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Booking Now Vs Booking Late: The Great Holiday Debate

It feels like a question that is almost as old as time and it is still a regular feature in our social media feeds, on TV and pretty much everywhere else, depending on the time of year so, when is the best time to book a holiday? a couple booking a holiday in holiday clothes

We've all been there; you're staring at the calendar trying to work out when you can get away for some well-deserved R 'n' R (rest and relaxation) ... And then you remember the savings goals you set for yourself at the start of the year and the whole process begins to make you feel a little bit, well... pressed.

So, what's the verdict? Is it better to book early or leave it until the last minute?

Is It Cheaper To Book A Holiday In Advance Or Last Minute?

This is a question that gets asked a lot and, unfortunately, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer.

It really depends on your destination, the type of holiday you're looking for and when you want to travel.

That being said, there are some general tips that might help you make up your mind:

Benefits Of Booking Early

You Can Get The Best Choice Of Dates And Flights:

If you're looking to travel during peak season (we're talking school holidays here), then it's definitely worth booking in advance.

The best choice of flights and accommodation will always go to those who have their acts together and book early.

Related: Should I Book a Holiday or Stay at Home?

You'll Have More Time To Save:

Let's be real here, holidays can be expensive, especially if you have school-aged kids and are tied to set times of year for travel.

If you're looking to take a trip that's going to cost a bit more than your average weekend away, then booking early gives you plenty of time to start saving.

Related: All-inclusive Vs Self-catering: The Great Holiday Dilemma

You Can Spread The Cost:

Many holiday companies offer payment plans these days, so if you are able to book in advance, you can spread the cost of your holiday over a few months.

This can make it easier on your bank balance (and your sanity)!

You'll Get More Time To Plan:

If you're the sort of person who likes to plan every minute of their holiday (and let's face it, who doesn't?), then booking early gives you plenty of time to do just that. No rush, no stress - just pure planning pleasure.

Downsides Of Booking Early

You could get stuck with less flexible travel dates:

If you're booking way in advance, you might find that you're tied to less flexible travel dates.

This can be a problem if your job or family commitments mean that you can only take holiday at certain times of year.

Your plans might change:

Life has a funny way of throwing curveballs and sometimes, no matter how much we plan, things just don't go the way we want them to.

If you've booked a holiday well in advance and then something comes up that means you can't travel on those dates, you could end up losing out financially.

You might not get the best deal:

For years, we have had it drilled into us that the best deals on holidays are always the ones that you book shortly before you're due to travel, however, as things have changed and evolved not just within the travel industry but as a general rule, this is no longer always the case.

In fact, many holiday companies now offer early bird discounts and other incentives for booking well in advance as they know that people are more likely to do just that.

You may no longer have the relevant travel documents:

Due to changes in the political landscape, some countries now require that you have a valid passport for at least six months - 1 year after your planned return date.

So, if you're booking a holiday well in advance and your passport is due to expire before that date, you may find yourself in a bit of hot water (and it's not the good kind).

As things are adjusted and re-adjusted, it is beginning to feel like travellers have to have eyes in the backs of their necks to ensure all "i's" have been dotted and "t's" crossed and this is certainly something to bear in mind when booking anything last minute...

Is It Cheaper To Book A Holiday Online Or In Store?

Yes and no - again, it all depends on where you are looking to travel to and when.

Generally speaking, if you are looking for a last minute deal, it is better to book online as the travel company will want to get rid of any unsold stock before it goes out of date.

However, if you have your heart set on a particular hotel or resort and you're willing to be flexible with your dates, then it might pay to head in store as you can often haggle and get a better deal that way.

Best Time To Book A Holiday Online

The best time to book a holiday online is usually around 8-10 weeks before you're due to travel.

At this point, most people have booked their holidays and the travel companies are starting to react to any unsold inventory (rooms, flights, etc.), so they'll be more likely to offer discounts.

Of course, this isn't set in stone and there are always deals to be had both online and in store, it's just a case of knowing where to look and being willing to be flexible with your travel dates.


Why are hotels more expensive when you book in advance?

The main reason for this is that hotels can be pretty confident that they will sell all of their rooms if they are booked well in advance, so they don't need to offer any discounts or deals. However, if you're willing to be flexible with your dates, you might be able to find a last minute deal.

Why are hotel prices so high right now?

There are a few reasons for this - firstly, it's peak season and secondly, many hotels have implemented a dynamic pricing strategy, which means that prices go up and down depending on demand.

So, if you're looking to travel during a popular time (like Christmas or New Year), you might find that prices are higher than usual.

When should I book my flights?

Again, this depends on a few factors - if you're looking for a specific date or time, then booking in advance is always the best option.

However, if you're willing to be flexible with your travel dates, you might be able to find a last minute deal.

Is it better to book hotels closer to date?

It all depends - as mentioned above, many hotels now offer discounts for booking in advance, so if you know where you want to stay and you're willing to be flexible with your dates, booking early might be the best option.

However, if you're looking for a last minute deal, then waiting until closer to your travel date might work out better.

Wrapping up:

Overall, flexibility when it comes to booking your holiday is key - both in terms of your travel dates and your destination.

If you're willing to be flexible, you might be able to snag a last minute deal that save you money in the long run.

Of course, there are pros and cons to booking both in advance and at the last minute, so it's really up to you to weigh up what's important to you and make a decision based on that.

If you're still undecided, why not try booking a holiday for mid-week instead of the weekends? 

Or, if you're looking to travel during peak season, try booking for off-peak dates instead?

There are always deals to be had if you're in a position to compromise!

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