The BIG P word
I am back from a wonderful vacation to Hawaii, it was just what we all needed. We were able to connect with friends, learn more about the Hawaiian islands, relax and most importantly have fun. NONE of us wanted to board the plane home. I kind of wanted to kick and scream like a toddler to see if I could get my way. Here I am back in Virginia ready to take on the busy spring schedule, allergies and book more travel!
Maybe you just got home from spring break or you were wishing you had gone somewhere. It's not too late to plan a spectacular vacation for the summer. One question that I am asked on a regular basis is, “How far in advance should I begin planning my vacation?” The answer to this question is it depends. It varies for each type of trip, which probably explains why it’s such a commonly asked question. I like to add that it's never too early to start getting ideas and dates established. Planning ahead can help to save you money and allow for more options.
There is a broad spectrum of different types of trips, someone who wants to go to Africa vs someone who wants to travel to Florida will have 2 different time frames. In my personal travel I like to map out 2 year chunks so we can narrow down budget and time off from work. After we figure out specific locations I begin to nail down hotels and flight 7-12 months in advance. There is time to put a deposit down and I know what the final payment will be. The further out you book, the more inventory you have to pick from which can be particularly helpful in larger families. Some hotels, cruises, etc only have a certain number of rooms to accommodate larger families. Some destinations also have a limited number of hotels making it harder to find somewhere to sleep.
How Far in Advance should I PLAN?
Book your cruise or expedition 12-18 months in advance. Sometimes 24. Wait, what?
Most companies will offer early booking incentives when they release their dates each year. They may also offer some perks such as shipboard credit or an airport pickup with early bookings.
Each room category can vary greatly in price and amenities. In order to secure not only the room type that you prefer, but also the location on the ship where your room is located, it’s essential to book early. The best room types will sell out quickly!
Book your trip 12-15 months in advance when you’re traveling during holiday season.
This is high season on steroids. Prices are high, already. With each booking, prices will continue to increase because most hotels, tour operators, and suppliers that are popular during holiday season expect to sell out. Some destinations even have a minimum night stay requirement as well.
Holiday season is more than just the major holidays like Christmas and Easter but it also includes anytime kids may be out of school, like spring break and summer.
Book your trip 8-12 months in advance when you’re traveling during high season.
Not sure when high season is for the destination you’d like to visit? I would be more than happy to help you figure out the different travel seasons for the particular destination.
Keep in mind high season in a destination will mean larger number of tourists and higher prices. Shoulder season is usually a better time to travel if you want good weather, better prices and smaller crowds.
WEEKEND GETAWAYS OR STAYCATIONS
I understand that sometimes you just need to get away and you happen to have a free weekend. You can book these quick adventures 1-3 months in advance.
Go into this planning early with a little flexibility. You never know when a city is going to be super expensive simply because a big conference or event is in town. If you wait too long, you will already have made arrangements with work, friends, family to take care of kids, etc to then find out that your favorite hotel is 3x more expensive than normal.
Make time this year to really focus on your future travel plans. It's never too early to start the planning process. You don’t want to miss out on another spring break or summer vacation. As always, I suggest buying travel insurance so you don’t have to worry about what could happen in the next year.