When is the best time to book my winter break vacation?

If you’re thinking about booking a winter break vacation, but aren’t quite sure when to start, the following information is meant for you. Obviously, you don’t want to wait until the last minute, unless it’s a spur-of-the-moment trip. Waiting increases the chances of higher rates and reduced availability, unless you have the luck of the travel gods on your side.

As a general rule, SmarterTravel.com recommends that (for the best deals) you begin planning as early as September and no later than November. This typically gives you or your travel agent plenty of leeway to make all of the arrangements… including time to pack.


Speaking of travel agents, using one to plan a winter break or any other vacation is a wise decision. Not only will it save you time, it will save you money as well. Here are a few reasons why.

The Service Is Free
Utilizing the services of a knowledgeable travel agent is free for your winter break vacation. Honestly, how much better does it get? An agent makes money by way of commissions, paid out by the various travel vendors that he or she uses to plan each vacation. You never pay the agent a penny for travel-related expertise, no matter how long it takes to put everything together.

With all of the online, DIY, reservation options available today, you might think that travel agencies are a dying breed. Not so! According to U.S. News Travel, the American Society of Travel Agents continue to book an excess of 144 million trips per year.

Say Yes to Perks
Travel agents have excellent connections! It’s generally not that difficult for them to rustle up travel perks for their clients. These extras include things like complimentary meals, attraction tickets and more affordable prices then you could get on your own. Remember, in cases like this,  it’s not necessarily who you know, it’s who your travel agent knows.

Emergency Assistance
Of course, no one likes to think of a vacation gone wrong. However, it does happen. In the unlikely event that a problem occurs, a knowledgeable travel agent is ready and willing to do whatever is necessary to help you rectify the situation as quickly and stress-free as possible.

Ski Trip Exceptions
Planning a ski trip? If so, making reservations in August is to your advantage. This is especially true, when you’ll be traveling to a popular winter break destination such Aspen or Vail. Bookings in both cities fill up fast. In the event that August comes and goes, in the blink of an eye, don’t panic! Colorado alternatives include:

  • Powderhorn
  • Arapahoe Basin
  • Monarch Mountain
  • Eldora
  • and Sunlight

These five family-friendly destinations are known to some as “diamonds in the rough.” They are all unique in their own right, offering charm, beauty and authentic Western hospitality.

Winter Break Cruise Packages
Another winter break booking exception has to do with reserving a cabin on a cruise ship. Popular cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival advertise promotions up to 18 months in advance. It some cases, even sooner than that. So, to get the deepest discounts, the most perks and the most desirable cabin location, it’s recommended that you book at least a year in advance.

In conclusion, planning a winter trip goes much smoother when you do so no later than November. There’s nothing more disheartening than arriving at your destination to find uncomfortable accommodations and/or little to do in the way of activities and family fun. Remember, the sooner you get started, the more exciting and affordable choices you have for your winter break vacation!

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