The travel industry, like many others, is constantly evolving. Years ago in the cruising industry, you could walk up to the cruise terminal, without a ticket, on the day of the cruise and get a great deal. Not so much anymore. Partially because of new security measures, but mostly because travelers today are prioritizing VALUE over COST.
As travelers become more savvy they are realizing that in order to get the best value, they must book early. As early as 2 years in advance in some cases. The suites on world cruises, for example, are the first to sell out once they open for bookings two years before the cruise. Why do these rooms sell out first? For starters, When booking certain suite class staterooms, they'll often include many of the options that you would end up purchasing anyway, if you had booked another type of room. So the cost of the room with amenities often ends up being nearly the same. Next, there are many immeasurable perks that add to the value. Suites are generally larger and more comfortable. They will often be located in more desirable locations. They may come with Butler or concierge service. Some may have access to exclusive dining venues and lounges. These are just a few examples of the reasons that the savvy travelers of today are booking early.
So, here are some suggestions on when to book you next vacation.
First, let's talk about flights. Although airfare will go up and down week to week, even hour to hour, the general trend will be that prices will increase as the number of available seats sell.
Since I'm writing this in August, I'll start with what you should be planning and booking now.
Spring Break trips - Now that kids are going back to school, now is the time to put deposits down in order to get the best choice of rooms and flights.
Holidays - It's not too late to a trip over the holidays, but your selection of rooms are going to be fewer and flights have already been filling up. February and March would be the best time to start booking you holiday travel. The best staterooms on cruise ships will book up a year and a half before sailing.
Summer Vacations - Summer vacations are a little more flexible since it covers a larger time frame. If you want the best selection of both flights and rooms, January and February are the best times to start booking.
These are the most common time frames for vacations. If you want the same value with a lower price tag, consider traveling just after the holidays or in the fall. September, October and even the few weeks between Thanksgiving and the holidays will offer value with a lower price tag.
Group Travel - If you're planning any type of group travel (Destination Wedding, Family Reunion, Friends get-away etc.), You should begin planning even further in advance. Twelve (12) to fifteen(15) months would be prudent. For a Destination Wedding in a popular destination or resort, you should consider reserving the wedding date even earlier.