Saving on your vacation by booking in advance is not only possible but highly recommended. If you are clear about the dates you will be free this year, go ahead. But not crazy. Variables such as the day of the week you book, the month you travel, the place of destination, or whether you are booking flights or hotels, can influence the price.
Every year, when we think about booking our vacations, the doubt assails us: what is better: book in advance or wait until the last minute to get the best price?
Most of the studies coincide: do not leave until tomorrow what you can reserve today. But how much time in advance are we talking about? A distinction must be made between booking air tickets and hotel tickets since the prices of accommodation are not as variable as those of flights. But in addition, the place of destination is also decisive, as well as the day of the week in which it is booked or the month in which it is traveled. Everything influences!
1. The further away, the more in advance
The latest reports made by online search engines such as Kayak or Skyscanner coincide in concluding that the greater the distance, the longer advance notice is necessary to acquire cheaper air tickets.
Specifically, a recent study by Kayak recommends that for long-distance trips (outside Europe) the flight reservation be made 2 to 6 months before traveling, depending on the country. For most European destinations, however, the best prices can be found just 2 months in advance. According to this search engine, Spaniards can save up to 65% on plane tickets to the most popular destinations around the world if they book at the right time.
2. Sunday, the best day to book
And to refine, what day of the week is the best to make the reservation? Until now, various studies have indicated Tuesday as the best day of the week. But in the latest study ” New Heights for Air Travel” published last January by Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corp (ARC) , the day of Sunday supersedes Tuesday (also set in the previous edition of this same report) as the day of the ideal week to acquire the tickets. And, on the opposite side, Friday is declared as the worst day to buy a ticket. According to this report, just by taking into account the day of purchase, savings of more than 30% can be achieved on European routes, more than 34% on trips from the Old Continent to the United States, and above 22% if the destination is in Asia.
3. Fly cheaper on Tuesdays and in January
If you have the option of traveling outside of the hot months, another question to ask yourself to save more is when the best time to travel is. Skyscanner reveals that the cheapest months to fly are January and November, followed by February, with savings that can reach up to 15% on the price of flights.
And if you can choose, try to fly on Tuesday, as it is the cheapest day, according to the momondo study. The search engine recommends avoiding Saturdays. These two days coincide with the results of the study of the previous year.
4. Hotel prices, less variable
According to the latest survey carried out by LBN Hotels, the majority of Spaniards (93%) plan to stay in a hotel during 2017 and 44% of Spaniards reserve their hotels 1-2 months in advance.
And it seems that this percentage of the population does it adequately, because the Trivago hotel search engine reveals that, in general, the ideal time to reserve accommodation is one month in advance. Even so, the study also reflects variations depending on the destination country (yes, it only collects samples from the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy, in addition to Spain).
Focusing on summer vacations, LBN Hotels believes that hotel prices evolve gradually over time with no dramatic increases or decreases and that the best time to book a room is entirely dependent on the destination. Thus, for example, in Europe this date is between three and five months before arriving.
The aforementioned Kayak report also dedicates a part to hotels and once again the destination is decisive to know the advance with which lower prices are achieved. According to the search engine, you can achieve up to 43% savings by booking 8 months in advance to stay in Cancun, for example.
But what time is the best to reserve a room? In the field of hotel reservations, the dynamics regarding supply and demand are more complex, but the “Hotel Report” by Expedia concludes that Sunday is the best day to book a stay, especially if it is to stay that same night.
5. Flight + hotel = savings
A good savings strategy, but often overlooked by travelers, is to simultaneously book a flight, hotel and / or rental car. The same study “Hotel Report” indicates that the industry allows “pack” reservations to offer considerable savings.
6. The risks of the last hour
The famous “last minute” is a double-edged sword. Promptly at the last minute offers come out, but they usually involve some conditions such as low availability or certain dates. With which, if you wait until the last minute, you may find that not only are there no places, but the few that remain are at exorbitant prices.
And, above all, it discards the false myth that planes take out places at half price at the last minute when they do not fill the passage. Sky Scanner confirms this in its study: a ticket can cost up to 31.2% more than its average price if it is purchased on the same day of departure.