Early holiday bookings are booming in the early part of 2015 according to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), with customers looking to grab the best deals.
ABTA revealed that a third of summer holidays will be sold by the end of February while reporting “exceptional” trading in the first few weeks of the year.
In some cases, growth in trading of between 30% and 50% was reported when compared to the same period last year. Favourable exchange rates – particularly the pound against the Euro – mean it’s also possible save when converting currency and looking at European destinations.
Reasons for getting organised quickly
Booking early has several advantages, as it is possible to secure some of the best resorts and destinations while also getting deals and discounts.
Free child places and complimentary upgrades were found to be particularly popular incentives, with ABTA reporting that as many as 20,000 free child places have been offered so far.
Cuts to Air Passenger Duty that is payable on holiday bookings are also likely to have had an impact on the levels of people looking to travel.
Departure tax is being reduced for long haul flights from 01 April while it will be abolished altogether for children less than 12 years of age from 01 May.
This is particularly important for families looking at long-haul destinations with ABTA suggesting it will cut the cost of a holiday to Florida for a family of four by more than £140. UK holidays have also noticed a rise in bookings with some regions of the UK noting a 27% surge in demand as people look to ensure they get the accommodation they want.
A growing trend towards booking early
Booking early has increased in popularity over the past few years as 36% of people booked in advance last year compared to 24% who left it to the last minute.
It was a similar trend the year before that too when 27% of people booked early compared to 20% who left it late.
Younger people were most likely to book early with 51% of 16-24 year olds and 44% of 25-34 year olds booking their holiday earlier in 2014. Some 46% of families with children aged five or younger also booked early; although the figure was slightly lower for those with children over five at 43%.
Early indications suggest that the Balearics, Canary Islands and Greece are set to be popular destinations while Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic were long-haul favourites.
Managing travel money
Travelling with a prepaid travel card can provide money to spend without the need to carry lots of travellers’ cheques or foreign currency.
With a prepaid card you can only spend the amount which is on it at any given time, making budget management possible – although it can be topped up if you so wish.
Additional security exists on these cards, while the exchange rate seen will be the one when the original transaction took place; providing protection should the exchange rate vary dramatically during a trip.