When is the best time to book your holiday and save money?

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Planning a vacation can be an exciting prospect, filled with dreams of sun-kissed beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and cultural immersion. However, the soaring prices of flights, accommodations, and activities can quickly dampen the enthusiasm. The good news is that there are ways to save money on your holiday by understanding the best time to book.

A study by the U.K. consumer magazine Which revealed that travellers who booked their vacations in advance generally got better prices than those who booked last minute. This difference can be attributed to airlines and hotels offering lower rates to incentivize early bookings.

Another obvious benefit of booking early is that you get to choose from a much wider choice of options. Book last minute and you might indeed get a bargain, but it might not be where you want to go.

We got a brilliant last-minute bargain once, but it turned out to be in the hotel from hell! Last-minute means taking your chances.

Booking in Advance vs. Last Minute

The decision of whether to book in advance or last minute depends on your travel preferences and budget. Booking in advance allows you to secure the best deals and avoid the risk of popular destinations selling out. One possible drawback is that it locks you in to a specific plan. If you don’t like to feel like your life is super organised, maybe it’s best to go last-minute and see what luck you have!

Some people think that last-minute bookings provide more flexibility because you can choose what you want and book when you see a bargain that appeals. Of course, the problem with that is you might not see a bargain at all. Or the only cheap place to go is somewhere you’ve already been and never want to go again.

You need to be able to be flexible with your travel dates too to really take advantage of last-minute deals. If that’s your case though, you really might find a bargain. This is because airlines and hotels are eager to fill empty seats and rooms so they might choose to lower those prices!

How Far in Advance Should I Book My Holiday?

The ideal time to book your holiday depends on your destination and travel preferences. However, a general rule of thumb is to book at least two to three months in advance for popular destinations, and six months or more if you’re going to travel in peak season or you’re going to a special event.

When's the Best Time to Book Your Holiday?

Calendar with book now for holidayThe Which study found that the cheapest travel deals for the summer tend to be in December and January. That’s the best time to book. It’s also when you’re find the most options for places to go and places to stay. Want that apartment in the centre of town? If you don’t book it quick, maybe someone else will.

Look at Airbnb in December and you might see a few hundred options for the place you want to go. Check again a few months later and you can be share that the best of those will be gone.

So, planning ahead means the best deals on the best options.

What months and days are cheapest to travel?


  • Low season: September to November and April to May offer the best deals as demand is lower than peak seasons. Travel companies, airlines and hotels make their money in peak season. That’s when they can afford to crank the prices up as they know many people are locked into travelling at that time of year.
  • Peak season: July to August and December to February are the most expensive times to travel, as demand is highest. Kids in school? Then, of course, you have to take your holidays when the schools are closed.


  • Weekdays: Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally cheaper to book flights and accommodations compared to weekends. It’s easier to get away at the weekend. More customers means higher prices! Saturdays are also a good day to find cheaper flight deals as
  • Weekends: Weekends tend to be more expensive due to increased demand.

Time of Day:

  • Morning: Flights and accommodations are typically cheaper in the morning compared to the afternoon or evening. That early morning flight might be the cheapest of all. But that either means forking out for a hotel at the airport the night before or arriving in your holiday destination feeling like an extra from Night of the Living Dead!

Additional Tips to Save Money on Your Holiday

  • Some people recommend booking your accommodation before your flight. This gives you more options and helps you find better deals. Personally, we prefer flight first or booking both at the same time.
  • Book accommodation with free cancellation. That way you can book where to stay first and then keep an eye on those flight prices!
  • Book package holidays on Mondays: Airlines and hotels often offer discounts on package holidays on Mondays.
  • Clear your cookies: Cookies can remember your browsing history, which can make airlines and hotels raise their prices. If they know you’ve been looking for hotels in Malaga every day for the last week, they know you’re really keen to go and try and hike their prices. Some people think this is a myth, but it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution!
  • Use incognito mode or a private browser: This will prevent websites from tracking your browsing history. If they can’t track your activity, they can’t use what they know to change the prices.
  • Sign up for email alerts: Sign up for email alerts from airlines and hotels to receive notifications about special offers and promotions. You can sign up for alerts from sites like Google Flights and Skyscanner to find out when the flights you won’t drop to a price you can afford.
  • Consider alternative travel dates: If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you may be able to find better deals by traveling on weekdays or during the off-season. We all know that when you book a flight, being able to change your flights by a  day or two can mean big savings.
  • Beware of hidden fees: Read the fine print carefully before booking your holiday to avoid any unexpected fees. What looks cheap might not end up being such a bargain. How much is that suitcase going to cost? Do you need to pay extra to book a seat?

It's generally best to plan ahead!

Remember, flexibility is key to maximizing savings. Be open to alternative travel dates, destinations, and accommodation options to find the best deals. With careful planning and smart strategies, you can save big on your next holiday.

And for a last tip, remember that our prices don’t go up and down according to the season, so whenever you book, you’ll be getting the best deal!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Many people believe in the myth that repeated searches for a particular route or destination lead to an increase in the price of flights and hotels. This belief comes from the idea that websites use “cookies” to track your interest and then raise prices accordingly. While it is true that many websites use cookies to remember your browsing habits, there’s no definitive proof that airlines or hotels increase prices based on these searches. To feel more secure, you can always clear your browser cookies or use Incognito/Private Browsing mode.

Generally, it’s a risky strategy to wait until closer to the date in hopes of securing lower prices. Flight prices, for instance, tend to rise rather than fall as the departure date approaches. This is because airlines know that people booking close to the departure date are usually business travellers who will pay the higher prices.

However, last-minute deals can sometimes be found for package holidays that include flights, hotels, and/or car rentals. Companies sometimes discount these packages just to fill remaining availability. But this should not be relied upon as a consistent strategy. For the best deals, it’s usually recommended to book several months in advance.

The most expensive month to travel can widely vary depending on the location and type of holiday. However, statistically speaking, July and August tend to be the most expensive months to travel. This is generally due to the summer holidays where families are more likely to go on vacation. Other peak times include December due to Christmas, New Year’s holidays and winter breaks.

Remember that there are always exceptions to these trends. Prices can be influenced by a variety of factors like destination popularity, events, weather, and regional school holiday schedules. Therefore, for best results, always research the specific characteristics of your intended destination and travel dates.

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