The struggle is real. You’re pumped to book your trip but think, “Oh, I have plenty of time. I’ll look at this stuff later.” But later turns into days, which turns into weeks and before you know it you’re last-minute scrambling to find a hotel (they’re mostly booked) and a flight (only the red-eyes and 2+ stops are within your budget). So as you cry into your coffee while you begrudgingly book your last choice, you stay to think “what could I have done to prevent this?”
Well. You could’ve booked in advance. Already know the deal? Start your travel search.
Here are 5 benefits to planning ahead.
1. You’ll get the best options.
Like a fancy restaurant, popular cities can fill up fast. We’ve even made it easier for you to determine how far ahead to book your trip with our When to Fly recommendations in our Travel Hacker Guide. That way, you’ll have a better picture of when it’s the best time to book your flight. For hotels, your destination also determines how far in advance to book. More popular destinations and smaller cities usually have their accommodations fill up fast. Look for hotels that offer free cancellation (we filter for that) and set a Price Alert (here’s how) for the hotels you want. That way, you can continue to track prices and – if you see a significant drop – cancel your original accommodation and rebook a less expensive option. Or, if hotel prices actually start going up, you’re safe, because you already have your room booked.
2. You’ll have time to figure out what’s a good deal.
You know that feeling when you wait to book your flight and see that prices have gone up hundreds of dollars? Ugh, it’s like a punch in the gut. Avoid that sinking feeling by planning ahead. Setting a flight Price Alert will help you track prices on airfare so you know when it goes up or down. But as always, if you think you’ve found a good deal — book it. Our Anywhere tool can help you figure out what a “good deal” actually is from your home airport to your destination.
3. You can play with your itinerary.
When you’ve got the big things settled (your hotel and flight) early-on, this gives you more time to figure out what you’re going to do when you get there. You’ll know exactly when you’re arriving in the city, how long it’ll take to get to your hotel and where your hotel is located within your destination. Start making your plan with KAYAK Trips. You can add events to your itinerary like restaurant and tour reservations, as well as manually input things you want to do. Schedule it by the day or hour, whatever works best.
4. You’ll be able to enjoy that pre-travel buzz.
That excitement that comes with planning a trip? It’s actually making you healthier. Studies show that anticipating a vacation can improve your overall attitude and make you happier. So don’t delay the euphoria. Even something as simple as a weekend getaway can get the dopamine going. Not sure where to go? KAYAK Explore will give you options on your budget.
5. You’ll be prepared from the get-go.
In addition to the excitement you feel, planning your trip well in advance means that other things will fall into place. Knowing you’ll be in Maui in a few weeks means you’re likely to hunker down and get that big work project off your plate before you go away. Or finish that bathroom renovation before it’s time to pack your bags. You’ll even have time to remember things like letting loved ones know where you’ll be, making arrangements for pet and house-sitting, or remembering to tell your credit and debit card companies that you’ll be in a different city.
When everything is done last minute, you’re more likely to forget the essentials or have to “check-in” on projects when you’re away. You’ll also be underprepared to deal with minor setbacks while you’re on your trip. Things like unexpected pre-trip budget changes or losing your ID (thanks, 2am tequila shots) can be better weathered when you have plenty of time before your trip.
Planning your trip ahead of time not only gives you peace of mind, but it also makes you more confident about the journey ahead. Start setting up your next vacation with the right flight, hotel, vacation rental and more.