From Easter to Christmas, here's your holiday-by-holiday planner.
Planning travel way ahead of time may seem like a luxury but it's become a necessity, especially for those wanting to secure a private holiday home during school holidays.
Australians are making plans "months earlier than previous years", Expedia Brands managing director Daniel Finch tells Explore. "Waiting too long to book can make or break snagging a coveted cottage in wine country for the Easter break, or a summer beach house for that end-of-year holiday."
Skyscanner expert Jarrod Kris says booking early gives you more options when it comes to hotels, flights and activities. "Waiting too late to book can be risky. Limited availability might force you into less desirable options or higher prices due to increased demand," he tells Explore.
Meanwhile last-minute airfares always incur a premium. Expedia says reserving domestic flights 14 weeks before travel could save you 20 per cent on average, while Kayak says booking 16 weeks ahead could save up to 16 per cent. So what are our deadlines for holiday planning in 2024?
Easter long weekend
Expedia advises Australians to book a domestic Easter long weekend (March 29 to April 1) trip by February 13. For competitive flight prices, Kayak suggests Australians should book 10 weeks ahead (by mid-January), but there can still be bargains around until the end of the month.
Winter school holidays
Australians should finalise their winter school holiday plans by May 14, Expedia recommends, with those looking to get away for the King's Birthday long weekend (June 8-10 nationwide, except Queensland and WA) to be organised by May 4. For flights, Kayak advises booking four weeks in advance (by end of May), while Skyscanner suggests you book about 20 weeks ahead (by early-mid February) on popular flight routes.
Read more on Explore:
Spring school holidays
Australians should lock in their spring school holiday plans by August 25, according to Expedia, and their flights up to 20 weeks ahead (by end of April), according to Kayak. Skyscanner suggests flights for spring break should be booked 21-23 weeks in advance (by mid April).
Summer and Christmas holidays
These are the holidays for which you really need to be organised. Expedia suggests Australians should have summer holiday plans set by July 23, and by July 16 for the even busier Christmas period. Both Kayak and Skyscanner advise Australians to book domestic flights 25 weeks ahead, so by mid-July. This could save you up to 47 per cent compared to booking within nine weeks of departure, Kayak says.
PS: Last-minute deals
For some holidays, last-minute bookings can also be advantageous, Kris says. "In cases where there's excess inventory or if you're flexible with your plans, you might snag great deals closer to the travel date." But this "isn't a guaranteed strategy", he adds, especially during peak seasons or for highly sought-after destinations or events.