BOISE – In just a few months, Idahoans will trade sunburns for snowflakes, and with holiday travel on the horizon, AAA says that now is the best time to firm up your plans.

“It’s strange to think about the holidays while the summer is still going strong, which is why most people book their vacations in September and October when school is back in session and routines are a bit more stable,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “But for maximum flexibility and the perfect itinerary, booking now can get you ahead of the game.”

AAA says that because most travelers want to avoid layovers and connecting flights, nonstop routes tend to fill up fast.  The seats that are still available often go up in price as supplies dwindle.

“There’s always a chance that waiting until the last minute will bring a great deal, but that comes with the risk of a long and arduous journey if things don’t pan out,” Conde said.  “With many airlines resolving staffing and air traffic controller shortages by using larger planes and fewer departures, a last-minute decision could lead to fewer options to pull off your holiday getaway.”

European travel is booming, and cruises and theme parks also tend to sell out well in advance.  If you’re thinking about a trip to Hawaii or a voyage to the Caribbean, booking now is a good idea.  In the case of international travel, you’ll also need several weeks to obtain or renew your passport, as well as to receive any other documentation such as travel visas that you’ll need.

“More than ever, people are thinking in terms of living in the moment and traveling while they have the health and wherewithal to do so.  And when it comes to travel, many families are opting for experiences over a pile of toys that may someday end up in a closet or at the thrift store,” Conde said.  “In addition to cruises, theme parks, and plane tickets, start thinking about the type of hotel experience you would want over the holidays.  The hotels that are close to your favorite attractions realize that they’re a hot commodity, and prices will only go up as you get closer to the timing of your event.”