travel

How to save yourself $$$ when booking overseas trips this winter.

Picture this: it’s the dead of winter here in Australia and you’ve finally reached breaking point.

You just can’t handle the pitch-black morning starts, the frozen toes, or the Netflix hibernation a moment longer. So you crack open the ‘Break In Case Of Emergency’ savings fund, and book yourself a sneaky escape somewhere with sunshine, sand, and something involving a cocktail umbrella.

But if you leave it until mid-winter to book, chances are you’re going to be up for some pretty hefty fares alongside that pina colada. That’s why the kind folk at Trip Advisor have decided to put together a definitive list of the cheapest times to book your mid-winter escape.

Spoiler alert: is not the night before.

“Bargain hunters know that timing is crucial when it comes to booking the lowest hotel prices,” said Brooke Ferencsik, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor.

Be that guy on Facebook. Do it. Source: iStock

“TripAdvisor data shows that travellers can often find the best prices on hotels months in advance, with a booking sweet spot typically within three months of their trip."

In other words, do your homework and you could save yourself serious $$$.

These aren’t rough estimates from your local travel agent, either - it’s all based on cold hard facts collected in data from April 2015 to March 2017.

For example, to get the best price on flights to Bali for a winter escape, you should be booking around seven months in advance. But if you want to jet to Paris? The best time is just two months out. Bon voyage, baby...

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Here are some more of Trip Advisor’s tip-offs for cheap winter escape fares.

Bangkok: Book within 6 months for 19% savings
Average hotel rate: $63/night

Barcelona: Book 3-9 months out for 33% savings
Average hotel rate: $199/night

Berlin: Book 4-8 months out for 10% savings
Average hotel rate: $104/night

Bali: Book within 7 months for 18% savings

Average hotel rate: $278/night

London: Book 5-8 months out for 12% savings (travellers yet to book can consistently find rates below the average within 8 months with an opportunity for deeper savings within a month of their trip)
Average hotel rate: $264/night

Hello, Barcelona! Source: iStock

Mumbai: Book within 3 months for 24% savings

Average hotel rate: $73/night

Paris: Book within 2 months to save up to 23%
Average hotel rate: $188/night

Rome: Book 4-8 months out to save 21% on hotels
Average hotel rate: $125/night

Tokyo: Book 4-7 months out for 18% savings
Average hotel rate: $139/night

New York City: Book within 2 months for 23% savings
Average hotel rate: $325/night

While last minute getaways are a lot of fun, holidays with a few extra coins jangling around in your Hawaiian print shorts are even better. Write yourself a note in your diary to book the trip, and spend your winter smugly counting down the days to warm weather and cocktail umbrellas.