When’s the Best Time to Start Planning a Trip?

So we just celebrated New Year’s and are now our first few weeks into the new year.

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How many of you set a New Year’s resolution to travel more this year? Or perhaps to take that one big trip you’ve been dreaming of for the past decade?

Well, first of all, if you didn’t set such a goal, you totally should.

And second of all, for those of you who did make some travel goals for this year, you might be wondering when you should start planning your trip(s).

Well, here’s the answer: the sooner the better!

Well, kind of.

Planning early is important because the earlier you start, the more likely you are to get cheaper prices, because costs typically are higher the closer you are to your travel date.

Like one of our readers, Mary, commented, “What I usually do is to try to book as much in advance as possible, in order to get cheaper rates.”

So from our experience and hers, it’s definitely a good idea to start planning early.

But at the same time, planning too far in advance sometimes isn’t possible, because many airlines and accomodations allow people to make reservations only so far in advance.

For example, if you look at Google Flights in the middle of January, it only lets you book into the beginning of December—so only about eleven months in advance.

Similar patterns occur across other reservation platforms as well.

So the best time to start booking a trip seems to be about a year in advance.

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Of course, you can always start researching and planning more generally much earlier than that.

Another Option

But what if you didn’t start planning a year in advance but you’ve set that New Year goal to take a trip sometime earlier this year?

Well, another great (and perhaps more realistic) option is to start planning all your trips for the year right now—at the beginning of the year in January.

That’s because one of the most important things you can do to make sure you actually accomplish that goal is to plan for it in your budget.

And like we’ve said before, having a yearly budget is an extremely helpful step into making travel a reality in your life.

One of the biggest things that holds many people back from traveling is not having the funds required to take the trips they want.

But if you plan and carve out a certain amount of your income in advance, you should be able to save up for some traveling in the upcoming year.

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And if you can’t afford to pay for the trips just now, you can at least start looking ahead and planning so that you know approximately how much money you’ll need to set aside each month to have enough to pay for your trip when the time comes.

And that way, if you have your trip(s) planned out at the beginning of the year, everything is in place and ready to go, so you’re not scrambling or coming up short at the last minute.

We’re actually in the process of planning three (maybe four) trips for this year right now. It feels SO good to find flights as cheap as $187 round-trip from LA to Orlando and hotels 30% cheaper than they usually are.

Planning trips early right now makes it possible for us to take them, when we’d never be able to afford them otherwise.

So go for it—jump in right now and start booking your trip(s) for the year, or at least start planning and saving for them.

Who says you can’t accomplish your New Year’s resolutions? 😉

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