Research by ABTA, The Travel Association, for YouGov has found that one in four people book a holiday in advance so that they have longer to look forward to it.
The excitement of anticipation – being able to daydream about the new places to discover, weather, local food and drink and having time to relax – is a driving factor behind booking a holiday in advance.
Overall, the most common reason (41 per cent) for booking early is because people feel they get a better deal on their holiday. January and February are typically the travel industry’s “sales period”, with many deals, offers and free child places – all of which can significantly affect the overall price of the holiday, saving people hundreds of pounds.
Other popular reasons for booking early include increased choice (28 per cent) and being able to research the activities they want to do (28 per cent).
ABTA is encouraging travellers to make the most of the early booking season and has produced tips and advice to help, including knowing how to spot a package holiday, which gives the greatest level of protection, and taking out travel insurance straight away to ensure you are covered from the day you book.
Victoria Bacon, ABTA’s director of brand and business development, said: “Many people take great enjoyment out of looking forward to their well-earned break. While the holiday itself is clearly the best part about the whole experience, the excitement of anticipation – from planning what to see and do – can be incredibly exciting.
“During the festive period and with the start of a new year, many people turn their attention to holidays for the year ahead. It’s a great time to book – there is an abundance of deals and offers available, and an endless amount of choice, too. So booking early helps you get the best value for money for the holiday of your choice.”
Top reasons and tips for booking early:
January and February is the traditional “sales season” for travel companies and it’s at this time that they put out their best deals and offers, with potential savings of hundreds of pounds.
Free child places
If you are travelling with children it’s worth checking out the offers from tour operators. Many typically offer free child places in January and February for holidays later that year. There is a limited number, so it pays to get in quick as they are likely to run out.
Lots of choice
Booking early means that you have a wide range of options as to where and when to go. Leaving it late may drastically reduce these options. Popular destinations and hotels around the world and in the UK will sell early, so to avoid disappointment, talk to an ABTA member and book early.
Buy now, pay later
If you book a package holiday for the summer many companies offer the opportunity to pay a deposit with the balance not due until later in the year. This will help reduce financial pressure after Christmas and give you a chance to budget effectively.
Packages offer the most protection
Booking a package holiday is straightforward, often providing excellent value for money and provides the greatest level of protection. You are entitled to a refund or to be brought home should the travel company organising your package holiday go out of business, and you are also protected if the holiday isn’t provided as required – for example, the right to a refund if bad weather means your holiday can’t go ahead.
A package holiday can come in many different forms and can be sold in different ways – from a “ready-made” package (where the different travel services are put together for you by the travel company and offered at a single price) to many tailor-made trips (for example where you select different services from a range offered before paying for them together).
Take out your travel insurance early
Buying your travel insurance straight away means that you are covered from the moment you book. That means if you have to cancel your holiday, due to illness or the loss of your job, for example, then you should be able to get your money back through your insurance. More details available at abta.com/travelinsurance.
Watch out for holiday fraud
Millions of pounds are lost every year to holiday fraud. Fraudsters convincingly offer holidays, flights or villas at good value prices, leaving people out of pocket and often without a holiday. Check that you are booking with a reputable company before departing with any of your hard-earned cash and read ABTA’s tips to look out for the warning signs abta.com/fraud.