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What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

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What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

We are planning our first trip to Venice/Rome over the holiday season, Dec 22-Jan 3, 2011/2012.

We've already been to Italy four times but every time it has been in March. Of course, the first year we went we booked our hotels in Sept, then the next year in Nov and the last couple of years just winging it and as late as Jan.

Since we are going over the holidays I would like to start booking NOW, yes 11 months in advance but my husband thinks it is still too soon.

It's been two years since we've been to Rome so part of me is just super excited about the planning , especially our New Year’s celebration.

What's the earliest you've booked, just curious if I'm the only crazy one out there.

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1. Re: What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

I booked all our hotels 8 months in advance for our trip this April, but I probably woulda done it sooner if I was prepared to.

The benefits and reasons I'm all for booking early are.

A) A lot of the places in Venice seemed to be completely booked for our dates already 8 months out. So that scared me a bit into booking all our hotels.

B) I figure there's cancelation policy. So if the rate drops I figured I could always just call up and get the lower rate. As it turned out, all the hotels we picked increased their prices after the new year. So we actually got the rooms a bit cheaper by booking in 2010.

C) Again, if you decide on a different hotel or even city later on, or your plans change. As long as you give them enough notice, there's no harm or penalty in canceling a booking.

Now, with that said I don't advocate changing hotels every week or two. That's not exactly good form. But if you book something and then a couple months later change you mind. I don't see the harm.

Good luck!

Rome, Italy
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2. Re: What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

In general it doesn't hurt to book things early, provided you make sure you won't be penalized too much if you have to cancel or change some bookings!

San Diego
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3. Re: What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

I book about 6 months out but all the bookings I make are canceallable. I don't pay ahead of time for anything so if I change dates or find a better deal there is no problem.

Olympia, Washington
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4. Re: What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

We tend to stay in self catering villas and apartments and I found that the really good ones with decent rates are booked up a year or more in advance for the choice dates: holidays, spring breaks and the height of summer. That might not be the case for a larger hotel, unless you want a specific room or type of room. For larger parties, we book as early as possible. We booked a villa in Umbria for a family reunion of 23 in July of 2012 almost two years in advance, got 2010 prices but had to move it a week because the week we wanted was already booked. The same place was completely booked from May through October, 2011 as of last November. Not everyone plans so far ahead, but to us, where we stay and the style and ambiance is very much a part of an enjoyable trip.

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

oh you are definitely not crazy as you are planning for the holiday season, which i'm sure will be really busy and quite expensive. if you get the flights and accommodations you want, then that's all that matters. :)

coincidentally, i'm actually going to italy this march. :P

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6. Re: What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

It really does depend on the season you're going. We waited until we were under a year away to book a B&B for Holy Week, and they were booked solid! I didn't want to book it before the year mark since I thought it would be too early. It all turned out well, we found another B&B that's closer to the center of Rome for about the same price, so we're OK with not getting the first B&B.

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7. Re: What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

I have booked as early as the flight schedules became available which is right around eleven months in advance, but I also buy my trip insurance right away since there is more time for things to change.

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8. Re: What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

i m travelling in oct.. still waiting to see if there's any good promo on air tix.. after reading the comments i guess I should book hotel soon? coz i have oredi shortlist a few. glad to know that I am not the crazy one out here to plan my routes 9 mths in advance!

Le Marche, Italy
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9. Re: What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

I'm going against the current here. I tend to book late. A year away, you'll never catch a sale or a discount, because they start discounting prices (if at all) when they've got an idea of whether they're going to be full or not.

I start checking hotel and air prices about three or four months ahead, both by checking booking sites and airline sites, and by getting notifications from Kayak.com or a similar site. For the airlines, unless my dates are firm and can't be changed, I may book as late as 6 weeks in advance. For the hotels, I may wait even longer, because I usually don't have a specific hotel in mind. I check a site such as booking.com or venere.com from time to time to see how the average price movement is, and I book when it looks as though it's not going to change anymore, or if it starts creeping up.

If you want a specific hotel, apartment, or B&B you may have to book earlier, but I wouldn't book terribly early if there were a cancellation fee. I would never book airfare that early. It's pretty much nonrefundable, and all sorts of things could happen in a year.

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10. Re: What's the earlist you've booked, just wondering...

We were in Italy last November, not a busy time. Still, I booked all hotels in April. I used a European booking site and found some good rates with free cancellation policy. As November approached, the relationship between the dollar and euro begin to change and my reservations got more and more expensive. One month out I cancelled all reservations and rebooked on a US site and paid in dollars at that time. For some reason, the US site had significantly lower prices in dollars for several days before they adjusted for the rising euro. So I was pleased that I had regularly checked the currency markets.

This year we are returning to Italy in October. I started looking at airfares last week and saw that they were quite high because of a $350 fuel surcharge on every airline. I dont see the price of oil decreasing significantly anytime soon, so I wonder if airline tickets will stay high all year. I do not see any bargains now, even for flights covered by the current "spring sales."

Edited: 28 January 2011, 13:13