My plan, when I retired, was to be able to take advantage of those great “last minute” travel deals.  Guess what? They are not as available or as deeply discounted as I had imagined.  Adding last minute flights to the deal often negates any anticipated savings.  So when is the best time to plan that next great adventure or time relaxing at that tropical beach resort?  At the very least, book six months in advance.  At best, book about a year or more out from your travel date.  Here are the reasons:

  1. Hotels, Cruises and Tour Operators often offer early bird booking rates that can translate into significant savings.  They will also include additional amenities such as included breakfast and free Wi-Fi.
  2. Flight costs increase as you near your travel date.  Often the best rates can be found about a month after the flights first become available. I just booked round trip business class flights to Europe for $2,000 each.  Coach travel can cost that much or more when you wait too long.
  3. It takes time to put together all of the miscellaneous travel arrangements.  Do you need renew your passport?  Do you need a house or pet sitter? 
  4. You will know, far in advance, when the final payment is due. This gives you more time to stash away cash for your vacation.
  5. Finally, you get to pick your choice locations, cruise cabins, hotels, and guides. Instead of settling for an okay travel plan, you get exactly what you want.

So start planning now for that wonderful vacation for this time next year!