Travel: Is January really the best month to book a vacation?


Tour operators, hotels and airlines urge us to make a bargain, and the thought of giving yourself an exotic diary getaway is very appealing in one of the bleakest months of the year.

“As we enter the New Year, Blue Monday and winter weather, it’s no surprise that January is always a popular time to book a vacation,” says Sebastien Texier, travel expert for Hopper (

But is now really the best time to secure a summer getaway – or could you save money by waiting for a last-minute deal down the road?

We asked travel experts to weigh in for their tips on how to get the most out of the January sales…

Book early to avoid disappointment

The travel gurus are unanimous: there is no time to waste if you want to spend your dream vacation at the lowest possible price.

“Be sure to get in and book quickly,” suggests Cat Jones, founder and CEO of Byway (

She says the past two years have been “complete chaos” with people waiting for the middle of the year to book their summer vacation. “People say, ‘I’ll probably be able to go somewhere in Europe in August,’ but that’s just not possible.”

Lee Thompson, co-founder of personal travel company Flash Pack (, agrees, saying, “Delaying your booking until the end of the year means you have fewer options and may have to choose lower quality hotels at a much higher price” . price in destinations that are not so exclusive.

“For example, tickets for our April trip to see Japan’s popular cherry blossoms are nearly sold out. In fact, about 20% of all our January bookings are for next December.”

Indeed, if you can plan ahead for 2024 now, things will go even better for you, Texier says: “The cheapest time to get a holiday deal is usually around the end of the year—November and December—when demand is at its lowest. .”

But you can still take advantage of the New Year’s discount for this summer, he says, citing a European city break as an example: “Prices for trips to Krakow or Berlin will increase by 30% until April.”

Compare Before Buying

“A warning about so-called deals,” says Jesse Moore, founder of luxury travel blog Pocket Wanderings (

“Often travel companies inflate prices after Christmas only to then add a big discount. So while it may seem like you’re getting a lot, that’s not always the case.”

That’s why it’s important to compare prices rather than jumping at the first offer you see. “My best advice is to just shop around so you can evaluate whether you are really getting a good deal or not,” says Moore.

Planes, trains and sustainable travel

If you’re not opting for a package holiday, Thompson says it’s best to look at flights first. “Flights are very expensive right now, so finding the best deals through companies like Jack’s Flight Club ( will help you choose where you can go at a price you can afford.”

Some airlines use dynamic pricing, which means that ticket prices fluctuate in advance of departure. Texier advises: “Some apps and websites allow you to set price alerts for the destinations and dates you want to travel to, so you always know when vacations are cheapest for your dates.”

If you’re looking to take a low-carbon route, it’s worth knowing that popular train routes can sell out months in advance.

“The demand for sleeper trains has skyrocketed over the past year or two,” says Jones. “(Rail companies) are introducing new routes, but there aren’t enough yet to meet existing demand – if you can book tickets in January, you can (hopefully) catch those trains.”

Hotels and booking sites

There is one exception to the “always book early” rule, Moore says, and that’s for hotels. “Aggregator sites like often offer a 24 to 72 hour cancellation policy option. As a result, hotels often cancel bookings at the last minute, opening up the possibility of cheaper stays to last-minute bookings.”

However, there are some advantages to booking rooms directly with the hotel.

“Booking sites charge hotels huge fees, so hotels will go out of their way to encourage you to book direct, and that often means better rates,” continues Moore. “If you find a lower price elsewhere, I recommend contacting the hotel to see if they will match the price.”

You’re also more likely to get an upgrade if you book directly, but on the other hand, you can take advantage of loyalty schemes on booking sites: “They often have their own loyalty programs that will save you money in the long run.” if you book with them regularly, which means you are not limited to one specific hotel brand to earn loyalty points.”

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