If you love Southwest Airlines and want to save some money on your vacation, consider booking a Southwest Vacations package. Here’s our experience booking one to San Antonio, Texas over spring break.
Vacation packages are one of my favorite ways to save money on our family vacations. Often, booking our airfare, hotel, and rental car together in one package can result in some great savings. You’ll also get the added benefit of making things easier, with all of your reservations in one place.
When we wanted to travel to San Antonio, TX for our spring break vacation earlier this year, I looked at various ways to book our vacation. I wanted to stay at a great hotel, but also wanted to save some money.
Since only a limited number of airlines fly out of the San Antonio airport, I didn’t have too many options from Boston’s Logan Airport. Thankfully, Southwest Vacations offered a great deal on a vacation package for our trip.
This vacation package included airline tickets, hotel accommodations at my top hotel choice (the Omni La Mansion Del Rio, where I’d stayed before), and a rental car for the duration of our vacation. I was pretty adamant about staying at this particular hotel, so I was thrilled to see that it was an option.
We had a great experience on our Southwest Vacation in San Antonio – here’s our review of Southwest Vacations and tips for maximizing your vacation.
Southwest Vacations Review: Maximize Your Vacation Time and Dollars
Booking a vacation package is a great way to save money, but there are definitely some things you should know and understand before you book. Southwest vacation packages are straightforward to purchase, but it’s always good to do your due diligence first so that you know exactly what you are buying and getting with your package.
It’s also a good idea to check out prices before booking to make sure you are getting the best deal. I would price everything individually (from the airlines, hotel, and rental car company), and then see what it costs to book as a package. You are likely to find that a package is a better deal – but always check before committing.
I also recommend researching hotels in advance so you’ll know where you want to stay when you start booking the package. You’ll be presented with a selection of hotels, and you’ll want to have an idea of what area you want to stay in. You may also have a specific hotel in mind, and if you are lucky, it may be offered as part of the package.
Southwest Vacation Packages: Seamless Travel Booking
For our vacation package, we got e-tickets for our flight, just as though we’d booked them individually through the airline. Once we landed in San Antonio, we were easily able to get our rental car by taking the shuttle to the nearby airport location of the car rental company we were booked with.
We were even offered the opportunity to upgrade our rental car, although we chose not to. Extras, including the prepaid gas and insurance, were available to add-on at the desk.
As always, I recommend researching these options before getting to the rental car desk. It’s so much easier to research while you are home, rather than look things up on your phone at the rental desk. Arrive at the desk understanding what you want to add on.
When you book your rental car as part of the package, you’ll be offered different car sizes and classes. Although we were offered a car upgrade for an additional fee at the rental car desk, that isn’t a guarantee, so you should book the car class that you’d want.
It was equally as easy to check into our hotel, The Omni La Mansion Del Rio. They had our reservation ready, and I just had to give a credit card for incidentals. The room itself, as well as the tax, was already paid for.
There’s always a bit of concern when you don’t book everything individually, but in this case, there was no need for concern. The process was simple.
On our trip, we arrived early in the day, so our room wasn’t ready. We left our bags with bell services and the concierge recommended a Mexican restaurant on the River Walk for us to have lunch. They even gave us a coupon for a complimentary appetizer.
Ease of Booking and Travel
It definitely saves time and effort by booking everything together rather than individually. You only have to input your information once, and you know that everything is set for the correct days. If you need to make changes, you’ll have one point of contact for changes and updates.
You’ll Receive Standard Airline Tickets
As you probably know, there are no seat assignments on Southwest Airlines. Instead, you’ll need to go through the regular Southwest Airlines boarding process. The same applies to tickets purchased as a vacation package.
However, you do have the option of purchasing the early bird option if you’d like. You can do that during the checkout process for your vacation package, or you can add it separately with the airline (up to 36 hours in advance of your flight).
That’s what I ultimately chose to do for our trip, because I really wanted to make sure that my husband and I were seated next to our kids. With early bird, you’ll get one of the earlier boarding positions, which means you’ll have a better chance of being able to get seats together.
It was worth it for us, but again, you have the option if you decide to add it. Keep in mind that this does add a little extra expense to your vacation.
You May Be Able to Get An Extra Discount With a Southwest Vacations Promo Code
This page on the Southwest Airlines site provides the latest discount codes that are offered. I was able to take advantage of a small discount when we booked our San Antonio trip. That was in addition to the discount I already got for booking a vacation package rather than purchasing the individual items.
Everything adds up, and I always like having a little extra money for souvenirs and food. Again, be sure that you are getting the best deal possible by pricing everything individually, as well as part of the package deal.
You Have the Opportunity to Book a Variety of Room Types When Booking a Southwest Vacation
I knew that I wanted a room overlooking the San Antonio River Walk, but that’s not a standard room type at the hotel we booked. When I was booking my package, I was able to choose from a variety of room types at the Omni, including a room with a River Walk view. It was a little more expensive but absolutely worth it!
As you book your hotel, definitely take a look at the various room options offered so that you get the best room type for your family.
You’ll Earn Rapid Rewards Points from Southwest Airlines
Book a trip, and you’ll earn Rapid Rewards (the Southwest frequent flyer program) points. Note that you’ll only earn the Rapid Rewards points on the airfare portion of your trip, not on the entire cost. Those points do add up though, so make sure you are taking advantage of the rewards program.
If you don’t already have an account, sign up for one before or as you are booking your vacation package. Otherwise, you are just leaving those points on the table.
Can you use Rapid Rewards points for Southwest Vacations? Unfortunately, while you can earn Rapid Rewards, you can’t use them.
Can you cancel or change a Southwest Vacation Package?
Once we booked our trip, we wanted to add an additional day because we realized that we didn’t have enough time booked for everything that we wanted to do on our vacation. There are no fees or penalties to make changes to your Southwest Vacation package. However, if the airfare for your new flights is more expensive or the hotel has extra fees, you’ll need to pay them to make changes.
In our situation, we had to pay for the extra night at the hotel plus a small additional fee for the airfare. It was totally worth it though because we got another day of vacation out of it. It’s nice to be able to make changes if necessary.
If you need to cancel, the air portion is non refundable, but it is exchangeable for other flights in the future. The other operators (hotel, car, etc) may charge penalties or fees (or even the whole cost) for cancellation. This is dependent on the specific operators and the specifics of your particular vacation package.
I wouldn’t book until you are pretty secure with your dates, but it’s nice to know that you’ll have options if your plans change unexpectedly.
Can you make payments on Southwest Vacations?
You’ll pay for your whole vacation package when purchasing. This is definitely something to be aware of because it’s different from most vacations that you book separately.
However, they do work with a third-party that offers monthly payment options. You can learn more about that here. Keep in mind that finance charges may apply, so be sure to fully understand the terms before committing.
Where are Southwest Vacations Offered?
You can find vacation packages to a number of Southwest destinations including popular family destinations like Orlando, San Diego, and Anaheim. Just search online to see the options offered from your home airport.
Are Southwest Vacations All Inclusive?
Although these vacation packages do include more than just airfare, they are not all-inclusive vacations. You’ll have to pay for activities and food separately (unless you happen to choose an all-inclusive resort as part of your vacation package).
Have you booked an airline vacation package?