by Mia Taylor
Last updated: 8:00 AM ET, Wed March 13, 2019
Spring break is just around the corner and with the record cold weather in many parts of the country, a beachside escape may be just what's needed.
If you haven't booked that getaway yet, don't despair. It turns out that it may actually pay to procrastinate (at least when it comes to spring break.)
New data released by the budget travel site CheapTickets reveals that travelers who wait and book just one week in advance could save as much as 16 percent on hotels and 20 percent or more on packages, compared with the average prices for the month.
"A lot of travelers have been trained to book trips within that 21- to 30-day timeframe for the biggest savings," said Justine McDonald, travel expert at CheapTickets. "But this is the first spring break season where the data is proving it pays to wait and book last minute."
The CheapTickets finding is based on a comparison of seven different booking windows for spring break between March 1 and March 31.
According to the data, those who book anywhere from seven to 13 days in advance of travel will actually pay five percent more than those who wait to book six days or less before travel. And the price escalates the further in advance you go.
For instance, those who book 14 to 20 days in advance will pay nine percent more, and those who like to get ahead of the game and reserve their vacation 21 to 30 days ahead of time will pay the steepest price - a full 13 percent more.
As for where to go on your spring break, CheapTickets also helpfully researched the most budget-friendly destinations, sharing some of the best places to travel in March.
Travelers who take advantage of the site's advice and book spring break a little later this year can find hotels for $125 or less in hot spots like Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Austin, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida.
If you're looking for even more of a bargain, check out Stockholm, Sweden; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam or Guadalajara, Mexico, where CheapTickets says prices are running under $75 per night.
If warm weather isn't necessarily a priority, there are also vacation packages to such places as San Francisco, California; Charleston, South Carolina and Kyoto, Japan for $1500 or less.
By the way, the same discount theory applies to packages. CheapTickets found that those who book packages six days or less before travel save a whopping 20 percent. But if you choose to book a package between seven and 13 days in advance, your savings will drop to 13 percent off, and reserving that package 14 to 20 days ahead of arrival will reduce savings even further, to about 10 percent off.
Want to maximize your savings even more?
CheapTickets is also offering some notable last-minute promo codes. For instance, the site is offering an extra 16 percent savings on select hotels booked March 4 through March 31. (Use the code SPRINGBREAK).
To score savings on vacation packages use the code VACAY75 and pocket $75 off. Note, however, that this particular promo code is good for any destination except Las Vegas (Sorry Sin City fans).
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