When exactly to book a hotel to get the best deal

This story is part of CNBC’s Make It’s One-Minute Money Hacks series, which provides simple, straightforward tips and tricks to help you understand your finances and take control of your money.

As summer approaches, you might start to look to your next vacation and, in some cases, set your sights on a faraway destination. According to Expedia, around 50% of millennials and Gen Z plan to travel abroad in 2022. 2022 Travel Value Index Outlook.

But whether you’re having a weekend getaway or jet-setting around the world, the recent rise in inflation could put a damper on your plans.

If you want to maximize your travel budget, the golden rule of travel is usually to plan your trip well in advance.

With flights, generally the earlier you book, the more money you will save. But with hotels or Airbnbs, it can be tricky to know how far in advance you need to book a room to get the best deal.

Tip: if you’re flexible, willing to wait, or just easy to plan your trip, you could save on accommodations by booking last minute. It’s true, it can be cheaper to book your next home just a few days before you leave.

The ideal time to book a hotel room is only 15 days before your trip, according to a NerdWallet Study 2021.

Looking at more than 2,500 hotel room rates between 2019 and 2021, NerdWallet found that rates were around 13% cheaper when booked 15 days in advance compared to four months prior.

On average, travelers saved around $30 per night by booking last minute, which can really add up.

The savings were even greater for luxury hotels: around 22% less when booking for 15 days.

However, if you’re traveling to a popular destination or during a busy travel season, you might not snag your top pick hotel. You may get stuck at a hotel further from your destination – the beach, Disney World, or a sporting event may be a little harder to reach if you wait too long to book.

But with travel prices soaring, booking your hotel at the right time could make the difference in how much money you have in your pocket for the rest of the trip.

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