How soon in advance should I book my Florida Vacation Rental?
As you think about your Florida trip, you may be wondering ‘How soon in advance should I book my villa?’
This really depends upon what season during the year you are planning to come and stay with us.
We use information from Disney in reviewing and planning our rate seasons each year, and if you look at the example weekly rate schedules for Breezy Oak here and Pleasant Oak here you will see a very good indicator of how busy Disney (and thus we) expect it will be at that time of year.
While you’re at it, you may want to check out the detailed information on how we set and quote our rates here.
Those periods with the highest rates are the busiest times of the year, so tend to get booked sooner.
There are a few exceptions to this. For example, visitors from the UK are much more familiar with vacation rentals and tend to book them more. They also appreciate better quality rentals like ours, searching for something more than just the lowest price they can find.
We get a lot of UK guests, which we are very proud of given their experience, and better taste in vacation rentals. It’s a big deal to make the trek across the pond to come to Florida, so when they look for vacation rental properties, they’re fussy! So it is always busier for us around the start of August through the end of September, when we traditionally have a lot of UK guests stay with us. We haven’t ever raised our rates to reflect this, as the rates are based on the total number of travelers coming to the area, but August through September tends to be a busier time for us for this reason – with more consistent bookings for our villas than Disney’s calculations would suggest.
The two holiday seasons; Easter and Christmas, are the absolute busiest times of the year. Each season is about two weeks in length, and it is not unusual to see them booked more than a year in advance!
Strangely enough, we inevitably receive lots of last minute requests for these dates, with a few from people looking for steep discounts because they’re booking ‘last minute’.
Winter months; January through March are peak season in Central Florida, with people from the Northern USA and Canada anxious to spend some time in Florida just to get away from Winter and enjoy a warm weather break. Many schools and colleges have ‘winter break’ and/or ‘spring break’ during these months (it varies between schools) so these are always busy peak times, and rates reflect this. It is not uncommon for these dates to go between six and nine months ahead of time.
People looking for a winter get-away to enjoy some sun and respite from the cold are competing for dates with Snow-birds however, who will often book to stay a full month or two at a time. Snow-birds are those folks from colder climates who winter in southern warmer locations. Many of them will book next year’s accommodations while they are down in Florida because they get a chance to travel around and see where they may be staying first hand. Other’s will wait until the fall to see how other issues, like family schedules, and their own health, may affect their winter travel plans.
People booking winter dates should be making their selection at least six months ahead of time, or be prepared to be disappointed and/or less fussy about what dates they have to choose from.
May through June is a bit quieter, with graduation trips filling the calendar with families. Things start picking up through the end of June and through July, as families from the SouthEast United States travel to Walt Disney World for their summer holiday plans. Locals are used to the heat anyway, and they have months off from school, so it is a common time to hit the road and go on vacation. These dates tend to get booked six to three months in advance.
The fall months are a great time to enjoy central Florida!
The heavy summer heat is past, the days are still warm, and the crowds are less. With people busy settling into the new school year cycle, and starting to prepare for the Thanksgiving – Christmas season, the villas are less busy, and dates can often be booked just a few weeks in advance.
Inevitably some dates, no matter what time of the year it is, won’t get booked when they normally do. That doesn’t mean that they don’t get booked, however. It just happens a lot later than usual! So it is always good to check and see what availability you can find, even if you are looking last minute.
The real questions are; how firm are your dates, and how much do you want to ensure that you stay with us?
As soon as you know your dates, you should go ahead and book them!
For some strange reason that I have never been able to understand, every year I will get requests for quotes for weeks during a few seasons from a number of people. I will provide quotes for them and hear nothing back, for weeks or even months at a time. And then… out of the blue, two or even three people will ALL try to book the same dates at the same time! Within hours of each other!
In this case, all we can do is give the dates to whomever pays the booking deposit earliest – first come, first served. Sometimes one person will submit their booking form, but not submit their deposit, while another guest will come in and submit the booking form and deposit immediately thereafter, and end up ‘scooping’ the dates away! It is an amazing phenomena. I don’t understand why it happens, only that it does.
The only conclusion I can draw from this is to recommend that guests book their dates just as fast as they know they can. Then immediately ensure them with proper travel insurance. They’ll have their desired dates, and their trip is protected too.
Booking ahead provides some added extras to your trip…
First, you’ll be able to relax about your accommodations, knowing you have a great place to stay… one with conscientious, caring owners and managers, all lined up. It’s not fun having a great trip planned or even committed to, but not knowing where you’ll be staying. (Being in that position drives my wife crazy!)
Second, you’ll have a lot more time to think about your upcoming holiday, what you plan on doing and how you will enjoy your time with us – meaning you get to enjoy the anticipation of the trip so much more. This truly is one of the great sources of vacation enjoyment that the ‘last-minute’ crowd totally misses out on.
Third, you can book special events at Walt Disney World if you want to enjoy them, like character dining, or a nice meal in a quality world-class Disney restaurant. You can even book fast passes for particular rides months in advance (crazy I know, but that’s how it works now)! Many popular rides get booked up a year in advance! So make your reservations early!
Fourth, you can order your theme park and attraction tickets in advance, and have them shipped to your home so you have them before you even leave for Florida. This will save you tons of time when you get here! Believe me on this one! And, make it easier to plan all of those in-park events mentioned above.