Winter is fast approaching and so is the holiday season. By now most people have already started looking for places where they can spend their holiday, and working out the details of their travel. With that in mind, it is important to know the best time to make travel preparations such as booking flights and booking hotels to avoid getting disappointed during this busy season. Booking your flight and hotel on time saves money since you will book when fares are low, and there are competitive offers for the holidays.
Winter Time: Best Time To book Your Flights
It helps to know the best times to book your flights when prices are still low. Although at this point in time the time has passed but, there is a “secret week” that few people know about when prices are very low. During the secret week, you are likely to get better fare rates on your flight.
The secret week is from October 5 until October 12. During this week, prices will be at their lowest before they start hiking during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Most people will be making travel arrangements during that week, and you should not be left out. The benefits of booking flights in advance include:
- Fares being lower compared to when the holiday is at its peak and avoiding the double price hike at high season.
- There are offers for travel packages from different airlines.
- The risk of having a delayed flight is low. When you insist on waiting until the last minute, you might miss the flight you want and get forced to book a later flight that will alter your plans and possibly throw you off budget.
- You save money you can use for other purposes.
All in all, during the holiday season, ensure you book your flights in advance so as to avoid any hiked fares and unnecessary delays during the festive season.
Best Time To Book Your Hotel Accommodation
Other than making flight plans, you will need to make accommodation plans. If you have not planned for your accommodations, then you are in luck since the best time to make your reservations is around the corner. There are different discount offers from different hotels that encourage you to book your accommodation in advance. Waiting until the last minute can turn out to be a disappointment since you might find that all the good places are booked. Finding no available room at the inn is a major let down. To avoid this, there is a way you can know the best time to book your accommodation.
TripAdvisor has analyzed the rate of hotel bookings and pricing over the years. They checked the hotel bookings for the last two weeks of December across the globe. It was discovered that hotel prices are lower during Thanksgiving week. Those going on holiday would save up to 20% on their accommodation fees if they make their reservations during Thanksgiving. Prices would start declining from mid-November with some hotels in New York having reduced their prices by as much as 25%.
If your holiday interests lie in South America or Asia, you can start booking your hotel during September since the prices begin to drop from then. However, you will have to wait until November if you plan on spending your holiday in Africa, the Middle East, and the South Pacific. Those of you intending to go to the Caribbean will not experience much of a price change since TripAdvisor reports that the prices remain steady throughout the year.
The discounts offered by hotels vary in different cities. For instance, if you book your hotel in Barcelona or Cancun in early November, you can save up to 17%. In London, you will save up to 20% when you book your hotel early in the morning. You can get 23% off if you want to spend your holiday in Paris, 20% in Rome and up to 35% for those going to Berlin this festive season.
In the United States, prices vary among different cities. Here are the rates for the popular tourist destinations over the winter holiday season.
- In Chicago, hotel prices begin falling from October, and you can save up to 28% compared to when the prices peak.
- In New York, travelers save up to 25% when they book in mid-September until mid-November.
- In Orlando, you should be more careful when making your accommodation arrangements since prices vary weekly. The best time to book hotels is early in the year since there is a lot of demand for the place during the holidays. However, if you are late, you can make your reservations in late October and November when the prices have not reached their peak.
- San Francisco is a friendly city when it comes to hotel accommodations. Hotel rates begin falling around mid-September. If you consider this too early for you, you can make your bookings during Thanksgiving week, and prices also drop during December.
- In Philadelphia, the best time to make holiday reservations is from March to May. That is when the prices are lowest. You can make reservations around mid-October or November since winter is one of the best seasons to visit the City of Brotherly Love.
Looking Out For Hidden Fees
However, even with the reduced rates, you should think about hidden hotel fees. These are extra charges made by hotels. During the festive season, some hotels are prone to overcharging customers when it comes to hidden charges and this year the charges are expected to be higher than previous years. Here are some of the hidden charges to be on the lookout for when you book your hotel.
- An all-inclusive resort fee
- Reservation cancellation fee
- Internet charges
- Telephone call surcharges
- Automatic gratuities
- Fees for receiving and sending faxes
- Fees for receiving packages
- Restocking the mini-bar
- Baggage holding fees
- Fees for safes found in the room
To prevent yourself from paying extra bills, you will need to do the following things.
- If you are booking your hotel over the phone, ask the person the fee charges on the property. In case any bill is included, and you were not informed over the phone, ask to have it removed.
- Since most travelers are booking online, it is advisable to ask to be sent an email that tells you the mandatory charges. Keep a copy of all communications since you might need them when you find a charge that was not on the list.
- Ensure you are well informed of the charges. Some of the extra charges are mandatory, and you will have to pay whether you have used the services or not.
- Be prepared to have your bill cancellation request denied. It is difficult to have a bill removed unless you are being charged with something unfair.
These charges vary by the hotel you are staying in. Sometimes the more expensive a hotel is, the higher these charges will be.
The holiday season is supposed to be spent having fun. If you are not planning on spending your holiday at home, book your flights in advance to avoid the hiked fares. Be on the lookout for the right time to book your accommodation. These tips will guide you on the best times to book your accommodation and how to avoid unnecessary charges during your stay.