Booking a holiday can often be a stressful task. It can take time to find the perfect holiday for you, having spent hours upon hours of browsing the internet, visiting travel agents and looking at reviews. The following post shares seven essential tips in order to find the ideal holiday for you, and perhaps save yourself time, money and stress.
1. Plan Ahead
Whether you are travelling alone, as a couple or with family or friends it would be beneficial to decide on dates that are mutually convenient as possible to all those involved. Booking time off work is the first step, and they are often first-come-first-served so get your holiday forms handed into your manager as soon as possible!
Prior to booking, ensure your passport is up to date and not close to expiry. This is where a lot of people go wrong and can lead to a lot of stress realising your passport is due to expire a week before you jet off. So avoid the potential embarrassment at the airport, and in order to receive your passport quicker, I would suggest using the check and send service provided by the Post Office, it costs extra but is 100% worth the extra money, I promise!
Additionally, ensure you purchase the necessary things you will need for your holiday including clothes, luggage and most importantly travel insurance! This needs to be booked as soon as possible after booking as this covers you in the event you can’t make your holiday due to an injury for example. Many people leave it last minute but this is highly unadvisable. Also, if travelling in Europe, ensure you have an up to date EHIC card. This will enable you to get access to free healthcare should you need it, if the locals don’t pay for it you shouldn’t have to either. Many people make the mistake of assuming that this adequately covers them in the event of injury or sickness, however it is highly advisable to have travel insurance also.
2. Tailor your search to suit you
Consider your budget, and make sure you know how you are paying for the holiday and your budget. Have the money up front? Go for it. If not, many companies offer deposit schemes such as Jet2Holidays who offer a deposit of £60pp with the remainder of the balance payable in installments. OnTheBeach also offer a deposit system, with you not having to pay until 2 weeks before your holiday subject to Ts and Cs.
In terms of accommodation, consider your board basis (All inclusive, half board, self-catering etc) and choose the one which works best for you. If you prefer more freedom, then half board, self-catering or B&B may be your best option as this enables you to have more meals outside of your hotel, or cook for yourself. All inclusive means all your meals and drinks are included, but some often get fed up of eating in the same place, so choose wisely.
Also, consider the type of holiday you want to go on and the hotel’s suitability for your travelling party. Have kids? you might want to read up on the facilities available both at your hotel and the local area. Fancy somewhere more relaxed as a couple? go for adults only as these tend to be more suitable. Or perhaps you fancy a short break, in which case city breaks over a weekend might be a good option.
3. Visit the High Street
You can usually find the best deals on the internet, from the comfort of your own home. Don’t rule out visiting your high street travel agents though, you can sometimes find excellent deals that are not available online, particularly last minute deals. Keep your options open and don’t restrict your search to the internet only.
4. Utilise package holiday websites
Through using package holiday sites such as Thomson or Jet2Holidays, you can include all the aspects of a holiday in one booking. Particularly for those who are less experienced when it comes to booking holidays, this can save a lot of time and stress. Your hotel, flights, and transfers will be included, and you can choose flight times to you, and even upgrade to a private transfer for an additional cost if you just can’t bear the thought of going on a coach. For those who are able to drive, you even have the option to include car hire as an extra. There are restrictions including age, how long you have had your licence for so be sure to check up on the rules regarding your particular car hire provider.
5. Consider booking separately
Don’t just assume that package holidays are cheaper. A lot of the time they can be, but by searching around using separate sites can sometimes save you some of you hard earned cash. See my recommendations below for booking separately:
6. Consider Flight and Transfer Times
Choose a flight time convenient for all those travelling, however choosing certain flights can often add to the cost. Compromises may need to be made in terms of flight times particularly if you are on a budget. Choosing a later flight time for departure may mean losing out on a day at the start of your holiday, but if you wish to save yourself some cash then this can be an option.
Additionally, take into consideration how long your transfer to your hotel will take. When booking your holiday many websites will display how long the transfer will take from the airport, so if you prefer to keep the transfer time to a minimum, take this into consideration when booking your hotel.
7. Check Reviews
If you have found a hotel you particularly like the look of, it will really help to view reviews before booking. This will give you more of an idea as to what the hotel is really like, and you can find several unbiased reviews published by people from all over the world sharing their experience staying at a particular accommodation provider. The most widely used review site is Tripadvisor.co.uk and I highly recommend using this site. Consider writing your own review upon returning from your holiday as this can really help other travellers.