Want to book a peak-season holiday? Add these 7 key ‘book-by’ dates to your diary to beat


Like to leave your holiday planning to the last minute?

You’re missing out on the most interesting accommodations and the widest range of options, according to Vrbo.

The travel booking website, which rents villas, cottages, and beach houses, has analysed past booking data from British travellers to identify surges in demand– and when availability for those destinations starts to dwindle.

The travel experts have pinpointed seven key dates for every keen holidaymaker’s diary, advising that if you book your villa, cottage, or beach house ahead of these days in 2024 you’ll have access to the widest selection of spots to suit your needs, as well as the places that offer the best value for money.

Leave it until later and options dry up.

Holiday accommodation booking site Vrbo has analysed its booking data to identify seven key 'book-by' dates to help travellers nab the best cottages, villas and beach houses for taking a break during peak time

Holiday accommodation booking site Vrbo has analysed its booking data to identify seven key ‘book-by’ dates to help travellers nab the best cottages, villas and beach houses for taking a break during peak time

As you might expect, January and February are the busiest months for booking holiday homes, as people dream of sunnier climes abroad.

If you can’t afford your holiday during the post-Christmas slump, you can still find excellent accommodations throughout the rest of the year – provided you book in time.

In 2024, to have the widest selection of available properties for key travel periods, travellers are advised to book no later than the below dates:

1. Easter holiday (29 March 2024 to 12 April): Book no later than 13 February 

2. Early May bank holiday (6 May): Book no later than 29 March

3. End of May bank holiday (27 May): Book no later than 8 April

4. Summer holidays (23 July – 4 September): Book no later than 8 June

5. Autumn half-term holidays (28 October to 1 November): Book no later than 26 August

6. Christmas holidays (23 December 2024 to 3 January 2025): Book no later than 11 November 

7. February 2024 half-term holidays (12 February – 16 February): Book no later than 3 January, 2025

A spokesperson for Vrbo said: ‘We’ve all experienced the disappointment of finding the perfect home for your trip with family or friends – complete with huge pool, high spec kitchen/dining space and the right number of bedrooms – only to find it fully booked for the dates you need to travel.

‘To avoid this, we recommend travellers add Vrbo’s book-by dates to 2024 diaries to make sure they get the best holiday home for their trips this year.’

January and February are the most popular months for booking holidays, says Vrbo, as people seek to escape winter gloom and enjoy a little foreign sunshine

January and February are the most popular months for booking holidays, says Vrbo, as people seek to escape winter gloom and enjoy a little foreign sunshine  

In addition to knowing when to book accommodation to snare the best options, savvy consumers can book flights at certain times (and to fly on certain days) to ensure they get the cheapest travel, according to the ‘2024 Air Travel Hacks Report‘. 

Travellers who book on Sundays instead of Fridays tend to save, on average, around 21 per cent on domestic flights and 24 per cent on international flights, the study says.

For domestic flights, the findings suggest you can save up to 35 per cent if you book at least five months ahead.

‘Travellers that booked 162 to 180 days prior to departure saved 34 per cent on average compared to those who waited until the last minute,’ Expedia said.

‘Meanwhile, for international airfares, the ideal booking period is eight to 23 days prior to departure and the worst booking period is 36 to 63 days prior to departure.’

Expedia notes that you can save eight per cent by booking in the former period rather than the latter period.

Departing on a Friday can save you up to 26 per cent while Sunday is the priciest day on average to start your trip.

The study adds that taking off before 3pm reduces the chance of your flight being cancelled.



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