Destination Weddings

Last Minute Travel Deals for Destination Weddings

Travel expert Tammy Levent tells you when to book and when to wait

Once you've decided where you want to go for your honeymoon or destination wedding it's time to book your trip. But when should you purchase your package to get the best price? Tammy Levent, owner of Elite Travel, dispels the myth of the last-minute deal and tells you when to book and when to wait.

The myth is that booking late will get you a better deal, but you won't lose anything by booking your hotel early. You should plan to book your rooms at least six to eight months in advance of your honeymoon, even earlier if it falls on a holiday or peak season, and a year or more for a destination wedding. Even though the rates will look high and you likely won't find great deals that early, travel agents know that rates will be lower later and should be able to adjust your prices as they decrease. You don't have to pay the full price of your rooms up front; instead, you can hold your space with a deposit of as little as $200 a person.

With air travel, you only get one chance to purchase tickets since travel agents cannot adjust the prices if tickets become cheaper later. Knowing when to buy tickets for the lowest price requires some research. Ask your travel agent...

what the average ticket rates are for flights from your airport to your destination for the time of year you're traveling. Then you can check travel Web sites regularly and pounce when rates dip lower than that average. But don't wait too long: flights are overbooked as it is. The days of getting a better deal by booking tickets at the last minute are over.

If you do find a deal, double check to make sure the plane isn't making multiple stops—unless you like spending your vacation time in airports. You might be tempted by smaller charter flights, but the odds of getting bumped increase and they don't have to put you on another plane. Major airlines however, have a "coed share" program with other airlines and will put you on a comparable flight.

There are some times of year when you can wait until the last minute to book and not only get your seat and room, but get both cheaply. You'll just be traveling to the Caribbean during hurricane season or to Europe in midwinter. Better to book your dream destination wedding and honeymoon early!

Timeline for When to Book

1. As soon as you know you're getting married start talking with your travel agent to get ideas and a sense of rates for your honeymoon or destination wedding. And remember, your guests need time to budget and book too.

2. Put down your deposit on your hotel six months in advance for a honeymoon and over a year in advance for a destination wedding.

3. Start tracking plane ticket rates four to six months before your trip, or have your agent do this for you.

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