All in the timing…
It’s possibly one of the most frequently-asked questions for us as travel agents: when’s the best time to book my holiday to get the best deal? Do you book early or last minute? When are specials usually released?
Don’t rely on the internet for answers. In fact there’s only one person who can answer this with any authority - your travel agent.
Travel agents have taken a beating in recent years in the media and especially on social media with questions of whether traditional “bricks and mortar” agents are still a significant entity over newer online agents. Why should you use a travel agent when you can go online and do it yourself? The answer is simple, experience.
Your travel agent is trained and experienced to know when the best time to book is; they know to recognise a good deal, a great deal or the “too good to be true so it must be dodgy deal”. Your travel agent also knows when the specials are usually released and so can advise when the best time to book is.
We had recently quoted a client a return airfare to the US East Coast. The client then advised us they found a cheaper fare online. They soon came back to us however as when they looked closer at the airfare they found that the online cheapie involved three flight transits across the US including an overnight stop in the Midwest.
So their cheaper fare, whilst on the surface looked like it was less money, actually worked out dearer when taking into account time wasted on the ground and overnight hotels.
Right now you’ll see early bird deals for Europe advertised everywhere for travel in 2018. With so many fares in the market at the moment, your travel agent can sort out the fares and all the rules and get the best fare to suit you and your itinerary.
Why buy a really cheap airfare if it doesn’t get you anywhere near where you want to be and takes an exhausting 48 hours to get there? We know of some clients that have jumped too early and booked online and not waited until the best deals were out, for fear of missing out on a great deal.
We encouraged them to wait but the temptation and the fear of missing out was overwhelming, and when the early birds came out it was too late as they’d already committed to the flights with heavy penalties involved. We have clients who plan in advance and then we leave the details on file of the required itinerary until the right deal is out to suit them, and we contact them. As an agent we offer personal service so you get the right deal for you. We do the hard work so you don’t have to.
So when should you book for your holiday for the best deals? The best idea would be to discuss your plans with your travel agent well in advance and get planning.
For travel to Europe during the northern summer of July to September, you definitely should book during our early bird season which runs from now through to December, for travel the following year, usually from about April through to October.
For travel anywhere during school holidays you should book at least 6-8 months in advance, especially to the top holiday spots of Bali, Fiji, and Pacific islands. Think at least three school holiday periods ahead. So if in April you haven’t booked your school holidays for September you may not be ending up with the best deals.
For travel during the Christmas/ January holidays you need to book at least eight to 10 months in advance, especially if departing the few days or so before Christmas Day.