Book now or wait? The ultimate guide to planning a vacation in 2022
Remember that not only the cost and availability of the cruise can affect your decision, but also the airfare. Experienced cruisers will probably know how the system works best for the type of boat or vacation style they prefer, but when I checked the P&O website (pocruises.com) there were some good deals for spring cruises. and summer.
Free and flexible
Nick’s advice: watch out and wait for deals
Whether you’re in your 20s or 70s or 80s, if you don’t have family ties that promise to book well in advance, and are looking for a simple getaway to Europe in May or June, then you’ll probably pay to keep the dust dry. Except for the mid-quarter week, there will be a lot of availability. Air fares are unlikely to go up much, and please book what is available instead of putting your heart into a particular property or destination, you can always find a bargain when booking just a few weeks in advance. This is especially true if you can also be flexible on the release date.
What about skiing?
Nick’s advice: look and wait for the window of opportunity
If you have booked a ski holiday for this season and it has not yet been canceled, hold on and be optimistic.
However, if you haven’t booked yet, you’d probably do well to wait a little longer and wait until the picture is a little clearer. My advice would be to keep a close eye on the situation and strike as soon as a window of opportunity appears. Keep in mind that February is already a big sell-off, but late Easter puts less pressure on March, which currently seems like the best option.
Today, many of us book separate flights and accommodation that may go against your instinct to think of a vacation package. But it will give you a lot more security if Covid is still a problem because the operator has a legal duty of care with its customers. If something goes wrong before you leave or while you’re away, whether you’re connected to Covid or not, you’ll have someone to help you sort things out. You will also have much more financial protection: all tour operators must also have a license, so that you know that your money is safe in the event of a financial collapse; see caa.co.uk/atol-protection.
How to book your holiday safely
When you buy a holiday in January, it’s always worth being alert. Offers and incentives are not always as good as they seem at first glance. Here are some things to keep in mind:
The vast majority of combined travel prices are not fixed and vary by demand. There may be a theoretical price, but with the traditional sun and sand holidays, this can be well above the expected selling price. Therefore, a “discount” simply becomes a way to seduce you into thinking that you are getting a better deal than you really are. The same goes for the “free” added extras. So ignore the size of the claimed discount and look at the final price, this is what tells you whether you get a good deal or not.
2. Promises of price matching
It promises to refund the difference if you find the same holiday cheaper at a certain time after booking, it seems reassuring, as if the operator (or the airline) is really confident that it offers the lowest price. But it is an easy promise to make, as the terms and conditions are also extremely limited, and very few people are still looking for a holiday after buying it. Again, don’t get distracted by marketing; check the bottom line.
3. Low or zero deposits
These are a subtle ploy to tempt the uncertain to book a vacation, without feeling too committed. But while they can help if the cash is short after Christmas, they shouldn’t be seen as something you could cancel later without incurring too much loss. The small print of these offers almost always requires you to pay the full deposit a few weeks later, and the contract stipulates that this extra money will be paid even if you decide to cancel it.
4. “Free” children’s places.
In general, they represent a saving on a child’s plane ticket and meals, as children are expected to share their parents’ room to qualify for the offer. They may be good value for money, but be very careful with your holiday in self-catering apartments. These “free” places do not count for room occupancy. If a family of four book an apartment and opt for a free place for one of the children, the other three in the family will have to pay additional “underemployment” supplements. In some cases, this can make the total holiday price more expensive than paying a normal adult rate for the child. So check both pricing mechanisms before booking.
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