Turns out there’s a trick to finding the best rates. While there are countless factors to consider... WHEN you make your travel plans is the most important. In some cases, those hasty, last minute plans are actually getting you the better deal. This Travel Tuesday will look at the best time to make your travel plans for flights, hotels, and cruises.
Last minute plane tickets are the most expensive. Booking weeks in advance can save you hundreds of dollars. The cheapest time of the year to buy plane tickets is in January, February, and August. August is the best time to buy holiday tickets since it’s advised all holiday plans should be made by the end of September.
A good measure for buying plane tickets is at least three months out for domestic flights. The opposite is true for international – three months out is considered last minute.
Hotels are trickier... You won’t have to worry about booking more than a month in advance to get the best rates. In fact, booking 30 days or more in advance actually costs more on average:
The best time to book is 1 month (~30 days) in advance to optimize savings. There’s also another window of opportunity 7-10 days before your stay, and then again the day of (depending on the hotel's availability). It’s a gamble, but any room after 11 AM the day of your stay could be up to 60% off. Keep in mind these rooms are not guaranteed and may go fast.
Cruises should be booked a year in advance to get the best bargain for all-inclusive packages. This applies any time of the year. But to get the lowest flat rates, the best time to buy is between three months and 10 to 14 days before departure. Since the last payment is due three months prior to the trip, the ships are trying to fill the empty spaces from people who didn’t complete their payments.
If you plan thoughtfully and timely, you may benefit from one of these insider tips for getting the best deal for your travel.
Author: Willow Groskreutz
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