Booking flights and hotels

We are planning to return to Southern Italy nest May. When is a good time to book these accommodations? I have been surprised to see many hotels state that they have only 1 or 2 rooms left for our planned timeframe. Since that is basically a year away I have been surprised by this. Also, with flights changing all the time, when would it be a good time to firm that up?

Posted by Gerard
Temora, NSW, Australia
231 posts

You may find that May 2015 is still a bit too far in advance for most hotels. Try emailing them.

Posted by Pat
Ind., United States
31 posts

Thank you for the information. That's very helpful.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
6129 posts

I usually start booking five or so months out, unless there is a particular property I want to book.

Posted by Mona
Santa Barbara
468 posts

"Here’s why you shouldn’t buy a US-to-Europe flight more than two months in advance" You can read the article that Dick recommends but I would hate to base my ticket purchase on this data.

We start looking 330 days before we travel to Europe. We look creatively on ITS software for airports within a certain range of where we'd like to end up in Europe. This year we booked tickets on September 21, 2013 for our upcoming July-August 2014 trip for $895 pp including all taxes and fees. I see that on Kayak's model of 53 days out, the tickets to our destination did spike lower to about $1250 per ticket and now they are up around $2000 per ticket. If you are serious about finding better airfares, look very early, creatively and look often.

Posted by Laurel
110 posts

Yes, as the others are saying, wait to book. But that doesn't mean you can't do the research and planning for the trip in the meantime.


Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
8835 posts

Although it's not true with frequent flier mileage awards, nearly anything else that looks like it's "sold out" 11 months ahead is just not yet available. Smaller, family-run hotels might use an even shorter timeframe, to help reduce cancellations.

Posted by Pat
Ind., United States
31 posts

Very helpful suggestions. Thanks to all!