Hey guys! Its your friendly Vacation Planner here to give you some insight on when to plan any vacation!
The short answer…WHENEVER YOU DANG WELL WANT TO!!! However, that’s not really helpful so let me break this down for you.
Cruises- while some cruise lines offer promotions and discount offers, the price will gradually rise as the staterooms start to sell out regardless of whether there is a promotion or not. In this case the earlier you book your cruise the lower the fare will be. This also gives you more time to pay for the cruise and get the stateroom of your choice. If you book a stateroom without a promotion and one is released your travel agent can apply the promotion to your stateroom.
Walt Disney World– Book your package at least 180 days in advance if you want very specific dining reservations. When you book a package at Walt Disney World you can book dining reservations 180 days in advance. If you are looking to eat at Be Our Guest this is a must. Disney keeps pretty consistent with their rate strategy and doesn’t fluctuate like normal hotels based on occupancy so you don’t have to worry about last minute flash sales here. If you book with a travel agent and a deal is released for your dates we will automatically apply it as long as you meet the criteria of the promotion. For Walt Disney World, earlier bookings are best but that doesn’t mean you cant book last minute either you just might not get coveted dining reservations. Also keep in mind that you can make fastpass bookings 60 days prior to arrival. At the very least try to plan 60 days in advance so you can have your pick of attractions (you have to have a valid theme park ticket to reserve a fastpass).
Disneyland – The classic of Disney’s portfolio but also very limited with on-site hotels. Again with Disneyland the earlier you book the better but simply to get resort availability. Dining isn’t as hard to get here and you cant do fastpasses in advance so its really all about the room. Disneyland does have an extensive “Good neighbor hotel” program though so don’t despair if you cant get into a Disney hotel, there are some great options right down the street. Disneyland is a locals park so keep in mind major holidays and school weekends as this will draw large crowds. I would book this based on flight prices as I have found LA to be almost as expensive as Orlando these days.
International Destinations – This is the hardest to pin point because of a few factors.
Those 3 factors can have a big impact on price. If its low season you can find some really great last minute deals on hotels as well as flights. If its high season you need to book far in advance if you don’t want to stay in a Hostel on the edge of town. When we travel in January we find great flight prices and saved over $300 when I found our London hotel had a last minute deal. International is a little tricky but I’ve booked trips with only a month’s notice and gotten some stellar deals. I would recommend going off-season if you can to get the most bang for your buck. I also recommend installing the “hopper” app. This tracks fare and trends and tell you when is the best predicted time to buy. You can program flights to watch and it will give you notifications of “wait” or “buy”. Its a free app so that makes it even better!
US Destinations- A little along the lines of International destinations but US cities also have seasonality. Keep in mind major city events or tourist draws (cherry blossoms in Washington DC, changing of the leaves in New England, Boston Marathon in Boston, etc). These factors will cause hotel and flight prices to inflate so try and plan around these things if at all possible. If you can drive to your destination that takes out the flight factor and with gas relatively cheap this is usually the most economical decision for families. I find its much easier to be spontaneous with US destinations because its just so much easier to get to and many places can be a quick weekend trip no time off required.
In a nutshell…book whenever you want, just make sure you GO! Too many Americans let their paid time off go to waste. Don’t become another sad statistic, use that hard earned time off!!!
Don’t forget, I can help you plan your vacation to Disney, Universal, Cruises or ANYWHERE!!! Here is the link to my facebook page or email me at Rachael@DreamComeTrueVacations.com
CHIME IN!!! Are you a planner or more spur of the moment? What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? Where can I help you get to?