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Thread: When do you book your lodging?

  1. #1

    When do you book your lodging?

    How far in advance do you book hotels or lodging? I used to always book Airbnb or hotels in advance, but ever since a roadtrip I took in 2015 Iíve started booking hotels no earlier than a week out sometimes even a day or two before my trip. Iíve found I get much better deals waiting last minute. Plus I like that HotelTonight now has a loyalty program.

    Several years ago I think I would have been too anxious to wait until the last minute for lodging. Now I have more of a come what may attitude. I do still try to book flights and transportation in advance though!

    Just curious how many of you wing it or plan entirely?
    Last edited by MonitorSnapShots; February 22nd, 2019 at 03:16 PM. Reason: Fixed typo in title

  2. #2

    Re: When do book your lodging?

    Depends on the type of trip/lodging. If we're staying at a big hotel that isn't likely to fill up then I'll leave it until last minute and watch for price changes. But we tend to stay at B&B's where you choose your specific room out of only a handful so I book those in advance to make sure we get the room we want.

    We've definitely done spur of the moment trips where I've booked everything, including flights/transportation less than a week ahead of time. Not opposed to it.

  3. #3
    Bison Burger Pookie's Avatar
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    Re: When do book your lodging?

    If I'm flying I just book it at the same time as my flight so ~3 weeks beforehand. 3 weeks seems to be a sweet spot for airline pricing except for a couple random things. If I'm not flying probably a week or two beforehand ideally. A day or two beforehand is usually fine but I'm picky about the hotels I stay in so I like having more options.

  4. #4

    Re: When do book your lodging?

    Depends on where and for how long but yeah 1 week to two months

  5. #5

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry VIII View Post
    Depends on the type of trip/lodging. If we're staying at a big hotel that isn't likely to fill up then I'll leave it until last minute and watch for price changes. But we tend to stay at B&B's where you choose your specific room out of only a handful so I book those in advance to make sure we get the room we want.

    We've definitely done spur of the moment trips where I've booked everything, including flights/transportation less than a week ahead of time. Not opposed to it.
    I think that makes a big difference is if you have a particular location or place you want to stay. If youíre okay with any hotel or lodging then booking last minute may result in more competitive prices among multiple hotels.

  6. #6

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pookie View Post
    If I'm flying I just book it at the same time as my flight so ~3 weeks beforehand. 3 weeks seems to be a sweet spot for airline pricing except for a couple random things. If I'm not flying probably a week or two beforehand ideally. A day or two beforehand is usually fine but I'm picky about the hotels I stay in so I like having more options.
    What airline do you usually fly? I feel like once a flight is less than a more than a month out the prices tend to be higher than if you booked 5-8 weeks prior. Maybe it depends on the airline though?

  7. #7

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    Iím going on a trip with my best friend at the end of April, and we already have our flights and resort we are staying at booked.

    Iím currently looking for houses for a trip in September. Given, we are taking the dogs and I have found a good house with a fenced in yard so I will probably book that soon just to ensure that we get it since it fits exactly what/where we want.

    Iíd rather book the place early and then wing the rest of it.

  8. #8

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    i've YOLO'd vacations before where i only booked a flight and a hotel for the first and last day. then everything in between (sometimes even including where in the country i was gonna go lol) was decided and booked on the day of or a few days before. that was nice cuz if i didn't love the area i'd just move on. if i did love it, i'd stay til i was bored. i'd only risk that in off season though. usually i book a couple weeks in advance.

  9. #9

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    Quote Originally Posted by MonitorSnapShots View Post
    What airline do you usually fly? I feel like once a flight is less than a more than a month out the prices tend to be higher than if you booked 5-8 weeks prior. Maybe it depends on the airline though?
    Yeah I’ve been keeping track of pricing for flights to LA and 3 weeks out is actually when I’ve found them to be most expensive. After 3 weeks it seems like the tickets get cheaper if they’re not sold out because airlines would rather not have empty seats
    we have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night

  10. #10

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    With Airbnb, I book as soon as I have travel dates. Maybe it's because I tend to travel to popular places that book up fast, but booking early seems necessary to get a decent place. I've had to wait not long before traveling with airbnbs occasionally because of whatever reason and it seems like I tend to get stuck in less than stellar places because nothing else is available. There's been a couple times when it's been fine, but more often than not, it's usually sucked when I've waited.

    With hotels, I also look around a couple months beforehand and a lot of them allow you to book without paying until you check in and allow you to cancel up to 24-48 hours beforehand. So I usually will book a hotel but keep looking and cancel it if I find something better up till a day or two before.

    Last minute flights always seem to be really expensive lol. I don't think I've ever found a last minute flight deal that was great and I fly pretty often. I usually book about a month out, sometimes more. We're not going to Hawaii till mid May but we booked our flights a couple weeks ago. I did just book a flight 2 days ago for next Friday and the prices sucked (they sucked enough that I'm going to use a buddy pass from a friend that's an airline pilot on the flight out, meaning I have to fly standby which is a risky move generally but especially in the winter!).

