I did a lot of traveling earlier in the year, so alas, a big summer vacation is not in the cards for me this year. If you’re currently in the throes of planning your own trip, though — either for summer, or for beyond — the best time to book hotels in 2017 is essential information of which you’ll want to take note. For their “Best Time To Book” report, TripAdvisor did a little number crunching in order to figure out exactly when in relation to your travel date you should book your hotel to ensure you’ll get the most bang for your buck. To arrive at their time frames, TripAdvisor analyzed hotel pricing data aggravated from booking partners between April 2015 and March 2017 — and the results of their analysis are worth paying attention to.
I do, however, have some unfortunate news for anyone who might prefer booking their hotels and air fare at the same time: That’s not usually going to save you the most money. TripAdvisor’s windows for the best hotel rates fall anywhere between two and nine months in advance of your trip, depending on where you’re going; however, the most recent data on when to book to get the best rates on flights doesn’t always line up with those times. According to a 2017 report from CheapAir, the best time to book plane tickets for domestic flights in the United States might be anywhere between three weeks and three and a half months in advance, while for international flights, you’re usually looking at around three to four months.
But if you’re willing to throw caution to the wind a little bit and hold off on booking your flights, you can get some pretty phenomenal deals on hotels. Here’s what TripAdvisor came up with according to region:
United States: Book Within Three Months
During the summer, U.S. hotels average around $164 per night; if you book within three months, though, you get the greatest value (nine percent)in comparison with peak pricing periods. However, there are a couple of exceptions when it comes to extremely popular travel destinations in the United States:
- Chicago, Ill.: Book within three months. The average summer hotel rate is around $292 per night.
- New York City, NY: Book within two months. The average summer rate is about $325 per night.
- Orlando, Fla.: Book within six months. The average summer rate is around $163 per night.
The Caribbean: Book Within Four Months
Caribbean hotels average around $184 a night in the summer, but if you book within four months, you’ll probably save around six percent.
Central America: Book Within Three Months
To be fair, TripAdvisor notes that hotel rates for summer are typically “consistent… for most of the year” (I wonder if it’s because being close to the equator means that the weather doesn’t change drastically season to season, making it attractive to travelers coming from anywhere in the world at pretty much any time?) — but, booking within three months saves around six percent. You can expect to spend $101 per night on average. (Speaking from personal experience, Costa Rica is awesome.)
South America: Book Within Three Months
Your savings are pretty dramatic compared to some of the other continents and countries TripAdvisor’s report examines — around 15 percent if you book within three months. The average cost per night of South American hotels in summer? About $115. One exception: Buenos Aires, Argentina. Book that one within six months; the average summer rate for a hotel is $89 per night.
Africa: Book Within Four Months
Book within four months, and you’ll save around eight percent. In the summer, the average rate per night of hotels in Africa is $176.
Europe: Book Between Five And Nine Months Out
This might be bad news for those of you who were hoping to plan a European excursion this summer, but haven’t gotten around to booking it yet: The window for the best prices has pretty much already passed. TripAdvisor does note, though, that even so, “hotel prices remain fairly consistent within 10 months of a summer trip, only deviating a few percent from the average hotel rate.” You can expect your room to cost around $135 per night in the summer on average. Specifics for a couple of popular cities include:
- Dublin, Lisbon, and Rome: Book four to eight months out for savings between $16 and 21 percent.
- Prague: Book three to seven months out to save up to 24 percent.
- Paris: Book within two months and you’ll save around 23 percent.
Asia: Book Within Three Months
You’ll save around 14 percent if you book in this time frame; Asian hotels typically cost around $146 per night in the summer. Slightly different details for some specific cities:
- Hong Kong: You’ll save 23 percent if you book within five months.
- Tokyo: Booking between four and seven months out saves around 18 percent.
The Middle East: Book Within Two Months
Book within two months of your trip to the Middle East and you’re looking at savings of around 19 percent. In the summer months, hotels are usually about $178 per night.
The South Pacific: Book Within Two Months
Hotels average around $150 during the summer; if you book within two months, you’ll save about 11 percent.
Of course, just because you'll get the best rates during these times doesn't mean that you absolutely have to travel then; if you've got the resources and ability to take one, sometimes a last-minute trip, largely unplanned trip is exactly what the proverbial doctor ordered. But whenever you go and wherever you go, happy travels!