Best time to book a vacation for major travel holidays

In honor of National Plan for Vacation Day, here’s when to search for vacation rentals and beat the rush.

Published January 2023

The exterior of a vacation rental in Mars Hill, NC.

The beginning of the year is a popular time to start mapping out travel plans and how new adventures, visits to friends and family, and annual vacations will all fit together in the calendar—and budget. It’s only fitting then that National Plan for Vacation Day is celebrated on the last Tuesday in January, as a reminder not to dally when it comes to booking your getaways.

Our experts always advise, particularly for holidays and peak travel periods, to book early in order to find the best selection of vacation homes and the best selection of rates. And that advice holds this year more than ever, with 64% of U.S. travelers planning to travel more frequently in 2024 than they did in 2023—according to Vacasa’s 2023-2024 Holiday and Winter Trend Report. But if you’re not prepared to book your full trip list just yet, we’re here to help map out when is the best time to book a vacation in the year ahead. We dug into data to see when searches spiked for the major travel periods last year so that you can aim to beat the curve*.

Spring Break

Book by: late January

While there is an initial uptick in December and early January, it’s not until late in January that searches for the week-long school break, typically in March or April, see a significant spike.

Based on searches for check-ins March 3 - April 23, 2023

Summer Vacations

Book by: early April

While you may have more runway for planning August trips, it’s a good rule of thumb to book your summer mid-spring—after that, search volume steadily climbs and the best beachfront getaways fill up.

Based on searches for check-ins June 1 - August 30, 2023

Lakeside house.

Labor Day Weekend

Book by: late June

This year, travelers trended ahead of schedule when it came time to plan their ideal summer sendoff. Be sure to lock down your Labor Day vacation home before pulling out the barbecue for the 4th of July.

Based on searches for check-ins September 1- 5, 2023

Winter Break / Holidays

Book by: late August

While some get a jump start and book for the following year during the current holiday, the true surge comes at the end of summer, as people start preparing for the next travel rush.

Based on searches for check-ins December 15, 2023- January 1, 2024

Ski lift in Tahoe

Ski Season

Book by: early September

Ski season is no stranger to last-minute bookings (especially if there’s a good snow dump), but most people start planning their winter or spring trips to the slopes just after Labor Day.

Based on searches for check-ins December 1 - April 30 in 2022 and 2023, as well as use of the ski-in-ski-out amenity filter.

*Disclaimer: the "book by" dates for each holiday are based on historical search data from and may vary in 2024.

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