Book early or last minute – what's more worthwhile?

Same question every year: Should I book my vacation as early as possible – or better wait until the last minute?

What speaks for booking early?

On the one hand, the early bird discounts , which many tour operators grant until the end of March or even April. There may be discounts of up to 40 percent in it. Especially for families and other tourists, who have to travel in the expensive high season, an early decision can be financially very worthwhile – especially if it should go to countries that are in great demand, such as Spain, Portugal or Germany.

Nevertheless, one should always compare : The consumer advice center has found that the regular prices of one organizer can be lower than the cheaper ones of another. You should check exactly what services are included in the price – such as airport transfers or drinks in the club hotel.

On the other hand, it is clear: If you book early, you have a much wider selection of accommodation and flights – even in the trendy regions. So if you have very precise ideas on where to go and what a hotel should offer, book as early as possible!

Does something also speak against it?

Like everything else in life, early book keeping has its drawbacks: you get stuck in the long run and can not easily change your plans. If you have to cancel the trip at short notice, high cancellation fees are sometimes due. However, they can be partially mitigated or avoided by a travel expense cancellation insurance. Often organizers also grant the holidaymakers in the fine print the right to sell a package holiday to someone else. This option is called “Name Change” or “Name Change”. Portals like help against a commission on sale.

Another disadvantage: The developments in the travel country – such as political upheavals or natural disasters – are difficult to predict months before departure. Occurrences of this kind are usually no reason for resignation. Political developments can also drop the travel prices massively, without benefiting, because you have already booked. That was the case in Turkey in recent years.

Also good to know: Down payments of 25 percent and more for a package holiday are inadmissible, which has decided the Federal Court (BGH). The remaining sum must be due at least 30 days before departure.

And what about last minute?

Travelers who are flexible in their destination and travel period can still find real last-minute bargains. However, last-minute trips may not be sold until 14 days before departure. This means that you risked especially at peak time, only to be able to select among shopkeepers .

Anyone who is prepared to travel to countries that are not in great demand at the moment may still have a relatively large choice. Last-minute deals are most attractive in the holiday regions, where demand has plummeted surprisingly compared to last year. Underutilized hotels and airlines massively reduce their prices for rooms and tickets – and pass the discounts on to the organizers as well.

“HolidayCheck” points out that last-minute deals tend to decline , as tour operators are increasingly flexible in planning to take fewer risks. Therefore, there are generally fewer remaining contingents that are offered last-minute.

What suits me?

Ultimately, it is a question of type, whether you better early or last minute booked: If you need planning security and long-planned, should set as early as possible and take out a travel cancellation insurance with a high travel price.

If you are flexible and open to surprises, you can also book just before departure and benefit from high last-minute discounts – and with luck, enjoy an exciting bargain holiday.

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