Thursday, 31 October 2013

Bagging a cheap holiday


So after having a long in depth chat with a super helpful, chatty (and very honest) travel agent I learned that when it comes to summer holidays there's honestly never a perfect time to book. Although she did say that prices are released in April for the following summer so if you're looking for cheap/free child places during the school holidays it's best to book closer to this time because hotels/travel agents/websites only allocate a certain number of free child places and they're on a first come first served basis so once they're gone they're gone. Now this was something I wasn't aware of as I've seen advertisements for 'Child goes free with 2 full price adults' but it would seem this is only valid for as long as they have free child places available which seems totally ridiculous to me because surely if there's still room in the hotel for you to book 2 adults then surely there's room for your child to go for free.

She also informed me that there's no such thing as
a real cheap/last minute deal anymore. She was saying 3 years ago she could advise adventurous people to wait until the last minute and book a bargain but now she definitely wouldn't recommend it as it's not guaranteed. This isn't just limited to longhaul even short haul nowadays you will find it difficult to get a genuine deal compared to prices a few years ago.

She also told me that it's not necessarily the price of the hotels that are going up (because from what I've seen in Barbados the hotels seem to have a set price for summer and for winter) it's the price of the flights and suggested that if you're familiar with the country you're visiting you could maybe book the flight early to guarantee the lowest price bracket (before the airline wacks up the price) and then book the hotel separately, but the only bad thing about doing it that way is that you won't be ABTA/ATOL bonded.

So basically when it comes to booking summer holidays (in particular) the best option is to book as early as possible (preferably the year before) and just pay it off monthly, don't hang around waiting for a last minute deal to pop up because it's highly unlikely at peak season. I made this mistake last year when booking my trip to Barbados. I thought I would hang on till the 'Xmas sales' then when that wasn't good enough I thought 'Oh they're bound to have some kinda 'New years reductions' Umm.. nope, new years day the holiday went up by a good amount which made me feel like a wally because then I had to work harder to haggle down the price, nightmare! Yeah.. Don't do that if you can help it.
Oh also just to add to that whole 'prices dont go down the closer you get to the departure date' theory, my girl was looking to come out with us to our last trip to Barbados, now she's Mrs lastminute.com. So we were both checking various websites expecting to see some crazy deals if she could book and fly on the same day, none at all, in fact she would've had to pay a good £800-£1000 more than what we paid. Needless to say, she didn't come...

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