The perennial problem: to book early, or to book late?
There is not, and cannot, be a definitive answer to the question of whether it is better to book your holiday early or late, as it depends on what type of person you are as well as the specific circumstances of the holiday you are going on. To help make the decision for you next time you're booking a holiday, we consider arguments on both sides below:
Book early if...
- You're restricted to going skiing in the school holidays, especially over Christmas/New Year and the February half-term. The sheer quantity of people that can only go skiing in these narrow windows means that accommodation quickly gets booked up, and if you leave it late you'll likely find that the best ski chalets, hotels or apartments have no availability.
- There are 'early bird' discounts offered by accommodation owners. Note that these will often not apply to periods of high demand, such as school holidays.
- You're in a big group and you all want to stay in the same accommodation. Chalets for very large groups certainly exist but are a scarce commodity, so if you're looking for that 24 person accommodation at the foot of the slopes you'd best get in there early!
- Flights are generally cheaper the earlier you book them, and so it's a good idea to get these booked early on. A lot of seasoned skiers and snowboarders will book flights before booking accommodation and transfers etc.
Book late if...
- The resort you've got in mind is big or less popular and so accommodation owners are unlikely to have 100% occupancy, as in these cases you might be able to get last minute discounts from owners that would prefer to have a bed filled at a lower profit margin than an empty bed.
- You're flexible about where you end up. This is just another way of saying that 'beggars can't be choosers' - to get the best deals be open minded about whether you're in a chalet or hotel, a ski-in/ski-out property or further down the valley, or even which resort you're in. This way, you're more likely to find something you want amongst the deals that are offered.
- You're not a control freak. Things aren't at their most peaceful when they're unsure, and if you book last minute you'll have to deal with the stress of uncertainty and the times when it looks like you'll be sleeping in your car.
Ultimately, there's no way to say that one method is better than the other, but take the above into consideration next time you book a holiday and you'll end up having a great time. On the whole, those looking to craft their own made-to-measure Alpine ski adventure should book earlier, whilst those willing to try something they hadn't expected (and save money at the same time) are the best candidates for booking late.
If you're looking for more tips on how to plan a great skiing holiday, then check out the Tasty Ski Company blog
For great ski accommodation with outstanding catering, http://www.thetastyskicompany.co.uk
If you're planning your ski holiday at the moment then check out this luxury catered chalet in Morillon on ChaletFinder, great for group or family ski holidays!