When to book flights and hotels in 2018 for big savings

Save half on the cost of 2018 flights and hotels by booking at the right time

Over half of Brits who checked the cost of their holiday after they booked it found that it had gone down in price. To help Brits time it right, KAYAK.co.uk has revealed the best time to book in order to get the best deal.

  • Brits can save up to 57% on flights and 43% on hotels for their most popular destinations in Europe and internationally by booking at the right times
  • Savings of 66% can be made by flying at the start of the week instead of weekends
  • Eleven months ahead of travel dates is the most expensive time to book on average for both flights and hotels to popular destinations
  • Prague is the up-and-coming destination for Brits in 2018, with an increase of 109% in flight searches compared with last year

Knowing when to book can lead to big savings for British travellers in 2018, according to new data released by travel search engine KAYAK.co.uk. Indeed, research carried out for the brand found that over half (54%) of those who have checked the price of their holiday online after booking saw it was less than they paid for it.  

The travel experts have analysed millions of travel searches in order to give Brits the knowledge they need to plan confidently and stretch their holiday budgets further – and to make sure they time it right. The report also reveals the ultimate trending destinations for Brits in 2018, as well as insight from a survey into their holiday planning habits.

*View the full infographic guide

Booking mid-haul flights: hold off until close to date of travel

The data shows that flight prices to six out of Brits’ top ten European destinations get cheaper during the final month before travel. Waiting could save travellers as much as 54% for tickets to Arrecife and 51% for Palma de Mallorca compared with the most expensive month, while potential savings for Malaga, Alicante and Faro are all at least 35%. The best prices for Reykjavik, on the other hand, can be found four months in advance, and offers the biggest savings if booked at the right time, up to a massive 57%. The very earliest bird doesn’t always catch the worm however; the worst time to book for most of the popular destinations is eleven months before travel.

However, research commissioned by KAYAK.co.uk to support the data – amongst 1,000 UK adults – found that on average, Brits book 89 days (around three months) in advance for holidays to Europe. Meaning that Brits are potentially missing out on great deals by booking too early, and could save by waiting nearer to the time.

Booking long-haul flights: best deals found between six-eight months out

The sweet spot for booking flights to seven of British holidaymakers’ top ten long-haul destinations is around 6-8 months before the date of travel. The highest savings are available when booking eight months out for flights to Bali, which is 33% less than the most expensive month. Interestingly, much less advance time is needed to find the best deal for flights to Miami and Orlando – only one and two months, respectively. Just as for mid-haul flights, the worst time to book is nearly always eleven months out, with Tokyo the only exception amongst the top destinations.

The consumer research found that Brits book long haul trips on average 131 days in advance of their break, around 4.5 months. Therefore, unlike for holidays to Europe, most Brits are leaving it too late to book their long haul travel.

For cheaper tickets, fly on weekdays

For most of the top destinations, travellers can avoid extra costs by choosing to travel towards the beginning of the week, from Monday to Wednesday, instead of on the busy weekend period of Friday to Sunday. Choosing the right days to fly can save travellers at least one third of the ticket price in all ten of their top European destinations, and a whopping 66% on average in Arrecife.

Booking accommodation: for most popular destinations, 1-3 months ahead is cheapest

British holidaymakers can save an average of 24% by booking at the right time for their top European destinations. The highest savings can be found in Budapest, where booking three months ahead of travel will save travellers up to 38%. The most expensive period to book is ten or eleven months ahead of travel in over half of the top destinations, however travellers heading to the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik should plan ahead, as nine months before travel is the time when prices are cheapest.

Worldwide, an average of 26% savings can be made when booking hotels one to three months in advance, reaching as high as 43% in Bali compared with the most expensive month. Waiting until one month before travel to book accommodation could save money in seven of the top cities, including Brits’ no.1 holiday destination, New York City. Similarly to flights, travellers should avoid booking hotels ten or eleven months before travelling.

Prague is Brits’ top trending flight destination of 2018

One destination popping up more and more on the radar of British holidaymakers is Prague. The Czech capital, known for its beautiful medieval castle, lovely architecture and lively art and cultural scene, is also the city showing the highest increase in popularity amongst Brits – +109% compared with last year. For the best prices, holidaymakers should book their flights two months before travelling to take advantage of 27% lower prices on average, and if possible, avoid flying on a weekend, when prices could be up to a third higher.

Vienna is Brits’ top trending hotel destination of 2018

Central Europe seems to be in vogue this year with Brits, with Vienna joining trending flight destination Prague as the hot favourite when it comes to hotels. The Austrian capital, renowned for its stately palaces, museums and cafés, is up 135% for hotel searches compared with last year. For the best deals, visitors planning a Viennese city-break should book accommodation five months before travel, which could save 17% compared to the most expensive month.

How are Brits booking?

The consumer research also revealed many interesting insights into how Brits book their holidays. People between the ages of 25 and 34 year-olds are the age-group most likely to hold off booking until the last month before travelling, and in all age groups men are more likely to do so than women. The least spontaneous bookers are 18-24 year-olds, who book their holidays earlier on average than any other age group.

The survey also reveals that 40% of Brits say they check online prices of their holiday after they have booked to see if the prices have gone up or down – with most seeing that prices have fallen. l. Although nearly 60% of Brits surveyed never check prices after they’ve already booked, more than half of 18-34 year olds do so, and they are twice as likely as other age groups to demand a refund if they notice the price has dropped.

Neil Cartwright– travel expert at KAYAK, comments: ‘At KAYAK, we always want to help travellers find the best deals, and it’s striking just how much prices can change simply depending on when they decide to book. We have found that as a general rule, British travellers are booking too early when it comes to European holidays and too late for international ones, in order to get the best deals.

“As avid travellers ourselves, we know full well just how confusing it can be knowing when to buy early and when to wait – that’s why we work so hard to create tools like our Price Forecast and Price Alerts to help travel planners make the right decision. We hope that with this new analysis, British travellers will feel even more confident about planning their next holiday’.


Note to editors:

Most popular destinations for Brits are based on searches on flight KAYAK.co.uk between 01.01.17 and  03.11.17 for travel in 2018 departing from UK airports. The ultimate trending flight destination for Brits is based on searches on KAYAK.co.uk between 01.01.17 and  03.11.17 for travel in 2018 when compared to searches between  01.01.16 and  03.11.16 for travels in 2017. The ultimate trending hotel destination for Brits is based on hotel searches on KAYAK.co.uk between 01.01.17 and  03.11.17 for travel in 2018, when compared to searches between 01.01.16 and  03.11.16 for travel in 2017. Prices for flights are based on economy flight searches for return tickets made on KAYAK.co.uk between 01.01.16 and 03.11.17 for travel in 2017. Prices for hotels are based on searches on all KAYAK locales between 01.01.16 and 03.11.17 for travel in 2017. Prices are subject to change, may vary or no longer be available.