Travel Column - February/March 23
How To Holiday In 2023
Even though we’re someway down the road from when Covid took away our very basic freedom of movement, holidaying in these still uncertain times can feel somewhat daunting… not least when it comes to working out how much we should pay for our one or two-week jaunt to somewhere breathless and far-flung.
In fact, the doubt is so great for some that we may choose to simply stay at home. Yet as the saying goes, “he who dares, wins” (or in this case, ‘travels’, at least); and those willing to put the work in could end up with the holiday of a lifetime.
There was a time when you could pretty much predict how travel prices were going to either wax or wane. You could expect to pay through the nose during the summer holidays and Easter; yet those willing to travel around Christmastime might enjoy a glorious sunny break in the Caribbean or Southeast Asia for a very pleasing rate. Booking very early or very late were also sure-fire methods of getting yourself a decent travel deal.
Alas, then Covid came along and royally upset the applecart.
These days it seems it is almost impossible to forecast how travel markets are going to go. Prices are unpredictable to the extent that there may be no real benefit in booking in advance. Equally, booking last minute offers far fewer exciting steals to unusual and exotic destinations.
Presumably much of this is an attempt by the leisure industry to claw back as many financial gains as possible alongside a desire to insure against the fear of an already skittish sector falling further off the precipice. It’s also true that supply is down on previous years, meaning fewer bargains.
With this in mind, it’s worth investing as much as you can in your trip, both in terms of money and energy.
Firstly, settle on a time to travel which is best suited to you and your agenda, and stick to it. With little to be gained from being flexible, it’s worth limiting the upset in your private life and removing any obstacles which may arise to thwart your plans. Once you have settled on ‘when’, working out ‘where’ becomes more straightforward.
The next step is all about research. Have a good nose around online at all the places you would like to feasibly visit. Start tracking prices and be ready to pounce on any offers that are particularly tempting. With the economy fluctuating as it is, a deal which may once have seemed dubious is now likely to simply be a side-effect of a market trying to steady itself. Use referral sites such as Quidco to save what can be a considerable percentage on the cost of your trip – anything up to 10%.
When your trip is confirmed, it may be tempting to leave all the legwork to a tour operator, but it’s always worth checking direct costs of hotels, flights and day excursions yourself. See if there is a significant markup, thus providing leverage to negotiate a more reasonable fee.
Once you’ve sorted all the basics, it is also worth watching over the finer details of your upcoming excursion. Be sure to have comprehensive travel insurance in place in the event of any outside forces disrupting plans, and observe the currency exchange, being ready to respond in the event of a vulnerability in your chosen coinage.
You can also save money by purchasing any holiday essentials in advance; for example, an end-of-summer clothing sale in provision of your winter sun vacation.
In short, in 2023, the key to a happy, stress-free holiday, is to leave almost nothing to chance!