Yesterday, as I was sitting in the living room of an Orange Beach condo high up on the 12th floor, I became mesmerized by the afternoon sunlight flickering across the expanse of the Gulf of Mexico below. I could see the shape of big brown pelicans flying through the air and peacefully floating along when they landed gently atop the water.

I thought to myself, “To be able to enjoy this sight is precisely the reason people love coming to the beach so much.” It was such a peaceful and beautiful moment that I wanted to sit there all day and gaze at the water.

As I was quietly enjoying the peace of solitude of the moment, I made note of a few reasons others should enjoy the same beautiful view during a vacation to the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast.

1. Planning Vacations Sparks Happiness
According to an article in CNN Money, people spend more time planning vacations than they do planning for retirement.

That’s because vacations are fun (probably way more fun than long-term financial planning!), and so is planning them. Especially beach vacations.

It’s exciting to imagine the scent of suntan lotion in the air as you and your family members and friends sun on the beach, building sandcastles, swimming in a pool overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, and listening to the sound of the waves from your private balcony.

It’s also fun to look at photos of beach vacation rentals at the beach. Adults like to study things like the number of bedrooms, whether the dining table is large enough for everyone, etc. The kids like to view photos of the bedrooms they’ll be staying in to determine whether it has a bunk bed, a TV with a DVD player or other amenities.

Families often get together during the holidays to select their favorite beach house or condo. And, for family members and friends who live far away, links to specific properties can be shared so everyone can have a say in the choice.

Or families can assign someone to make a quick call to one of our local, on-site Meyer Vacation Rentals vacation planners to help them choose from a group of select properties that fit their specific needs.

That’s what Kathryn H. did when she booked a condo unit at White Caps in Orange Beach. She commented on her reservation experience. “[The vacation planner] was excellent and emailed pictures of several condos before we made our choice. Your staff is knowledgeable and professional. Thanks for a great vacation!”

It’s also fun to research nearby restaurants, fun events that might be taking place during your visit, attractions that are fun for the kids, shopping options, rainy day activities, and more. There’s an endless amount of information about fun things to do in the area available.

Put simply, the planning is fun for everyone who enjoys seeing beach vacation dreams turn into reality! Spend some time this year planning for next year’s vacation and begin reaping the benefits right away.

2. Planning Early Means Better Selection
Many of those who book vacations in the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast area book vacations one to even two years in advance.

That’s because they know that the further out they book from their desired vacation the better the selection of properties.

Meyer Vacation Rentals boasts more than 1,100 vacation rental properties ranging from one-bedroom efficiency-style condos all the way up to 20-bedroom Gulf-front beach houses—and everything in between. And the most popular properties are always the first to fill their calendars.

In fact, many vacationers will book their preferred vacation accommodations for the following year before departing from their current vacation. For these vacationers, it simply makes sense to go ahead and be sure they can secure their preferred location as soon as possible.

3. Booking Direct Means Best Service & Price
When vacationers book directly on, not only do they find the website easy to use, but they also are able to apply the appropriate specials for their vacation timeframe and be assured that there is no other site offering Meyer-managed properties at a cheaper rate.

Kathryn H. commented on the ease of using the website. “It was very easy to use and maneuver on the website and check properties. Thanks!”

Phillip S. booked a unit at Royal Palms in Gulf Shores for his family through Meyer Vacation Rentals. He used both the website and the assistance of an on-site vacation planner to book his family’s vacation. “The website is one of the easiest and most thorough ones I have tried to use, but when it comes down to it, nothing beats a representative to assist in finding what you need,” he said. “Mai Lek (a Meyer vacation planner) did an outstanding job in finding the condo to fit our specifications.”

This level of service and knowledge of Meyer’s properties is unavailable through a third-party booking engine such as HomeAway, VRBO or others. In fact, once you have booked a Meyer-managed property through one of these megasites, two things happen: (1) you pay a higher rate because of the add-on fees these sites tack onto the reservation and also because you are unable to apply Meyer’s specials and promo codes and (2) you are immediately turned over to Meyer’s Guest Relations team anyway to help answer questions, provide reservation information and more.

It’s a no-brainer to avoid these sites and book direct on for your next beach vacation. According to Ann A., who booked an Emerald Skye vacation rental in Orange Beach for a short trip in November, “We have rented with Meyer for years and have always been satisfied with the value.” It’s important to remember that the best value comes from booking direct online or with the help of one of Meyer’s on-site, local vacation planners.

With so many benefits to planning your vacation now, don’t wait another minute to get started. Book your vacation stay to Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach or Perdido Key today.