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There’s No Better Time to Plan Holiday Travel than Now

Our snow shovels have just been packed away in the garage, winter jackets stowed and sweaters comingling in boxes with moth balls. Flowers, awakening to the warmth of a new season, splash newly blossomed color in our recently thawed garden beds. Spring has finally sprung!

Though the vestiges of a tough winter have just departed and our attention is focused on the upcoming activities and warmth of spring and summer, it may seem counter-intuitive to even begin thinking about travel plans for the seemingly far-off winter season. But, now is precisely the best time to begin planning for holiday travel during the popular November and December travel season to avoid one of the biggest travel planning faux-pas – not booking your trip early enough.

Planning your holiday travel early provides so many more benefits than simply saving money. We love the prospect of minimizing the stress of preparing for an upcoming trip and arranging our travels in the most fulfilling and rewarding way possible.

Here are our top reasons why your holiday travel plans deserve attention now, rather than later.

Extending the Anticipation of Travel

Anticipation of your trip is a huge part of the travel experience. After all, seeing an upcoming trip marked on our calendars makes us happy and never fails to stir up excitement for what’s on the horizon. This sensation isn’t just theoretical; it’s actually been validated by science!

A National Institute of Health study, published in the Applied Research in Quality of Life journal, identified a psychological phenomenon that links happiness to the anticipation of upcoming travel. The planning stages of a trip, the prospect of the experiences that will be enjoyed and the build-up to the trip all contribute to the triggering of happiness, largely because we look forward to the expectation of the travel event.

Having a trip listed in your calendar in your calendar isn’t just a mood-enhancer, booking your travels well in advance will also allow you to savor this anticipation for an even longer period of time!

More Time to Learn About Your Destination

Chances are, you’re traveling to experience a culture, society and traditions that are different than your own. Cultural immersion brings us out of our comfort zone and introduces us to scenarios that educate, test and enlighten us. That immersion doesn’t have to be limited to just the time spent on your trip.

Preparing for your travel experience by learning more about your destination will go a long way to improving the quality of your trip. Having some baseline knowledge about a destination’s history, current social or political struggles, language, food, customs and traditions, will lead to a deeper travel experience. You’ll be able to interact with locals, possibly in their own language and in a more meaningful manner, have a better grasp of the importance of sights and landmarks that you’ll encounter and you’ll simply notice and understand more of what’s happening around you.

By planning your holiday travels well in advance, you’ll have more time to read books, listen to podcasts or watch travel-show segments that will help you become more knowledgeable about your destination. This will go a long way to helping you experience your travels more deeply.

Budgeting and Savings

Planning your travel well in advance of the busy holiday season will often lead to savings on airfare, lodging and other activities. International flight prices, especially, are prone to steady increases once you get within 3 months of your target travel date.

Planning your trip well in advance also allows for better budgeting for trip-related expenses. You’ll have a longer span of time to space out fundamental trip costs, like airfare and lodging, from trip expenses such as food, activities and other travel expenses accrued during your actual travel.

Lastly, booking your trip ahead of time with a tour operator (like ATJ!), leverages the operators purchasing power and trusted local connections for even more savings, in addition to preferred access to venues, local events and notable sights.

Expanding Your Options

Traveling during the peak holiday seasons inevitably means a higher volume of people vying to book potentially limited rooms, activities, fairs and access to landmarks. The earlier you start your travel planning and booking, the more you’ll optimize your chances of snagging the best lodging options and securing spots at various must-see activities at your destination.

Many travel destinations feature a variety of popular seasonal occurrences that often fill up quickly. Booking well in advance gives you an increased chance of selecting dates for specific events that work for your itinerary. 

It’s good to plan in advance. There’s nothing worse than committing to a last-minute trip, only to find that the pinnacle annual cultural festival at your destination is fully booked!

Less Stress

Let’s face it, travel can be stressful. As much as we love it, our wanderlust introduces the burden of preparations at home, completing projects at work before your departure, purchase of necessary travel-related gear and clothing, renewal of your passport six months before it expires, and occasionally, the need for visas and other travel documentation.

Planning and booking your holiday travel in advance gives you ample opportunity to tackle your pre-trip checklist in a more stress-free manner. You’ll avoid rushed packing and shopping, ensure that you have all of the right documentation and be able to spend more time learning about your destination, planning out the restaurants you’ll want to hit and all of the landmarks you’ll want to see.

Nothing beats eliminating or minimizing stress related to last-minute travel preparations.


ATJ recognizes that regardless of the season in which you decide to travel, you enthusiastically expect a once-in-a-lifetime trip. ATJ’s Travel Experts specialize in maximizing your exposure to culturally-rich festivals, events and experiences, no matter what time of year you take your journey. Start your planning today for an amazing holiday travel experience through ATJ to find out how we stand behind our mantra, Journey Beyond the Ordinary™.

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