There are many reasons why people delay travel planning. Maybe they just don’t have the time to plan. Or work schedules do not allow for too advanced planning of vacation time. Or your children’s activities schedule have not finalized. Whatever the reason, I hope it is not because you have this misconception that there will be last minute deals and you just want to wait for one.
In my opinion, there is rarely such thing as last minute deals…that work. Sure, some of the cruise lines do a big sale to get the last remaining cabins sold. When that finally happens, they usually are not the cabins that can sleep a family of 4. There may be double cabins left. And often, they are not going to be near each other, even if you want to do 2 cabins. Or, those cabins will be the most undesirably located.
Ok, so maybe you do not care where your cabin is, or all split up. But do you live close to the disembarkation port? Or to the city where the beach resort is on sale? If not, you’re out of luck. So many years, I take last minute requests, the difficulty is always, always, always not able to find airline space! Maybe ok if you travel single. But not as a family of 4, or 5 or more. Often times, the flights are sold out. Lack of airline space is the number one reason why you should not wait to plan your vacation.
There really is no reason to wait anyway! The best fares are often times promoted upfront. Cruise lines want to fill their ships early. So are tours, and hotels. They do everything they can to fill their space as early as they can. The best promotions are actually 6-9 months in advance. Another thing is that, at the peak travel times and high seasons, there really will not be space left. They are sold out.
If your schedule is uncertain, you can always buy travel insurance. I will guide you to the right insurance plan that can help you move the trip to another date without high penalties. Some plans even let you cancel last minute and get your money back.
So, I guess I have disappointed you. But I want you to have the truth! When you reserve early, you get to be excited about the upcoming vacation for a longer time. You have the best choices. You can pick seats together on the airplane. You can pick any hotels because space is available. You can pick the better cabin location on a cruise ship.
Airline schedules are published 330 days in advance. Tour companies and cruise lines release tour dates usually 18 months to 2 years in advance. If you need a beach vacation package, then, 9 months out is the minimum if you’re planning for the same 2 weeks in December where everyone is trying to go on vacation. Or 6-8 months out if at other non-peak times, or non-school break days.
The only times I’ve often seen last minute travel deals are in the fall season from September to mid-December travel dates. If your schedule allows, and you were not able to plan in advance, then, you can still find some good promotions. But for travel in general, good things do not go to those who wait.