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Do you book (many) of your leisure trips in advance?

Do you book (many) of your leisure trips in advance?

Old Nov 18, 16, 2:52 pm
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Do you book (many) of your leisure trips in advance?

Do you book (many) of your leisure trips in advance?

I am retired, but used to fly at least 2x month for work.
I still am a wanderer and can not stay at home base for more than a month.
Just returned from a short November trip to my country of birth and booked:

A one week air trip to Chiang Mai for my January birthday with a one week car rental.

A March one week booking in my preferred Cha Am hotel with air ticket for the 3 of us UTH-DMK, my little one loving the huge swimming pool and having a one hour pony ride every day.

A late April-late May ticket to Europe.

That's not bad for the upcoming 6 months. I refrain from planning any further.
We usually book something over Christmas, but decided this time to stay home because of the January trip.
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Old Nov 18, 16, 3:05 pm
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Usually book in advance if flights/hotels are involved. I used to be a big fan of the weekly "netsavers" type emails for close-in trips, but those emails haven't had attractive airfares in them for about a decade.

If it's a long trip, I'm probably looking for J/F seats and very good hotels. Thus I'm booking early to get availability - often for 2 or 4 seats per flight. I've found that the old 330-day rule isn't as applicable anymore, but planning 6 months in advance is helpful to finding good routes and dates.

If it's a short trip or one where I'm just looking for cheap Y tickets and unremarkable hotels, it can be in the 6-8 week range assuming it isn't a peak travel period.
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Old Nov 18, 16, 10:38 pm
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We don't tend to plan, if you can really call it plan, anything further than a month out generally speaking. We have done trips where we book a week in advance for a trip of a couple months. We're... fickle.
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Old Nov 19, 16, 12:29 am
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Due to some changes at work just now is a bit unusual for me as I only have two booked, out until April 2017. Within the next week or two I would expect to be back to normal and have another two or three major trips booked.

That doesn't stop me booking more at short notice when I have a few days to spare.
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Old Nov 19, 16, 12:33 am
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Originally Posted by tartempion View Post
Do you book (many) of your leisure trips in advance?

I am retired, but used to fly at least 2x month for work.
I still am a wanderer and can not stay at home base for more than a month.
Just returned from a short November trip to my country of birth and booked:

A one week air trip to Chiang Mai for my January birthday with a one week car rental.

A March one week booking in my preferred Cha Am hotel with air ticket for the 3 of us UTH-DMK, my little one loving the huge swimming pool and having a one hour pony ride every day.

A late April-late May ticket to Europe.

That's not bad for the upcoming 6 months. I refrain from planning any further.
We usually book something over Christmas, but decided this time to stay home because of the January trip.
I always book several months in advance.
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Old Nov 19, 16, 5:27 am
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I always book several months in advance, I find it beneficial for:
- my budget, as advance bookings are often cheaper
- availability, as I want to make sure this room with the sea view will not be sold already
- I am obliged to travel during peak periods only
- planning a trip is already beginning the trip, somehow, so it is always a pleasure.
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Old Nov 19, 16, 5:09 pm
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Owning my own business means I have to plan ahead. I usually book trips 3 to 6 months ahead and have to go away when it is not as busy or when I have the staff to cover me.
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Old Nov 19, 16, 10:19 pm
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Being a freelance pianist, I'm never sure when the next big gig is going to be. I'd love to jump on an F award 330 days out but the opportunity cost could be in the hundreds or thousands if I get offered something lucrative with only a month's notice.

So I generally plan vaguely a few months ahead for a big annual trip of a month. I'll put stuff on hold but I don't lock in until I absolutely have to (thanks, KE award holds!). I don't firm things up until 4 to 6 weeks out.

Occasionally I have two stretches of lots of work planned in advance and can use those to book-end a month off when I don't mind giving up a few odd dates, but that's rare.

