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Last-Minute Travel Deals are a MYTH

So WHEN should I really be booking my vacation?

Recently I've had a few last-minute vacation requests. Clients have reached out to travel within the next month or so, or even the next few days! It can be a super frustrating experience probably both for myself and for the client because prices are so high right now and there is such limited availability. So I thought what a better topic for my next blog post? So let's look at the ideal time to be booking travel, so that you're not experiencing the same frustrations that some of my clients have felt recently. They either booked last-minute trips with exorbitant price tags or they decided to not take the trip at all because of high prices and limited availability.

If it's June, July or August...

During the summer months, you should be booking your spring break trip for the following year. So during your summer vacation, be planning your spring break! You should already be thinking about that next destination. Whether it's a spring break trip to a tropical location or Europe, summer is the ideal time to book. Since spring break is high demand, it's good to get those March/April trips in the books early! Also, if you're needing to book something last-minute for the current year still, fall break can still be booked in summer. Many across the country don't do fall break, so there is less demand. October is peak hurricane season so pricing in the Caribbean tends to be lower as well since the weather could be volatile.

If it's September or October...

If you have not already booked your snowbird getaway from mid-January to March, now is the time! Pricing can be higher at all-inclusives in Mexico and the Caribbean for their peak season in January through March, but weather is ideal. And if you haven't booked spring break yet, it might be too late! Want to be ahead of the curve? It's honestly not too early to start on the summer planning for next year! Remember you can typically book anything with an air package about 11 months out. So start thinking about those air-inclusive vacations a year out, so you are ready to book at that 11 month mark. In September and October - you just finished summer break - start thinking about summer break for next year!

If it's November or December...

These months you tend to be spending a lot of time with family for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. A lot of people are brainstorming ideas over turkey and stuffing! This is an ideal time to be planning those extended family vacations for the following year. Get your Christmas vacation plans ready for the following year too! This is also an ideal time to capitalize on the lowest pricing for fall break since you are 11 months out. January is one of the busiest booking seasons for travel agents, so if you can get ahead of the curve in your planning you can get speedier service from your trusted advisor!

If it's January...

January is probably peak time to be booking any sort of travel for that year. Let's say it's January 2023, that's going to be the best month to book any sort of travel for 2023. So you can still book last-minute spring break (higher prices, less availability, but still possible). This is a great time for summer and fall bookings. And I'm going to be 100% honest with you: January of 2023 is about the only and best time to book December 2023. When is the most expensive time to travel? Hands down, Christmas break. From mid-December to early January you will see the highest prices and high demand at just about any destination, cold or warm. You need to be booking your Christmas vacation almost a year in advance. Most airlines, unless it's Southwest, release their air schedules 11 months in advance. So if your vacation includes air, that's the best time to book! If you're what I like to call a "super-planner" you like to book more than a year in advance. This isn't always possible, however there are a few vacations you can book more than 11 months in advance: all-inclusive resorts without airfare (maybe you'll book with points or Southwest later), ocean cruises, river cruises, and group tours! For example, I'm promoting a river cruise group tour now (summer of 2022) for October of 2023! Group tours are unique in their structure, so can be booked further in advance.

If it's February or March...

This is considered in the travel industry as Wave Season - which is a fun way to describe our busiest booking season of the year. There are some great sales during this time for summer and fall vacations. Keep in mind this is the busiest time of year for bookings, so jump on the wave early with your travel advisor for speedier service and better availability.

If it's April or May...

These are great times to be booking if you are a last-minute person or you have to contend with your work schedule. Sometimes there can be last-minute deals for summer, so if you're looking to travel in June, July and August and you have to wait until April or May, your best bet is flying on charter flights. Charter flights are exclusive flights accessible by travel advisors. They are nonstop, run on a very limited schedule and out of limited cities. Both Nashville and Cincinnatti have charter schedules in this area. Most charters are 6- or 7-nights and run either Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Saturday, so you will not be able to request deviations from this schedule. Charter schedules run end of May through early August (some will run out of CVG all year long). They tend to go to popular destinations such as Cancun, Punta Cana, Jamaica, and Los Cabos. You can sometimes score these last-minute deals at resorts looking to fill capacity for summer. Keep in mind with charter flights, you have to pay a little bit extra for checked baggage and/or picking your seat, but honestly in the grand scheme of things, it's so much cheaper than flying published air! So April and May are truly your last chances to grab any sort of summer vacation!

Hopefully I was able to shed some light on when you should be booking your next vacation. And I promise you, the last-minute vacation deal is 100% a myth - it doesn't exist! Keep in mind if you do find something last minute that is super cheap, you could be booking a flight or hotel that is already oversold. And guess who is the first to be bumped? Those that booked last and cheapest! Don't get caught in that situation - always book with a trusted travel advisor, because we always book with trusted suppliers.

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