Please sign in to post.

Too Early for 2023?

We are beginning to plan a family trip to coincide with our youngest son's college graduation in June 2023. There's some places that come highly recommended by others (as well as Rick S.) that we'd like to make sure we get nailed down. Obviously, this will also affect our other planning points...tours, dinners, etc. based on where we're staying.

Is it too early to start trying to book hotels?

I'm doing the planning myself for the family. Travel agent fees just seem so high right now when I've inquired about being set up.

Posted by
990 posts

In normal times, we buy air tickets 5-7 months ahead of the trip, then work on booking lodging.

Posted by
3978 posts

If you’re ready to commit to particular places to sleep on particular nights, go for it. The times are uncertain enough that will those lodging properties will still be in business by June 2023? Hopefully so, for their sakes and yours. Any assurances that you’ll get some kind of refund if they cancel would be helpful.

So, where in Switzerland are you planning to visit? I hope your trip goes without any hitches, especially considering how far out you’ve started your planning, and congratulations, in advance, to your son’s matriculation!

Posted by
1103 posts

Too early. Who knows what properties will survive this pandemic. I’d start looking a year out to see what is open for booking and go from there.

Posted by
2715 posts

I agree with Diane. A year in advance is more than enough time to make bookings. And I don't think you can make air reservations more than 11 months out. Make sure you get a refundable/ cancellable reservation if booking that far in advance.

Posted by
12 posts

Thanks for the input so far...I wouldn't dream of trying to book airfare this far out.

And I hope as well that the places we've been looking at will survive as many of them have been around for a long, LONG time!

Posted by
362 posts

I think it's far too early to book hotels, because as previously mentioned there is too much uncertainty as to which establishments will survive the pandemic. Spend this time conducting thorough research on places that you are considering as well as gathering input from your family regarding their interests and goals for your celebratory trip. In the past I have been able to secure a better hotel rate by booking directly rather than going through an online booking agency. I suspect that will continue once travel opens again. Enjoy your planning.

Posted by
3478 posts

I have a slightly different perspective. Though normally, I would say too early and still do, but you may want to hedge your bets and check booking your desired lodgings more that 12 months out. If they are really popular, then you may want to get yourself on their list. That, of course, also depends on whether their booking systems are open and pricing has been developed. Some people may be desperate to 'not miss out' and booking earlier than normal creating panic booking. Just ensure there is no deposit required and fully cancellable. Do be sure you make a note of the last date for free cancellation...in fact, set a calendar alarm for 5 days or a week before to remind yourself to review everything and cancel what needs cancelling. Some may make it weeks before arrival instead of days before arrival. Also be sure to keep some sort of trail of bookings. If you don't get an email with the (at time of booking) cancellation dates, or policies, then take a screen shot so if they change drastically, or you need any back up - you have it. Also, be sure that each and every booking is reconfirmed a week or two before arrival. Keep an eye on the lodgings even after bookings to ensure they are still viable. Even ask questions just to keep an email flow and ensure they actually know you are coming on XXXJune 2023.
Personally, I would be starting to at least look at the ability to book in March or April 2022.

Posted by
6189 posts

Too early for 2023? For planning - no; for booking - yes, absolutely. I'm not sure you would even find many accommodations willing to book that far out even during normal times, and not likely during our current world pandemic situation.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you for your input everyone! We'll hold off a while before trying to book our lodging. We're just very excited.

Posted by
72 posts

I've amused myself during this pandemic by roughing out some itineraries and thinking about possibilities. I'm logistically-oriented and like to think about where I'd base in a city, what the transportation would be like and what's nearby. This has led me down many creative paths. When the time comes to book, I'll know what's a good deal and a good location. With planning, you can leverage into a better accommodation when you jump on a special or sale.

Posted by
1099 posts

It's way too early to book anything over two years out. In the meantime, if you haven't done so, use your time planning your trip. Read guidebooks and search the internet to lay out your itinerary. Where do you want to go, what do you want to see? Get input from the family so everyone is happy.

I've spent the past year, fantasy traveling to make an itinerary, actually three itineraries for three alternative trips both for 2022 and 2023. I made a Itinerary word doc for each of my proposed trips which includes itinerary with dates, what to see on each day. Then I also make a To Do doc which includes a list of hotels, sightseeing, transportation costs all based on today and will be updated as things change. Finally I have a Packing List doc. I'm constantly tweaking the lists. You can tell I have way too much time on my hands because everything is color coded, LOL.

I'm not an experienced traveler like many on the forum, three trips to Europe in 50 years. But I feel I did a good job planning our Italy trip in 2019. When I am fantasy planning for 2022 and 2023, I find that most hotels were not booking beyond a year out. Airlines book about 11 months out, some less. Many sites are closed so there is no prepurchase of tickets. Even if you could book anything, you will want cancellable/refundable and not pay for anything at this time. After all the problems people had with refunds last year, I'm not willing to risk it. I already had a thief travel agent steal tour money five years ago. I don't want to go through the problems of trying to recoup money again. That said, I'm glad you are doing your own planning. The planning is part of the fun of traveling.

There's a concurrent thread with planning trips which may help https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/general-europe/best-planning-tips-and-tricks

Posted by
1471 posts

DB's train schedule for Europe only goes a year out, so that's a good rule of thumb

Posted by
189 posts

It's not too early to put aside a couple of dollars (not cents) every day. Switzerland can be expensive but so worth it!!! At this point, I'd just be watching videos and taking notes on what looks like fun. Rick's videos are great, but there is also Samantha Brown and others. Do you have a newer Smart TV?, search for 4K Switzerland and you'll see spectacular scenic videos. YouTube has tons of content on places to see. Watch the Bernina Express episode of "Mighty Trains" on Smithsonian Channel. Watch "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" or "The Eiger Sanction", both filmed in/around Lauterbrunnen. Maybe get a big map and highlight spots you want to visit. OMG, now you got me thinking about going back to Switzerland!!!!!