We’re reaching the end of the summer vacation period. For northern hemisphere travelers, planning getaways more than a few days into the future has been so difficult as to feel pointless. It may not feel like now is the time to book for next summer. But with high degrees of flexibility on offer, a few hours spent making a travel daydream into a booking may pay dividends over what could be a long winter.

Booking accommodations 

If like so many people you opted to holiday at home then you will have noticed how busy some hot spots felt during school break times in particular. Bookings in areas like Devon and Cornwall in the UK and the West Coast of Ireland are already strong for next year. With higher demand and lost earnings to make up, prices look set to rise at peak times. There’s no need to panic in less popular areas and, in any case, look for flexible booking terms on self-catering and other accommodation.

An empty swimming pool at a resort, surrounded by white sun loungers and palm trees
It may be worth booking your package deal now while there’s some flexibility on offer © Maxim Tupikov / Shutterstock

Booking flights and package holidays

If you’re thinking about flights or package holidays, it may be that the new normal – or what that is for the next few weeks at least – can work to your advantage booking now. Many airlines (see American for example) are offering very generous cancellation and rebooking terms up until the end of September this year for flights operating until the end of next summer or even until the end of the year. When we get into the latter part of the year terms may change somewhat to be more restrictive, especially if demand is growing. While it’s likely there will still be a strong degree of flexibility on flights booked later, it may be that now turns out to be the least risky time to make a booking for quite a while. For domestic travel within the US, American, along with Delta and United are scrapping their change fees entirely for domestic tickets, for good. 

Come next summer, choice of carrier and frequency of flights on many routes will be vastly reduced compared to 2019 when many people last traveled internationally. In order to get to where you want to go, booking earlier may be advisable. In any given year early booking gives you a good chance of getting a good value fare, if not that cheapest. That question is a whole other article.

Lastly and taking a broader view, forward bookings for 2021 give businesses confidence visitors are coming, and can help keep people who work in tourism employed in a way that late bookings don’t. 

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