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The Best Time to Book A Vacation

There are lots of factors in play when you plan a vacation - when you will have the funds available, when you can get time off, etc.  So those are decisions that I can't help you with, but I do often get questions about when the best time is to book a vacation.  When people ask me this question, it's because they've already picked their travel dates, and they are looking for the best time to get the lowest prices on their trip.

In terms of hotel rooms, unless you are booking for a "sell off" discount travel site that sells off un-booked rooms, I haven't found a particular time frame offers better deals than others.  Sales and offers can come and go, and there doesn't appear to be a "magic formula" related to how far in advance you book your room. 

Rental properties are a little different than hotel rooms, however, the closer your get to your dates, the more prices tend to come down (not always, but frequently).  The difficulty is, as you get closer to your travel dates, properties will become more and more unavailable, so you have to be careful about waiting too close to your trip, as you could lose out on booking a property, or if the amount of properties available gets really low, owners may raise their prices due to demand.

For airfare, there isn't always a "magic time" to book, but generally speaking, I have found that you can get the best prices 2 to 3 months prior to your travel dates.  That being said, if you are travelling during "high season" (Spring Break, Christmas, etc), prices will generally be higher, and options will be limited.  If you have a tight schedule (specific days you NEED to fly with little flexibility), it's best to book earlier.

When searching for your ideal airfare price, there are a couple of things to note - generally speaking, it is cheaper to fly on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Also, when searching prices, the best prices are typically posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually by the afternoon.  Prices CAN fluctuate from day to day, I've seen them fluctuate by hundreds of dollars within 24 hours, so if you see a great price, it's best to snap it up when you can.

By searching airfare regularly, even if you don't have a trip planned, it can help you become familiar with "typical pricing", and that will help you recognize whether something is a good deal or not.

Finally, with rental cars, I have found the best deals approximately 4 to 8 weeks out.  But, I say that with caution again, because if you are travelling during a busy period, it's best not to wait too late to book. 

Again, these are general guidelines, there are always exceptions.

Do you have your own tips about the "best time to buy"?  Feel free to share in the comments section, or connect with me on social media!


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