cost £700 ($850) but the flight on the 9th cost just £250 ($300) you'd save yourself $350 by arriving a day early! #Winning