How far in advance should you start planning your vacation?
A common question I always receive is when to start planning a vacation. Six months in advance? A year? The earlier you start the process the better, but here are some general guidelines of when to get the ball rolling for your next getaway…
SPRING BREAK: 6 - 9 Months in advance
Spring break is one of the most popular vacation times for families and for anyone looking to escape the cold. The holidays are over and people are ready to get some sunshine! Spring break cruises, Caribbean resorts and popular warm weather spots tend to book up extremely fast. The best time to be thinking about Spring Break is right as school is starting in September. Don’t wait until January – you may end up with less availability and higher prices!
SUMMER TRAVEL: 9 Months in advance
For summer travel, especially within the United States and Europe, I recommend starting at least 9 months in advance. Summer is prime time for family travel, graduation trips, and bachelorette/bachelor getaways. Europe in summer is especially popular since you have guaranteed warm weather in most places (or as warm as gets for countries like Iceland and Norway). Famous destinations like the Greek Islands and the Amalfi Coast are gorgeous this time of year, but are on many people’s bucket lists – so make sure you get to stay in that resort of your dreams by planning early.
FALL TRAVEL: 6 Months in advance
Fall tends to be a less common time to travel – which is a great thing for savvy travelers with some flexibility. Families are heading back to school, it is hurricane season in the Caribbean, and it is starting to cool down in Europe. Fall is personally my favorite time to travel because it is often shoulder season and you can get fantastic value, fewer crowds, and surprisingly good weather. During this time for many destinations you do not have to book as far in advance, and can maybe even plan a last-minute trip.
THE HOLIDAYS AND WINTER TRAVEL: 1 year in advance or more
The weeks of Christmas and New Year’s are some of the busiest for travel across the globe. People tend to have that time off work, so it is the perfect time to get away. This also tends to be the time with the most expensive hotel and flight rates you will see all year. Space books up really fast, so to get the best value and the right place for you – planning a year or more in advance is critical.
Winter also tends to be high season for many destinations in the southern hemisphere, since it is summer there – if you are looking to head to South America, Australia or on an Africa Safari make sure to look early. If you are planning for early November or early December, you have a little more time to get going.
HONEYMOONS, MILESTONE TRIPS AND GROUP TRAVEL: 9 – 12 Months in advance
For very special vacations that are celebrating a new marriage, anniversary or big birthday I always say the earlier the better. The same goes for if you have a big group. Unless you already know you will be going somewhere that is off-season, I always say a year out is a good timeframe to aim for. These types of trips are my favorite because they are so meaningful, and I just love making them extra special. With more time I can really focus in on all the important details, AND you have more time to spend getting excited about the big trip!
Is it time to start planning your next trip? If you have a question on if you should get started now, or if you have specific questions about a destination, I am here to help! Feel free to contact me at Jessica@jessicawhitetravel.com to get started.