Breaking News
More () »

It's July. Have you booked your winter holiday vacation yet? Yes, seriously

Some experts say now is the time to get those bookings in place.

DALLAS — I just got back from the Yucatan. It was hard getting out of that water and back on a plane. But now… even before my frenzied normal life can fully erase my relaxed smile, it may already be time to schedule another trip? Okay!

I recently unwrapped an email from the team at going.com, formerly known as Scott’s Cheap Flights. They are telling me the ideal time to shop for Christmastime flights starts in July.

And they warn that, “The frequency of deals during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays will start to dry up by the time we hit Labor Day." That’s Sept. 4! 

So maybe you should consider kicking your winter holiday planning into high gear.

Or you might take your chances. Cheapair.com has compared data from 11,000 flights, and they predict there will be relatively more discounted Thanksgiving flights in September and October and some lower fares for the Christmas/New Year’s Day time period in October and November.

Even if you find those relatively lower fares, they say holiday travel is trending 11-12% more expensive compared to the holiday fares from last year.

If you’re not sure about when is the best time to book, Google Flights has a pretty new guarantee feature. If you book a flight with the guarantee badge, Google will keep monitoring your flight search and will refund you if the price drops by more than $5. More details on how it works are here.

In the message I received from the going.com team, they rightly pointed out that airline schedules change a lot over time. If you book a flight early, you will likely get a message from your carrier — or maybe even multiple messages — that your flight time has changed.

When the airline alters the schedule, you may have the right to change your flight plans, cancel or get a refund even if your original booking didn’t allow you those flexibilities. It varies by airline.

Some give you that perk if the schedule changes by just 30 minutes. Others will only do it if the itinerary changes by four hours or more. Here are some policy pages we found online from United, Alaska Airlines, jetBlue, and American.

Before You Leave, Check This Out