|by Budget Travel||Real Deals, Airfares & Flying, Hotels||21|
If you find yourself humming the classic Frank Loesser tune “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” this time of year (or watching the sublime music video by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon–Levitt), you may be onto something. If America’s travel agents are to be believed, it’s time to start thinking about your holiday travel plans.
The Travel Leaders Group (a travel company that encompasses one–third of all American travel agents) polled more than 600 U.S.–based agents recently and reports that bookings are on par or ahead of last year at this time. Agents recommend that in order to lock in good value and make sure you don’t get crowded out of flights and hotels, you should book Thanksgiving, year–end, and even spring break trips now if you haven’t already. Agents reported that the major drawbacks of booking later include fewer airplane seats, higher airfares, and, to a lesser extent, higher hotel and resort rates.
While agents recommend that you book flights at least six months in advance, nearly 50 percent of them reported that their clients tend to book Thanksgiving travel three to four months in advance, and nearly 70 percent of their clients book year–end trips three to four months in advance.
Let’s be honest, travel agents are ALWAYS going to recommend that you book as early as possible—their livelihood depends on it. But we’d love to hear how you’re handling your holiday travel plans this year, and whether you have any hard–won wisdom about when and how to book flights and hotels.
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