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How essential is it to book far ahead?

Dunedin, New Zealand
Level Contributor
7 posts
21 reviews
How essential is it to book far ahead?

My partner and I have been throwing around ideas and getting excited about the prospect of taking trip to Ireland next year, preferably sometime around April/May. However, we've had a bit of a reality check - family health issues mean it's hard to say right now whether we'll be free to travel in April, or whether we'll need to stay at home.

Can anyone reassure me that it's not essential to book everything half a year ahead? If things are looking okay at Christmas, maybe we could book three or four months ahead... Would that add substantially to the total cost?

15 replies to this topic
Cork, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Ireland
Level Contributor
14,050 posts
389 reviews
1. Re: How essential is it to book far ahead?

You mean booking flights?

Dunedin, New Zealand
Level Contributor
7 posts
21 reviews
2. Re: How essential is it to book far ahead?

Yeah, and accommodation and the rest of it.

Navan, Ireland
Level Contributor
3 posts
26 reviews
3. Re: How essential is it to book far ahead?

Hey,!

Sorry to hear that someone in your family are unwell - sending healing thoughts!

It kinda depends on where you'll be going. I am originally from a tourist area of Ireland and April is normally ok, things are generally just beginning to get busy.

A few months should be fine, the only thing I'd be concerned about booking would be your hotel! However many hotels in Ireland offer a 48 hour cancellation policy, and pay at the hotel. So you could book your hotel(s) now and cancel them if you need to. Be careful though, not every hotel offers this. I book using booking.com or air bnb as it is clearly marked on these.

Happy travels to Ireland! what parts are you planning on visiting?

Dunedin, New Zealand
Level Contributor
7 posts
21 reviews
4. Re: How essential is it to book far ahead?

Thank you - for the useful tips, and the kind words!

I should probably keep in mind that we don't have to see everything on this one trip. Because New Zealand's so far away, it's easy to feel like you have to make the airfare 'worth it' by doing as much as humanly possible. But if I operate on the assumption that this won't be our only visit, we could probably manage a shorter-but-more-relaxing holiday - and could probably make it work next year, even with family commitments.

Our itinerary will very much depend on how long our trip ends up being - but so far we imagine doing a bit of a loop around the country. We'll start off visiting family in Dublin, and then hopefully see Wicklow, Dingle, Doolin (for the music), maybe the Aran Islands. And I've got more family in Nenagh, so we'd pay a visit there too. Anywhere else I shouldn't miss?

Limerick, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Limerick
Level Contributor
28,983 posts
88 reviews
5. Re: How essential is it to book far ahead?

April and May 2019 should be fine provided with the exceptions of the Easter Weekend (19 - 22 April) and the May Bank Holiday weekend (3rd - 6th May).

There are lots of interesting places to see but they all depend on what your own interests are. I love Kilmacduagh Abbey in Co Clare http://monastic.ie/history/kilmacduagh/ and St Mary's Cathedral in Limerick http://www.saintmaryscathedral.ie/ but these might bore you to tears, whereas you might want to spend a lot of time in the pub and I would prefer the opposite.

Dingle, Ireland
Destination Expert
for Dingle
Level Contributor
16,258 posts
21 reviews
6. Re: How essential is it to book far ahead?

If I were travelling in April or May next year I wouldnt be looking at all until after Christmas.

Davie, Florida
Level Contributor
677 posts
221 reviews
7. Re: How essential is it to book far ahead?

We just traveled there, Apr 29 - May 19. We started booking in November prior. Flights first, then built around that.

Maryland
Level Contributor
5,039 posts
6 reviews
8. Re: How essential is it to book far ahead?

Just buy travel-Trip insurance, then you are covered, Peace of Mind.

Dunedin, New Zealand
Level Contributor
7 posts
21 reviews
9. Re: How essential is it to book far ahead?

Thanks so much, all of you - that's really helpful!

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
98 posts
29 reviews
10. Re: How essential is it to book far ahead?

One thing I had not thought about before, until I had to look into it this weekend, is that (assuming you did not spring for a fully refundable ticket and leaving aside change fees) some (most?) airlines will time your rebooking period as a year from the original book date. So if you book a flight too early you may not have enough of a "window" after you planned trip to rebook on the same ticket. Outside whining of course.

I booked a flight 10 1/2 months in advance of a trip in late August. I may not be able to make it due to an unplanned but necessary family surgery coming up. But I technically only have about 6 weeks after my scheduled dates to use the ticket. I will be whining if I have to cancel.

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