It seems like we all know someone who falls into one of two extreme types of travel planners: there is the hyper-organized type who will carefully book every detail of a trip months in advance, and then there is the bargain-crazed last minute traveler who always seems to score an amazing deal on dreamy getaways. But what if you fall somewhere in between these two extremes and can’t figure out what your best option is? If you are wondering whether you should book your travel plans early or hold off with the hopes of an incredible deal, you first need to take stock of what you are looking for, as well as your current lifestyle. Here are some factors to consider as you choose the best option for your travel needs:
Your Personal Situation
This carries more weight, perhaps, than any other factor as you decide how to book your travel. If you have a specific vacation in mind, can only take limited days off of work or have children in school, booking ahead is wise. You will be able to get exactly what you want, from particular hotel suites to plane seats. On the other hand, if you have an open mind about when and where you will be traveling, a last minute deal can take you to all sorts of exotic locales at a fraction of the typical price. Keep in mind, however, that during peak travel dates such as those around big holidays, astonishing bargains are a rare thing to encounter. In fact, since these periods are so popular, reservations fill up far in advance and options later on are often limited and more expensive.
Although it may seem like the best deals are always found at the last minute, booking ahead can have its advantages, too. Hotels will often include room upgrades, a free night’s stay, discounts on meals and spa services, deals for single travelers and more simply for making your reservation in advance. This can make your vacation far more affordable. If you love the thrill of hunting for a bargain, though, and are flexible with the travel details, holding off until the last minute can score you even bigger savings. Either way, sign up for alerts from your favorite travel companies for the first glimpse at the best deals.
How Bold do you Feel?
If you have your heart set on a trip with a group of friends, or you would be heartbroken if the hotel you wish to stay in was booked up during your selected travel dates, booking as soon as possible is your best bet. That way, you don’t end up disappointed (or sleeping on your pal’s rollaway bed because you waited too long to book a room of your own!). Booking in advance will allow you to shop around for the best deals from several sources instead of settling for whatever is available later on. But, if you happen to be blessed with nerves of steel and appreciate the excitement of scoring a last-minute bargain, by all means, watch for deals and book late.