  11. #11

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    Wow I am legit getting anxious just thinking about waiting until the last minute.

  12. #12

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    Quote Originally Posted by lolz@yourface View Post
    i've YOLO'd vacations before where i only booked a flight and a hotel for the first and last day. then everything in between (sometimes even including where in the country i was gonna go lol) was decided and booked on the day of or a few days before. that was nice cuz if i didn't love the area i'd just move on. if i did love it, i'd stay til i was bored. i'd only risk that in off season though. usually i book a couple weeks in advance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Atwood View Post
    With Airbnb, I book as soon as I have travel dates. Maybe it's because I tend to travel to popular places that book up fast, but booking early seems necessary to get a decent place. I've had to wait not long before traveling with airbnbs occasionally because of whatever reason and it seems like I tend to get stuck in less than stellar places because nothing else is available. There's been a couple times when it's been fine, but more often than not, it's usually sucked when I've waited.

    With hotels, I also look around a couple months beforehand and a lot of them allow you to book without paying until you check in and allow you to cancel up to 24-48 hours beforehand. So I usually will book a hotel but keep looking and cancel it if I find something better up till a day or two before.
    I generally tend to travel during the off-season so that may be why I feel more open to just winging it. I think if I were traveling during higher peak times for places then it would be a lot riskier to not book in advance. Although it seems the last few vacations that I tried to plan in advance (granted with others) seemed to have all fall apart due to last minute hangups.

  13. #13
    Bison Burger Ennui's Avatar
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    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    I generally like to plan things out as soon as I can so I book things pretty early - and usually just make sure there are free cancellations in case anything comes up.

  14. #14
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    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    Quote Originally Posted by MonitorSnapShots View Post
    What airline do you usually fly? I feel like once a flight is less than a more than a month out the prices tend to be higher than if you booked 5-8 weeks prior. Maybe it depends on the airline though?
    Delta if I’m connecting through Atlanta, American air if I’m connecting through Charlotte. Sometimes JetBlue if they have a direct flight to FL airports or Boston. The Richmond airport doesn’t go anywhere I have to connect usually. I can usually connect through Philly too but I avoid that airport. I always seem to have delays in Philly.

    I never really test out the three week theory that’s just what our travel people at work say is cheapest.

  15. #15

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pookie View Post
    Delta if Iím connecting through Atlanta, American air if Iím connecting through Charlotte. Sometimes JetBlue if they have a direct flight to FL airports or Boston. The Richmond airport doesnít go anywhere I have to connect usually. I can usually connect through Philly too but I avoid that airport. I always seem to have delays in Philly.

    I never really test out the three week theory thatís just what our travel people at work say is cheapest.
    I almost always fly Southwest but sometimes I fly Alaska Airlines or Frontier. I guess Iíll try looking at the 3 week mark to see how the prices compared to what I booked.

  16. #16

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    ^do you ever use google flights? they show flights from most airlines (but not southwest) and still give you links to book directly from the airline's website. they have a useful track prices tool where you can get email updates sent to you when prices change for a particular day and route or for a specific flight or itinerary. their calendar tool which shows you prices for each day of the month depending on trip length, which you can specify, is really helpful and easier to use than the flexible travel calendars airline websites often use.

  17. #17

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    ^ oh also in google flights tips, they use data from previous flight increases and trends to tell you whether it's likely the price will decrease or increase soon and that's helpful

    https://support.google.com/travel/answer/7664728?hl=en

  18. #18

    Re: When do you book your lodging?

    Quote Originally Posted by Atwood View Post
    ^do you ever use google flights? they show flights from most airlines (but not southwest) and still give you links to book directly from the airline's website. they have a useful track prices tool where you can get email updates sent to you when prices change for a particular day and route or for a specific flight or itinerary. their calendar tool which shows you prices for each day of the month depending on trip length, which you can specify, is really helpful and easier to use than the flexible travel calendars airline websites often use.
    Quote Originally Posted by Atwood View Post
    ^ oh also in google flights tips, they use data from previous flight increases and trends to tell you whether it's likely the price will decrease or increase soon and that's helpful

    https://support.google.com/travel/answer/7664728?hl=en
    I have not used Google Flightd because Southwest is my primary airline, I usually only fly another airline if Southwest doesnít serve the destination I want. I love Southwestís bag policy and that they still give free snacks. Google Flights seems like it might be a great tool for international travel so Iíll try playing around with it!

    Currently Southwest is having a sale for spring flights and I checked the tickets for the days Iím flying and my rates are still lower than their current flash sale prices. So I am thinking about 4-5 weeks out is when the prices start going up.

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