Holidays and flights can often see budgets overstretched so bagging a good deal is always appreciated, especially given the stressful year the world has just faced. However, with prices of getaways seeming to constantly fluctuate, when is best to book? Express.co.uk exclusively spoke to a travel expert to find out his travel advice.
According to Craig Ashford, Director of Marketing at English travel agency TravelUp, it’s best to book right now.
“Uncertainty about travel means that prices are currently very cheap,” he said.
“Airlines are trying to stimulate the market so there are some phenomenally low rates.
“As confidence returns the total number of airline seats will remain the same, so the cost will rise.”
In fact, if you’ve had a trip on your bucket list for some time, this could well be the best time to finally get it in the diary.
“My strong advice is to book now, especially if you have a particular dream holiday or trip in mind,” said Ashford.
“It is a great time to consider that trip to Florida with the kids or to go to South Africa or on safari.”
Booking for summer holidays 2021 is particularly advisable at the moment as many people won’t yet be thinking that far away and you can beat the rush.
“There is not a huge amount of booking activity at the moment,” said Ashford. “People are travelling to see friends and family for Christmas. But the appetite is not there for many summer holidays. That means prices are low.
“But once the vaccine programme is rolled out more widely, and more travel corridors are opened up with testing, capacity is going to disappear pretty quickly.”
The expert warned that from this point, prices will only rise.
“I think that when they get a chance to, the airlines will ramp up prices,” he said.
“Let’s be honest, they have not had a good year and they will be keen to recoup losses. So once demand comes back the prices will soar.”
Ashford explained that waiting until the last minute to book in the hopes of cheap deals is outdated and won’t work.
“There is no point waiting to book nearer to departure time nowadays. Years ago there were low-cost carriers, charters and scheduled airlines – and they were using different price matrixes.
“The low-cost carriers would start off cheap and then get more expensive as you got closer to the departure date. The other airlines would reduce their prices to fill the empty seats. Now they all use the same model – they get more expensive.
“They all work on the basis that it’s the people who really need to travel who are booking so close to departure. So there is no point waiting any more.”
If you’re nervous about committing lots of money but want to bag a good deal before it disappears you can always put a deposit down.
“You don’t have to pay much to secure the flight and accommodation.
“Then you will have months to pay it off before you depart. With the additional flexibility available in booking terms, that helps to provide some confidence.”
No matter what, Ashford cautioned, you must always check your passport and flights before departure.
“The rules around passports are changing on January 1 when it comes to travel to the EU,” he said. “You will need at least six months left and the passport cannot be over ten years old. So sort that now if you plan to travel next year.”