A frequently asked question, and the simplest answer is that the sooner you start the process, the better, but here are some guidelines to help you start thinking about your next getaway…
Trip planning should begin anywhere from 3- 24 months in advance.
A trip to the Maldives, an African Safari, or a European summer should be planned at least 18 months in advance. Consider luxury, boutique lodging with limited availability or multi-destination itineraries that may require a few proposal revisions to find the perfect trip for you.
Think Villas, Castle, Multi-Family Rentals. If your trip involves rare experiences, famous guides, destination restaurants, or other non-negotiables – then you’ll want to be planning over a year in advance. This remains true for destinations that are now limiting visitors like Machu Picchu or Antarctica.
Milestone trips: should be planned at least a year in advance for the best lodging, airfare, and activities. This will also leave you enough time to learn about the destination (culture, language, customs) before you travel so you can feel fully immersed in the destination by the time of travel.
Holiday Season: Prices are already high and will only rise as inventory runs out. This is especially true during the Christmas or Thanksgiving seasons, but you may be able to plan Spring Break 6-9 months in advance. Still one of the most popular vacation times for families or anyone looking to get away from the cold.
Cruises: With early booking incentives (shipboard credits) it’s best to plan over a year in advance. Plan ahead of time for expedition or river cruises to ensure availability for shore excursions and pre/post activities. If you are traveling in a large group or as a family, this will give you a wider range of cabin options.
*If traveling to the Southern Hemisphere (Australia, South America, South Africa), their summer is over Christmas and New Years, creating a double peak season if traveling during the summer and holiday season.
Peak Season & Summer Travel: This is prime time, particularly in the United States and Europe.
Famous destinations such as the Amalfi Coast and the Greek Islands are beautiful this time of year, but they are on many people’s bucket lists, so start planning early to secure the resort of your dreams.
Weekend Getaways: Short stays typically do not require as much notice as long as you remain flexible with activity, dining, and spa appointments.
As you can see, there is a lot to think about when it comes to the simple question of when is the best time to start planning. Destination, budget, length of your trip, and any non-negotiable should all be factors in this personal decision.
Personally, I plan my trips 6+ months in advance, but I prefer to travel in shoulder season (not peak) to avoid crowds and score better pricing.
As a travel advisor, I prefer to book the foundation of your trip 12 months in advance (lodging, tours), and then add rental cars and transportation 6 months before departure. We will confirm spa, dining, and special requests within the next three months. These requests will be accepted at different times by each destination. You should book your luau in Hawaii 6 months in advance, but the Greek islands rarely accept beach club reservations more than 2 months in advance. The goal is to have all of the pieces of your trip confirmed and outlined on your itinerary for us to review 30 days in advance.
This will include local contact information in case of any unexpected needs while traveling. Of course, my clients have access to me before, during, and after their trip as well!
My job is to elevate your travel experience, and part of that is having enough time to work with in-destination partners and offer you the best lodging, guides, and dining for your travel style. This, like all good things, takes time. Allow us to make your experience unforgettable by working with an expert to plan your next rip, keeping the above timeline in mind to ensure we can create the experience of your dreams.