We know summer is barely cold in its grave, and preparations for the fall season remain underway, but you may be already thinking of your winter holidays.
With flight prices having skyrocketed and international trips becoming prohibitively expensive, you may have developed a habit of booking vacations a lot earlier, sometimes many months in advance, in order to benefit from cheaper prices.
In a way, it’s like clothing. You don’t buy fur coats in the dead of winter, right? Instead, you get them in summer, when demand for winter clothes is essentially inexistent, and items can be found at discounted prices across several retail shops.
If you’re thinking of booking your winter vacay in the off-season, that’s indeed a very smart move, but if you were wondering when exactly – after all, we have three to four months leading up to winter – this travel expert may have just the answer.
And yes, we’re talking about an actual deadline to book those flights:
First, What Is Going On With The Travel Industry?
Summer 2023 was marked by sharp spikes in airfares, especially for Transatlantic routes, some of the most sought-after following the worldwide resumption of tourism.
Travelers who had not planned their summer getaways a few months in advance were faced with a tough choice: either spend an exorbitant amount of money on any available seats left or wait for miraculous, last-minute affordable deals that could, or could not come.
Yeah, we wouldn’t bank on the latter, either.
This was surely no enviable position to be in, especially when traveling abroad is already cripplingly expensive these days – some European destinations are experiencing price hikes as high as 15 percent year-on-year, affecting locals and tourists alike.
Needless to say, we’re heading into a worryingly similar scenario as the end of the year approaches, when both ski and tropical destinations are set to make a comeback and explode in demand.
Whether you will be escaping to bright, sunny Mexico or cozying up to your loved ones in a wooden cottage up in the Swiss Alps, one thing is for certain: you better be prepared to shell out the dough, as it won’t be cheap.
Costs Just Keep Increasing
Last season, a survey led by CH Media claimed the cost of skiing is ‘rising’, with multi-day and season passes having risen between 6% and 13% in a single year, and restaurants, hotels, and reception centers pushing prices up to try and offset electricity costs.
If it’s a sunny break you’re after, you should know that in Los Cabos, currently the trendiest destination in Mexico, overnight rates average $600, and they are unlikely to go down anytime soon – the same applies to most of the wider Caribbean.
You get our point: going abroad isn’t as ‘cheap’ or ‘doable’ as it used to be prior to 2019, and more often than not, you will end up paying substantially high rates for accommodation when traveling to some of the world’s top hotspots this winter.
So why not try and at least save on flights?
We Have A Date For You
According to Hayley Berg, an economist at Hopper, a leading airfare tracker, you should book your major holiday travel by October 14.
As Berg stated, it is the ‘sweet spot’, and travelers should book not only their Thanksgiving trip, but also Christmas up until that date not to miss out ‘on the best prices’.
Berg’s statement seems to corroborate previous findings shared by Expedia, which concluded that this fall, airfares have dropped considerably compared to summer, with some European destinations reporting decreases of between 35% and 40%.
Booking winter flights from September through mid-October is truly your best bet at saving money on tickets, with Hopper adding that domestic flights are currently on a downward trend, though this is only temporary.
Bergen reiterates that when the holiday season starts, international airfare will not only bounce back up but will be ‘higher’ than pre-crisis levels.
In her view, travelers who are planning on leaving the country over winter should either get tickets up to mid-October or look instead at domestic or ‘regional’ routes. Namely, days preceding national holidays.
What Travelers Themselves Have To Say
You should do it like Courtney Pohlman, a Chicago native interviewed by CBS News, who revealed that, as she packed for her Labor Day trip to the paradisaical Dominican Republic, she had already reserved seats on a Christmas flight to Paris.
Polhman stated they were cheap, so she bought them. Other interviewees like LeRoy Fletcher and Denise Brown-Fletcher also booked their winter trip around ‘late September’, a move the experts applaud.
‘The idea is to get your reservation two months out as far as pricing is concerned’, Fletcher offered.
Finally, the experts recommended that, when scouring the internet for cheap flights, travelers stay flexible in their travel dates and destinations – go wherever’s cheapest, on the cheapest possible date, and let the destination pick you, not the other way round – and avoid ‘traditionally busy days’.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com