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Booking A UK Staycation Now Or Later?

Early or late? When’s the best time to book your accommodation?


The age-old dilemma; booking a UK staycation last minute or far in advance. It depends on the circumstance. For those travellers with families, are in a job that has restricted holiday time or you are sure on where in the UK you want to visit then booking in advance would be the way to go. If you aren’t sure on the destination you want to visit and have more movement for when you can take time off then booking last minute could be the best option.

There are several advantages of booking a staycation in the UK in advance. You have more choice in the type of staycation you want to go on and where in the UK you want to visit. You’re able to choose UK hotels without worrying if they’re booked out and the bigger room options will no doubt be available too.

A UK staycation that’s booked last minute has several positive factors too. You can find bargains late and it’s possible to enjoy the unknown of not really knowing what’s available at the time of booking.

Flexibility when booking a staycation in the UK

How flexible are you for booking a staycation? By booking now it means if you have to go on your staycation during a certain point of the year you won’t have to worry about comprising on the day of departure or any other aspect of your short break.

Alternatively, if you’re free as a bird and are truly flexible when you can go and explore the UK then leaving it late and booking at the last possible moments opens up other doors such as being able to take advantage of ridiculously cheap late deals.  But please keep in mind that the dates won’t be peak season and the choice can be quite limited.

Under certain circumstances booking late doesn’t necessary mean you will get the discounted deal you’re looking for. Sometimes there are incentives for booking a break 6 months to a year in advance. This could include free child places, upgrades to superior rooms, spa discounts at the hotel and more. This can all add up to lower the cost of your UK staycation.

Hotel groups such as Hilton, Best Western and spa hotels will all have incentives to book a break early. Also; hotels use the skills of online travel agents (OTA’s) to not only market their rooms to a wider audience but broker special deals with them to entice new customers.

Paying your staycation upfront or at the hotel

Booking later is always tempting as it avoids paying anything right now. Booking early means deposits can be low and in some deals, there isn’t any booking fee at all.

With the buying behaviour of customers changing recently, we’re seeing guests’ book longer stays more so than single night stays at UK hotels.  This might mean that a booking fee might apply due to the increased price of the overall stay.

Booking late can have a couple of cost implications too. As booking late requires the full price paid at the point of purchase instead of saving up, you could be paying for your break for longer if done so on a credit card. As mentioned, booking early means time can be used to save up and pay off the balance before check in.

Do you have the patience to wait to find out where to go for your staycation?

Some guests love the challenge of finding last minute staycation deals. Booking late will suit certain travellers; especially during the winter months. From October through to March, this is the quietest time for hotels in the UK. They can offer cheaper rooms to fill their occupancy. Again, as mentioned, hotels also use the help of OTA’s to attract guests. There can be further discount found here too.

Although, if there’s a certain part of the UK you want to visit because of family, or a certain hotel you want to experience then its wiser booking upfront to avoid the pain of not finding the right break for yourself or your family or partner.  Booking now means you can compare the best deals around to get the one that’s most suitable.  Booking something now for winter means it’s something to look forward to as well.

How far in advance should you book a UK hotel?

This is a question a lot of us get asked when looking to travel around the UK. Hotels handle reservations differently. Approaching Christmas time, booking rooms will become more expensive. In this instance booking far in advance doesn’t benefit the guest from the pricing perspective. The window of booking depends on what hotel you want to visit. Shop around and do some research before deciding where to go and what hotel to stay in. Some chains offer 12 months in advance booking. Another good way to find out if booking in advance is beneficial is to look at hotels in different neighborhoods as pricing might differ here as well.

Benefits of booking a UK hotel room early

  • Booking early guarantees guests, a room. You get to choose the location of the room as not many people book far in advance. You also know that your hotel is going to be available for when you want to travel
  • When there is less demand for hotel rooms, they tend to be cheaper as hotels and OTA’s offer lower rates and more incentives
  • You can usually cancel a hotel for free or at a cheaper rate compared to when booking it last minute. It will be easy to do and inexpensive overall

Benefits of booking a UK staycation hotel last minute

  • It’s fun not knowing exactly where you’re going to be visiting. There isn’t much stress of planning involved and the last minute weekend away might be just what the doctor ordered.
  • Using apps or OTA saves you time when booking last minute. They show you the best deals on UK hotels.


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