Family Vacation Tips

When is the Best Time to Start Planning a Christmas Vacation?

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 26, 2017 8:00:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

When is the Best Time to Start Planning a Christmas Vacation?Dec. 26 

This is the quick answer. If you want to understand WHY, then please keep reading.

Amid the the post holiday let down, food comas and hangovers, one and/or two major realizations pop into perspective for many people...

1. Gee, we missed spending this Christmas with ________(fill in the blank with your loved one)


2. We spent crazy money on so many crap presents. For all the money we've spent, we could have taken a nice vacation somewhere....That's what we're going to do next Christmas!

Then life happens and both of these noble ideas are forgotten until sometime around early September when you walk into some home improvement store to fetch light bulbs and they are already putting out snowman inflatables and holiday lights. 


By then my's already too late.


If you want to travel next Christmas, you need to book your vacation package NOW before making any New Year's resolutions....EXPECIALLY if this is a family Christmas vacation.

Many of  you may be comparing my advise against other sources on the internet.  You may even read a tip from a notable journalist from a renown travel magazine telling you the cheapest time to buy holiday airline tickets is in November.  As a travel agent who actually books airline tickets every day, I'll tell you this is total poppycock. If you're a single traveler that doesn't mind double connections with short connection times - maybe there is a bit of truth to this. For most rational travelers, this gamble is not worth the savings.

Airlines use "yield Management systems" - complicated computer algorithms that price every airline ticket according to supply and demand. Most airlines publish their airfares and schedules around 9 months in advance of departure. That is when prices are usually the best.  After that the yield management systems kick in and prices constantly adjust based on how fast tickets are selling, local competition on the same routes, group sales and many other factors.  So unless you have a crystal ball or know how to beat Vegas odds, waiting until November to book holiday tickets may leave you disappointed.

Procrastination can also lead to disappointment when it comes to availability.  This is especially true if your holiday travel plans include major tourist destinations like Orlando, Honolulu or Cancun.  This availability issue is compounded if you are traveling as a family.

Remember when I mention that airfares are based on supply and demand?...well so is availability. 

When it comes to family travel, availability revolves around school calendars. Every school across the country is closed over Christmas..and with many other parents coming to the same realizations about missing loved ones and crap toys, this is the reason why you need to book your hotel, resort, cruise and tours so far in advance.  A head's up if you have 3 or more kids, if you're looking for a separate bedroom for parents or even multiple bedrooms - these suites are ALWAYS the first to go!  Again, these types of rooms are in high demand and there is limited availability.


One last thought about supply and demand that I will leave you with is pricing.  Because Christmas week is in such high demand, prices are generally 50-70% higher than other times throughout the year. If price is an issue for either yourself or other families traveling with you, consider celebrating Christmas together at another time of year?  Nothing says you can't get everyone together for a Christmas celebration in July or October. With enough people, you can leverage group discounts making the trip more affordable and fun for everyone.


So instead of sitting on the couch with all your good ideas, put your new years resolutions into gear early and get your Christmas holiday vacations booked NOW.  Start a new holiday tradition.  Next Christmas you'll be surrounded with the people you love watching your family create experiences and memories that they will hold dear in their hearts for many holidays to come!


PS...If you're one of the folks reading this in September after a trip to the home improvement store, contact us now for quotes for NEXT year Christmas that you can share with your family around the holiday table this year and you'll be even farther ahead of the game!


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Topics: family group travel, Family Vacation

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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