Is planning a vacation last minute a good idea? No. Not if you really are trying to have your best experience. I think many people either don’t realize that planning in advance can work to their advantage, or they believe that all the best deals are found last minute. That’s simply not true. Planning in advance allows you to craft the perfect trip to suit your tastes, and gives you access to everything your trip should encompass. You aren’t settling, you are able to set the tone for your perfect trip.
So, the question to ask is when is the optimal time to start planning your next vacation? There are 3 main things to consider when deciding how far in advance you should begin planning, and booking all the necessary components.
1. Where you are going. Ideal planning times firstly depend on the destination. International trips require more lead time than domestic trips, and trips to Europe should be booked far in more in advance than a trip to the Caribbean. Oftentimes, this mirrors the timeline for ideal flight purchasing guidelines as well. (Do you have my information guide on that? You can grab it HERE)
2. What season you are traveling in. Most places will have a definitive high season, low season, and an in between called shoulder season. The busyness of high season requires advanced planning for obvious reasons, and shoulder season as well, even at a slightly lesser degree. If you are traveling to a destination during low season, this is when you have a lot more leeway.
3. How much you care about creating your ideal experience. What normally happens when you book last minute, especially during high or shoulder season, is that you are not able to plan your perfect trip, you are settling for what’s left. I’ve put together a great proposal for a trip a few times this year, only to have to come back the next day and say that the last room was booked at a particular property, or that unique experience no longer has availability.
I feel like this year I have become the master of last minute vacation planning. But that doesn’t mean I in any way recommend it. If it’s a decision between last minute and not traveling, then let’s make it happen! But if you have the opportunity, planning ahead will be your best bet.