Why You Should Book Now For Christmas

23 June 2016
Read Time: 3.7 mins

Tom Walley, head of leisure travel at Flight Centre, says that booking early is the best strategy for peak season holidays like Christmas.

Travel at that time of the year sells out well in advance, so getting in early means you have a greater selection of accommodation and airfares to suit your dates and budget.  Book too late and you will be faced with steeper prices due to dwindling supply.

Christmas holidays travel is already priced at a premium, due to the popularity of getaways at that time of year, but getting in early means you can secure the best prices possible.

"We always caution customers that they should book their Christmas holiday no later than July, as this is when they will find the most availability and best prices before they start selling out," says Mr Walley.

We dug deeper into this hectic and pricey time of year to find the best practice for securing a deal.

Mother and father swinging child by the arms on a beach Save money on your Christmas holiday this year by booking now (Image: Getty)

How much money can you save if you book six months or so ahead?

"If you leave it too late, you could be paying upwards of double the price to get to your destination over the Christmas travel period."

Tom Walley, head of leisure travel at Flight Centre

How can people find the best deals?

Flight Centre will always promote the best deals as they come through via our advertising and social media channels.

Customers can speak with one of our travel experts for access to the latest deals across the board, or construct the perfect Christmas holiday for them by putting together the best options to suit their budget.

Tom Walley, head of leisure travel at Flight Centre

Should I book a holiday package or create my own from numerous deals?

Holiday packages can be a great option for travellers, especially for a travel period like Christmas when you need to lock everything in ahead of time.

Your package holiday will include accommodation and flights, and very often local experiences, some meals and transfers, all of which have been put together based on specially negotiated wholesale rates to save customers money.

Often there are additional inclusions in the package that you wouldn’t be able to book otherwise, which make it a really great value option.

Anyone booking a special rate for individual components, particularly close to the departure date, should first double check that the other elements of their holiday are available. For example, you may be able to find cheap flights to Fiji for Christmas, but you may not find suitable or affordable accommodation options that coincide with the discounted airfare travel dates.

Darren Lloyd, general manager Escape Travel

Big Ben in London with snow on the ground Secure that perfect white Christmas now before the prices rise too high (Image: Getty)

More Christmas holiday inspiration

8 Free Christmas Gifts All Travellers Cherish

Christmas Holiday Attractions In The USA

How many Australians book six months in advance compared to the last-minute holiday decision makers?

Many more people book in advance, although that could be because there isn’t much left to book last minute.

Our booking data shows that the majority of travellers plan and book their Christmas holiday at least six months in advance. This buffer time is important for peak season travel.

Travel at Christmas is extremely popular, so there is little incentive for airlines and accommodation providers to reduce pricing. As the supply declines in the weeks leading up to Christmas, prices rise.

Tom Walley, head of leisure travel at Flight Centre

What are some of the popular destinations for Australians during Christmas?

The States is extremely popular at Christmas and you can expect airfares to be significantly more expensive to Los Angeles and New York, especially if booking within a few months of departure.

New Zealand is also one that has higher pricing and there often won’t be any seats left on flights to the country around Christmas, due to the sheer volume of visitors and New Zealanders heading home for the holidays.

Places our customers love at Christmas include Bali and Thailand, both of which are great options as they are still affordable even in peak season, and benefit from our strong dollar.

There is also a big domestic travel push at Christmas with people holidaying close to home or visiting inter-state friends and relatives.

Darren Lloyd, general manager Escape Travel

Woman sitting on a luxury bungalow in Bali Bali is a popular Christmas holiday destination for Aussies (Image: Getty)

What other tips can you provide for planning ahead?

Don’t forget that peak season at the end of the year extends beyond Christmas and into the New Year, so even if you aren’t going to be away on Christmas Day, any travel during that time will be at peak pricing.

Planning ahead could be the difference between securing the best available rates and giving you the flexibility to travel when you want, versus booking last minute and having to compromise on your travel dates, due to lack of availability or high prices on your preferred flying dates.

Tom Walley, head of leisure travel at Flight Centre

Any new trends in the ways Australians are holidaying over Christmas?

Cruising has definitely emerged as a favourite way for Aussies to holiday at Christmas.

Peak season pricing for Christmas cruises is around 30 per cent more than other travel periods, and because cabins will be close to sold out within three months of departure, it is important to secure your cruise well ahead of time.

Six months out from departure is probably the minimum you need to get the dates and cabin you want, and many people start booking their Christmas cruises up to 18 months in advance, so now is a good time to be thinking about a cruise for next year.

There are only a handful of close-to-home cruises over Christmas and they will start to fill up now.

A cruise ship surrounded by fjords in Norway Book your cruise now for the best price and cabin options (Image: Getty)

It is particularly important for families or large groups travelling together who require connecting or close-by cabins to book in advance.

Last minute sales for Christmas cruises are rare as cruise lines will generally only release sale rates when they need to sell cabins, which is rarely a problem at Christmas.

One of the advantages of cruising and booking in advance is the ability to pay off your cruise over time. Travellers looking at a Christmas cruise can put a deposit down and don’t have to pay the balance until three months before departure with the option of paying it off bit-by-bit until that time.

Jarrod Pask, general manager at Cruiseabout

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals.

Laura Carlin

Give me big cities and culture over nature and wide open spaces any day, with the exception of a white sandy beach of course. Consider me a traveller with champagne tastes on a beer budget; I'd love my time overseas to be more glamorous than it often is. When in a new city you'll find me exploring the back streets to discover hidden gems by day and chatting with the locals with a drink in hand by night.