When Is the Best Time to Book a Hotel?

Hotel prices are dynamic — they change based on demand — and sometimes, it can be tricky to know whether you’ve found a good deal.

We all want to get the best value for our dollar, especially when planning the next getaway. Read on if you’re interested in tips and guidance for booking a hotel at the right time. 

How far in advance should you book a hotel?

One of the first considerations you might make when planning a trip is how far in advance you should book a hotel.

Prices frequently drop around the two weeks before your stay, meaning looking for deals around this time frame can be a good idea.

However, remember that booking rooms this close to your travel date can be risky, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll find the accommodations you’d hoped for. Keep in mind that this rule doesn’t apply to every hotel. And, during busy periods, like summer and the holidays, it’s often best to book in advance or you might miss out on getting a hotel at all.

But, if your situation is flexible, waiting until you’re within the two-week range may lead to some savings.

Booking a hotel vs. pre-paying

Be mindful of the difference between reserving a hotel room vs. pre-paying. If you book a hotel room, you don’t have to pay for it immediately. Reserving can allow you to cancel without penalty (though there may be a cancellation fee if you cancel within a certain period). It can also give you time to save up a little extra cash for the trip. Reserving can be a safe bet if some details of your trip are still up in the air.

On the other hand, some hotels will extend a discounted rate to guests who pre-pay, though these deals can prohibit cancellations and refunds. If your trip’s details are set, pre-paying may help you save money.  

Be flexible about booking dates

Having flexible travel dates can save you money. If you’re traveling for pleasure (as opposed to business), find out your destination's busiest season or time of year and plan your trip outside of it. 

You can look at your desired hotel’s prices for different days and figure out which offers the lowest price. Consider planning your trip around the most affordable rates and dates if lower prices are available. 

Use a travel portal to book your hotel

A travel portal like Citi TravelSM can allow you to compare hotel prices to find competitive rates. You can search for accommodations and plan every leg of your trip, including air travel and car rentals. If you use a Citi ThankYou card to pay for your trip on the Citi Travel portal, you can earn points toward future travel so you can do more of what you love.

Disclosure: This article is for educational purposes. It is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and is not a substitute for professional advice. It does not indicate the availability of any Citi product or service. For advice about your specific circumstances, you should consult a qualified professional.

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