January is the ideal time of the year to book a holiday and it is the busiest time for many tour operators up and down the country.
They do battle for business and promise all sorts of discounts in a bid to attract more custom. Consumers are getting increasingly savvy at this time of year and are doing their best to snap up the great deals available as a result.
But there’s a fine balance between getting the maximum possible for a holiday and having one which is left unsold.
The package option
Package holidays are the most popular, according to the Association of British Travel Agents. The ABTA Travel Trends Report 2014 suggested that 16.5 million people choose such a trip every year.
These types of trips are available to many different locations across the globe and can be purchased directly from tour operators or from a travel agent.
Flights, hotels and transfers will often be included in the price, although the total amount will vary dramatically depending on where it is booked from.
A great deal of research will be required to find the best deals, while it’s important to remember that protection for the trip is not necessarily included if holidays are pieced together bit by bit.
Should a hotel or travel company go bust there are ways to get additional protection, with one such method being to pay via credit card.
Most credit card issuers will provide money back up to a certain amount if the service that was paid for is no longer offered.
However, credit card issuers will not help if the company goes out of business while you are abroad, although this is a rare occurrence.
This service will also come at a cost as the majority of companies will charge a small percentage – usually 2% or 3% – when credit cards are used for payment.
In all cases it’s important to check with the card issuer and with the travel company involved as each company will have variable charges.
Booking early is recommended, as there is more choice and prices will usually be reduced, while the alternative is to leave it to the last minute.
However, doing so can leave little or no choice of location, although significant savings can be made – even by making little decisions like flying on a Friday rather than a Saturday.
Prepaid cards can provide a secure means of ensuring you don’t spend more than you bargained for once you reach your holiday location.
Cards can also be replaced and re-credited if lost or stolen, making them a good alternative to needing to have a credit or debit card with you on your trip.
The exchange rate paid will be the one on the day that money is placed on the card and not when a purchase is made. This is a particularly attractive feature for many people as it ensures that there no nasty surprises where exchange rates are concerned.
If you want an alternative to travellers’ cheques or large amounts of foreign currency then a prepaid card is definitely an option that you should consider.