I had an amazing opportunity to chat with Sarah Gavin, Expedia Travel Expert. Sarah is very insightful and gave me her thoughts on travel trends, tips on when to book a trip, and what the benefits are by booking a family vacation through Expedia. Here’s what I learned and hopefully it will help you in planning your family’s next trip.

Q. What travel trends should we look for in 2014?

A. With a longer, colder winter and how hard the Polar Vortex gripped the nation, we are finding beach searches are up more than normal. It might be the Year of the Beach.

Multigenerational cruises are gaining in popularity. On a cruise, there are a variety of activities appealing to a large range of ages, making this vacation choice a crowd pleaser. There is a large selection of restaurants for families to choose from. At the end of the meal, family members don’t have to worry about haggling over the check, because meals are included.

Q. How far in advance should travelers book popular destinations?

A. It’s best around 21-28 days. 21 days out, there is a little bit of a spike in prices. 15 days or less, there’s more of a spike.

Q. Are there any excursions worth making a family vacation around?

A. The Great American Road Trip gives tweens and teens more empowerment by helping to decide on destinations while on the road. They can use their mobile phone to search hotel apps to find deeply discounted rooms only available via mobile exclusives. Deals could be up to 40 to 50% off. Be flexible and let your teen help in making some decisions. You can use the Expedia app to find these hotels while on the road as well.

Q. Why book my vacation with Expedia?

A. Package Savings, you will get the most value when you book both air and hotel at the same time. A family can save up to $525.00 on a trip and up to $800.00 on a trip to Hawaii, Cancun, and the Caribbean.

We rolled out our Travel Preference Program which allows travelers to choose when they pay for their trip. Let’s say, you pay for the airfare at the time of purchase and you can decide when to pay for the hotel now or when you check out of the hotel. This program helps spread out the cost of a trip.

Q. When is travel insurance a good idea?

A. It is always a good plan. Travel insurance is inexpensive, usually around $10 – $15 per day depending upon the location, which includes full trip and car insurance.

Q. What is Expedia’s cancellation and refund policy?

A. It depends on the airline and hotel you have booked. We go by the airline’s policy while most hotels have free cancellations within a certain timeframe. Expedia doesn’t charge anything beyond the air and hotel fees.

Q. If I book through Expedia and there’s a crisis, can Expedia help us out?

A. Yes, we have 24/7 customer support. You can call us and we can handle everything. If you did it yourself, you would have to manage each piece individually. Our customer support is like a hotel concierge, one person takes care of everything for you.

Q. What is your most memorable trip you have taken with your kids?

A. It has to be our last trip to Disneyland over Thanksgiving. My family loves going to Disney. On this trip, we used HomeAway, which is a new partnership for us. Now, you can book a house rental through Expedia. We chose a home about 10 minutes away from Disneyland. Instead of all of us cramming into a hotel room after a day at Disney, everyone had their own bedroom, giving everyone their own space to relax. It was a fantastic experience.

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