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It's the age old question; should you book early or wait till the last minute in the hope of grabbing a bargain for your holiday or cruise deal? For some people there is no real option, especially families who need to plan ahead around the school holidays and those who have to take their breaks at set times.

But many of us could also learn from those who get a deposit down on their next holiday way ahead of the departure date. What are the advantages of booking early?  Read on for our tips.

  • Early bookers can take advantage of a huge range of offers.

For holidays in 2011 you could get discounts of up to 15% off the brochure prices, free child places, single savers, no regional flight supplements and added value extras such as free airport or port parking and on board credit for spending on board cruise ships - all by booking in the post Christmas sales period rather than waiting until later in the year..

These offers are set to entice you in to booking early and you do not generally find these offers available when you book at the last minute.

  • You can secure your holiday for a deposit.

Most holiday companies allow you to book your holiday for a nominal deposit when you book at least 12 weeks ahead of your departure date.

This means you have no immediate outlay for your holiday and you have time to save up the balance without getting into debt with a credit card or a loan.

  • You get the best choice.

The further out you book the more choice there is in terms of destinations, flights, hotels and room types. So you have the pick of everything on sale and can ensure that you get the holiday that is right for you.

You also have time to browse a number of options, check out reviews and guides to read more about your options and no feeling that you have to rush to book or the holiday will have gone.

  • You get the lowest prices.

This is contentious; however for some types of trip you will generally get the lowest prices when you book early.

Flights are generally cheaper the earlier you book. Only charter flights are ever cheaper when you book late.

Holidays that have a lot of demand such as all inclusive holidays, or those to the big fashionable destinations for the year, such sell out and do not need to be discounted.  In fact at the last minute they can command prices that are higher than the brochure.

Long haul holidays are generally cheaper the earlier you book and due to the early booking discounts and offers that many companies offer, this makes early booking a sensible financial option.

  • You have something to look forward to.

Having a holiday  to look forward to is just the tonic to fend off the wind, rain, ice and snow of winter r to have something to aim at for later on to put a smile on your face at any time. 

You can look ahead to you holiday experience, plan your holiday wardrobe, save up and spend time learning more about your destination so you can really make the most of it.

Why not clip out a picture of that perfect beach you are booked to stay on and stick it on your fridge or your pc at work. And make it a reminder of the good times that you know you are booked to enjoy.