When is the best time to buy a vacation package to get the best deal?
February 23, 2008 6:25 AM   Subscribe

When is the best time to buy a vacation package to get the best deal?

A friend and I are planning a week's all-inclusive resort vacation for March, and we're starting to get psyched out trying to figure out when to pull the trigger and buy the tickets to get the best deal. We missed one good deal already, and now it seems like the number of options available are rapidly diminishing and increasing in price. Can we expect prices to fall again closer to the travel date? We're flexible enough to be okay with last-minute options but worried that these much-ballyhooed last-minute deals might be more myth than reality. If it matters, we're in Toronto hoping to go to the Mayan riviera in Mexico but we'd consider going somewhere else if a great deal came up.
posted by sevenyearlurk to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think computerized booking has pretty much finished the last minute deal. It's a lot easier for companies to fill their capacity exactly; and even with cancellations, the Internet means that's it easier to find someone to take the place instead.

I wouldn't count on prices falling at the last minute, just find a deal you can live with now.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:52 AM on February 23, 2008

If the flight (for hypothetical reasons) leaves on a Saturday, you can find deals up to maybe the monday or tuesday, after that it dies off quickly. You can definitely get last minute deals, the only problem is selection will decrease dramatically.
posted by furtive at 6:56 AM on February 23, 2008

Trying to book a last minute deal in March is really bad timing. In the GTA, the different school districts take March break at different times, so you're almost always competing with traveling families for airline tickets and packages. Spring Break in American universities also runs across much of March. Basically, at this point, you're just going to see availability drop like a stone from now until after Easter, and you're not likely to see much in the way of last minute deals at a time when most resorts are fully booked.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:19 AM on February 23, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all! We booked yesterday. For future trips I'll try to plan my vacation for a less popular month!
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:27 AM on February 25, 2008

Response by poster: Just a follow up... my friend checked prices again yesterday, and the price on the same hotel package we booked has now dropped by $200+. So even in a busy month it looks like waiting can be a good idea.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 8:52 AM on March 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

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