The conventional wisdom on year-end holiday travel often boils down to a single point: book early. Sound advice, but not always. While it’s never too early to gather ideas, extensive research by Expedia – one of the world’s leading online travel brands – has shown significant savings can be realized when travellers remain flexible and stay patient before making that final booking decision.
The sooner the … not necessarily better
Whether travelling domestically to visit family and friends or lighting out abroad, Thai travellers have many bargain options during the end-of-year (EOY) period.
For instance regarding air travel, Thailand has more domestic flight destinations under THB 4,650 (USD 150) than any other country. Fares include Had Yai for as low as THB 2,821 (USD 91) as well as Chiang Mai with fares up to THB 3,441 (USD 111) and Phuket at THB 3,813 (USD 123) (based on Expedia flight data from Bangkok for travel between 15 December 2019 to 14 January 2020).
When it comes to intra-Asia travel, Thailand’s location puts travellers only a few hours of flight time to some of the region’s most popular spots, including top-five destinations among Thais such as Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Seoul and Taipei.
Debunking the myth of peak travel season, Expedia data has shown that flights as well as hotels for either domestic or international travel can be booked at very good value. But timing is everything. Understanding which day of the week to book and travel could help Thai travellers save a few dollars which could go towards their holiday plan.
Expedia’s 2019 Travel Pricing Outlook Study in collaboration with ARC (Air Reporting Corporation), revealed that the optimum window for booking was found to be a mere one week before the desired travel date, more precisely six or fewer days ahead. A counter-intuitive finding, but the numbers bear it out: with average air fare starting from THB 12,016, when a flight was booked zero to six days ahead, the fare dropped substantially to approximately THB 8,891 on average.
Fares booked 7-13 and 14-20 days ahead likewise dropped to between THB 9,297 and THB 9,619 respectively. Fares booked well in advance though, from 21 to 90 or more days, showed no significant savings.
Similar counter-intuitive findings held true with accommodation. The same study found that for an average room rate of THB 3,575 per room/per night, rates for rooms booked six or fewer days ahead dropped to THB 2,640. For booking periods of 7-13 and 14-20 days ahead rates were slightly lower at THB 3,342 and THB 3,327 respectively. As with air fare however, hotel bookings made beyond 20 days in advance saw no significant drops; in fact some bookings were actually higher than the average rate.
Along with time, being flexible on choosing the right destination can mean big savings. For example, rather than choosing a favorite hot-spot such as Osaka, Sapporo, Nagoya and Seoul, Thai residents going abroad during the holiday season may want to consider one of several alternatives which offers some great value.
A standout here in terms of hotel rate is Taichung, Taiwan, where rooms during the holiday season can go as low as THB 1,271 (USD 41). Additional international destinations with attractive EOY rates include Sa Pa, Vietnam at THB 1,302 (USD 42), in addition to Moscow and St. Petersburg at THB 2,015 (USD 65) and THB 2,263 (USD 73) respectively. Other cities that are surprisingly affordable during the festive season are Munich where EOY rates be up to 50% lower, as well as San Francisco and Washington D.C. with rates up to one-third lower.
Thai residents enjoying the festive season closer to home, can find affordable room rates like the Lam Luk Ka with rooms starting from THB 1,736 (USD 56) and Chiang Rai for THB 2,077 (USD 67).
Of course not everyone can be flexible on their festive-season travel. Even when your destination and dates are firm, Expedia provides lots of ways to save on flights and accommodation not just during the holidays, but all year round:
- Look out for last-minute deals in addition to special promotions available all year on www.expedia.co.th.
- Download and use the Expedia Mobile app for mobile-only deals including room discounts for up to 30%.
- Become an Expedia Rewards member for exclusive deals and bonus offers. Members also earn points towards room upgrades and complimentary amenities.