Last minute bargains are history.  It used to be possible to snap up very late rock-bottom rates, but over the last few years the whole travel market has changed.  It’s now far better to book well in advance.  In particular, the best months to book are January and February when most airlines have sales on and hotels are willing to offer cheaper rates or throw in complimentary extras.

1. The flights will be cheaper the earlier you book

Everyone knows flight prices fluctuate, but 99.9% of the time they get more expensive the closer you get to departure.  Business people will pay top whack last minute, meaning prices soar.  The latest research shows you need to book at least 53 days in advance to avoid inflated flight costs.

2. Better availability

When you leave it to the last minute inevitably the most popular hotels will have sold out, particularly if you’re looking to go away during peak season and school holidays.  To avoid disappointment you’ve got to get in there first by booking early.

3. Low deposits

If it’s less than 12 weeks before you travel, you’ll need to pay the full balance at the time of booking. Book earlier and you’ll only need to pay a low deposit (can be as low as £150) to secure the whole holiday.

4. Added value + free extras

Hotels are more likely to offer incentives such as free spa treatments, waterpark tickets or a free room upgrade during the January sales.

5. Pre book your seats on the plane

This works on a first come first served basis, so the earlier you book the more likely you’re able to choose whereabouts on the aircraft you’ll sit.  This is especially beneficial if you’re travelling with an infant, as you’ll be able to get in there first and select bulkhead seats.  Most aircrafts can fit little seats or cots here for infants, and there’s a little more legroom.

6. Anticipation is almost as good as the event

Knowing you’re about to go on holiday is almost as good as actually being there! There’s no better way to beat the winter blues. You can start planning excursions or activities you’d like to try, and look forward to the break in routine.