All in the tim­ing…

Monthly Chronicle - - Travel - MONIQUE MONSEES, CHER­RY­BROOK TRAVEL, WESTLEIGH

It’s pos­si­bly one of the most fre­quently-asked ques­tions for us as travel agents: when’s the best time to book my hol­i­day to get the best deal? Do you book early or last minute? When are spe­cials usu­ally re­leased?

Don’t rely on the in­ter­net for an­swers. In fact there’s only one per­son who can an­swer this with any au­thor­ity - your travel agent.

Travel agents have taken a beat­ing in re­cent years in the me­dia and es­pe­cially on so­cial me­dia with ques­tions of whether tra­di­tional “bricks and mor­tar” agents are still a sig­nif­i­cant en­tity over newer on­line agents. Why should you use a travel agent when you can go on­line and do it your­self? The an­swer is sim­ple, ex­pe­ri­ence.

Your travel agent is trained and ex­pe­ri­enced to know when the best time to book is; they know to recog­nise a good deal, a great deal or the “too good to be true so it must be dodgy deal”. Your travel agent also knows when the spe­cials are usu­ally re­leased and so can ad­vise when the best time to book is.

We had re­cently quoted a client a re­turn air­fare to the US East Coast. The client then ad­vised us they found a cheaper fare on­line. They soon came back to us how­ever as when they looked closer at the air­fare they found that the on­line cheapie in­volved three flight tran­sits across the US in­clud­ing an overnight stop in the Mid­west.

So their cheaper fare, whilst on the sur­face looked like it was less money, ac­tu­ally worked out dearer when tak­ing into ac­count time wasted on the ground and overnight ho­tels.

Right now you’ll see early bird deals for Europe ad­ver­tised ev­ery­where for travel in 2018. With so many fares in the mar­ket at the mo­ment, your travel agent can sort out the fares and all the rules and get the best fare to suit you and your itin­er­ary.

Why buy a re­ally cheap air­fare if it doesn’t get you any­where near where you want to be and takes an ex­haust­ing 48 hours to get there? We know of some clients that have jumped too early and booked on­line and not waited un­til the best deals were out, for fear of miss­ing out on a great deal.

We en­cour­aged them to wait but the temp­ta­tion and the fear of miss­ing out was over­whelm­ing, and when the early birds came out it was too late as they’d al­ready com­mit­ted to the flights with heavy penal­ties in­volved. We have clients who plan in ad­vance and then we leave the de­tails on file of the re­quired itin­er­ary un­til the right deal is out to suit them, and we con­tact them. As an agent we of­fer per­sonal ser­vice so you get the right deal for you. We do the hard work so you don’t have to.

So when should you book for your hol­i­day for the best deals? The best idea would be to dis­cuss your plans with your travel agent well in ad­vance and get plan­ning.

For travel to Europe dur­ing the north­ern sum­mer of July to Septem­ber, you def­i­nitely should book dur­ing our early bird sea­son which runs from now through to De­cem­ber, for travel the fol­low­ing year, usu­ally from about April through to Oc­to­ber.

For travel any­where dur­ing school hol­i­days you should book at least 6-8 months in ad­vance, es­pe­cially to the top hol­i­day spots of Bali, Fiji, and Pa­cific is­lands. Think at least three school hol­i­day pe­ri­ods ahead. So if in April you haven’t booked your school hol­i­days for Septem­ber you may not be end­ing up with the best deals.

For travel dur­ing the Christ­mas/ Jan­uary hol­i­days you need to book at least eight to 10 months in ad­vance, es­pe­cially if de­part­ing the few days or so be­fore Christ­mas Day.

A win­tery scene in an Es­to­nian vil­lage

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