Seth
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Old Nov 19, 16, 10:44 pm
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Usually my "vacation" flights are booked months in advance vs my travelling for the sake of travelling flights that happen 2 months in advance at the latest.
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Old Nov 20, 16, 12:06 am
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Far-away vacations often 3-9 months in advance (to get reasonable price during the busy school vacation week). Nearby trips some weeks before. Have also done many "hey, here is a sale to <some place I'd like to visit> tomorrow, let's go", for weekend trips.

Quite often I travel for leisure to attend some event/museum special/exhibition/tour/etc which sometimes sell out, so when it becomes available (often 6+ months in advance) buy the ticket and flights. Hotel I usually book a month or so before the trip.

I find that having a vacation(s) booked even long time in the future makes me already anticipate the trip and makes me happier.

A few times had to cancel vacation plans due to important work commitments coming up, but I just let it go (after canceling anything refundable). It is cheaper to buy non-refundable and sometimes let it go, than booking refundable tickets (same for work travel).

For the school vacation weeks I do agree in advance (even 12+ months in advance) to have vacation from work that week.
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Old Nov 20, 16, 5:04 am
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I book sometimes a year in advance for larger trips. Trips coming up I booked a year in advance....

BLI-KOA 11/26-12/03 (probably 6 months in advance when they announced it)
SEA-PVR 12/29-1/3
SEA-CUN 01/27-2/09
SEA-OGG-KOA 5/15-5-26

Normally my trips for the year start on NYE, so in Feb I book most of my vacations.

Then as sales happen, I throw in shorter 3 night trips. Usually SEA-LAS or SEA-PSP. I have to travel at least once a month or I start getting antsy.
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Old Nov 20, 16, 4:03 pm
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I'm a real mix as well, with the biggest stuff (longer distance, more days) being done in advance, but also a lot of fare-driven 2- or 3-dayers. This year I'll probably have a new record in number of trips though not number of days away.

On something like the $179 MIA-UIO-MIA this year or the big Etihad Christmas day sale the year before (biggest trip from that was to the Seychelles), the lead time is important for research and planning and clearing the days.

OTOH, for bottom fishing someone like Frontier, usually the 2-4 week window is where it's at. Two nights ago I booked a Las Vegas midweek at $70 RT with only 24 hours on the ground for early December at $70 RT for the flight and about $27 a-i each for the car & hotel (making sure to get a place without a resort fee). The carrot was 2X and 3x mileage deals that'll earn 8,500 RDMs, or about 40-45% of a free ticket.

It's also sometimes possible to book the rock-bottomest F9 fares for 2-3 months out on some sales, but I don't tend to do that because some other, bigger deal has a way of coming up later. For the real cheapies it's better to have the near-term schedule clarity.
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Old Nov 20, 16, 5:58 pm
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"Horses for courses," as the British say. I've done everything from walking up to the counter to buy same-day flights and hotel stays, to reserving them 13 months in advance. It depends on the trip. When it seems like finding reasonable accommodations last-minute will be easy I prefer to leave my options open and my schedule flexible. When things need to be booked well in advance to guarantee availability and/or an affordable price, I book as far in advance as needed.
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Old Nov 21, 16, 9:10 am
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Hugely variable. Being married to a teacher, the times we can go away (apart from weekends away, of course) are rather strictly limited (and the most expensive times of year!) But as for deciding how far we want to go, what our flexibility is, how we fit around other things... Hugely variable. I've booked (main) holidays 9 months out, and I've booked holidays 9 days out. I've booked weekends away a few hours out before.

Thanks in part to this site, I've learnt so many tricks about getting redemption availability, cheap flights, cheap accommodation, etc, that I can do so with little quality/price impact. The only variable is where places are in *very* high demand, you need to book early to guarantee being able to get there (although you can always take your chances with late availability opening up if you're flexible). Oh, and visas/medication for more exotic regions.
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Old Nov 21, 16, 9:14 am
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It depends on the trip. The trip I returned from yesterday, I did the initial booking in November 2014 (transatlantic cruise). But I'm also traveling to see family this weekend and that was booked end of October. And I took a weekend trip to Seattle in October that was booked 3 weeks out.
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