Is NOW the best time to book next year’s holiday?09/15/2019
Schools are back, holiday tans are fading and adverts for summer sun 2020 are here. Is NOW the best time to book next year’s holiday?
- Neil Simpson explores the best time to book your summer 2020 holiday
- Small group escorted tours and things in limited supply should be booked early
- Put deposits on credit cards for protection and take out travel insurance now
Every week, our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week, he explores the best time to book your summer 2020 holiday.
Schools are back, holiday tans are fading and adverts for summer sun 2020 are here. Tour companies, airlines and hotels are taking bookings now for next year’s peak weeks in July and August. But does it pay to sign up so early?
Do you want something specific?
Small group escorted tours should also be booked early. Tui says its eight-night Wonders Of The Galapagos Islands tour (from £2,483pp next June) or 13-night Once In A Lifetime China tour (from £2,326pp also in June) are very popular
If you want something that will be in limited supply, then the sooner you reserve it the better. That means places in boutique hotels, family rooms, kids-go-free spots, honeymoon suites or even premium seats on planes.
Small group escorted tours should also be booked early. Tui says its eight-night Wonders Of The Galapagos Islands tour (from £2,483pp next June) or 13-night Once In A Lifetime China tour (from £2,326pp also in June) are very popular.
Reserving early won’t give you a cast-iron guarantee that you’ll get what you want as firms can change things if hurricanes, terrorism or other events hit (you’re then guaranteed ‘equal’ alternatives or full refunds). But reserve early and it means no one else can get the special facilities you’ve paid for if the holiday goes ahead.
Fortunately, you don’t need to pay too much to reserve trips. The full balance on a package isn’t normally due until three months before departure, so that means May 2020 for August holidays. Thomas Cook has no-deposit deals and interest-free payment plans so that you can spread the cost of your trip over nine months.
Do you want a rock-bottom price?
Travel agents call it ‘holiday roulette’ – trying to work out if prices will rise or fall as we get closer to summer 2020. The bad news is that the odds are stacked against holidaymakers. Pay for a package, flight or hotel room now and, if the same deal is later offered for less, then you’re not due a refund. But if prices rise, you can be asked for more.
As The Mail on Sunday revealed earlier this month, tour firms can add surcharges of up to eight per cent of a prepaid price up to 20 days before departure, to cover extra bills from fluctuating exchange rates or higher fuel costs. No mainstream company has levied the full charge this year, even amid the turbulence of Brexit (and Thomas Cook offers a Brexit guarantee saying it won’t do so in the future) but the risk is there whenever you decide to book.
Early birds: Planning next year’s trip could reap rewards, but be wary
Is your money safe?
Protect yourself by checking your holiday firm is legitimate. Don’t rely on an ABTA or the Civil Aviation Authority’s ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licence) stamp on a tour firm website as cowboys often put these on fake sites. Go to ‘Member Search’ at abta.com and ‘Check an ATOL’ at the Civil Aviation Authority site (caa.co.uk) to make sure your provider is listed.
ATOL membership is the most important, as it ensures you won’t lose out if your tour firm collapses before or during a holiday.
Put deposits on credit cards for extra protection and take out travel insurance now, even though you don’t get on a plane for nearly a year. That means you can claim a refund if something like ill-health strikes and you need to cancel right up to the departure date.
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