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AIBU, booking early v booking last minute?

(15 Posts)
themueslicamel Sun 16-Apr-17 23:16:22


We are a family of 5 with 16,13 and 9 dc and we always book early and travel independently, but for this years summer holiday nothing is taking our fancy, so wondering if we should break with our normal protocol and book just before.

We have the first two weeks of August booked.

Does anyone have experience of doing it this way?

Is it cheaper?

Are there last minute bargains or just the crap no one else wants?

When is the best place for last minute bookings, and how last minute do you leave it?

NewIdeasToday Sun 16-Apr-17 23:19:05

I would never book late for five people in the height of the school holidays. All that will be left are the holidays no one else fancied.

phoolani Sun 16-Apr-17 23:28:54

I'm not sure how easy it'd be with a family of five. I miss the days I used to do it when I was single. I got 2 weeks in the Maldives for 100 quid once - and there was nothing about it that others wouldn't have wanted; it was fab. I had plenty of others and some were more 'rough and ready' (e.g. 10 days in Crete for about 20 quid in a two star b&b) but none were anywhere near awful. I did literally go in the morning and say, I'm packed, whaddaya got? If you're willing to do that it might work. Why not do a test? Go into a travel agents and ask what they have leaving that afternoon for five...

HeddaGarbled Sun 16-Apr-17 23:32:11

I've done it but I wasn't tied to school holidays. We got a week in Sorrento with Thomsons for 30% off (or so the website claimed - I am always a little sceptical about the discounts advertised) by booking two weeks before.

Lots of buts though:

It wasn't in the school holidays.
I wasn't tied to a pre-booked fortnight and could have gone at a different time if I hadn't found somewhere I liked the look of at that particular time.
While the hotel and resort were great, it was fairly obvious that we'd got the last empty room in the hotel - next to the lifts with a lovely view of the canopy over the entrance!

RoccoW14 Sun 16-Apr-17 23:55:21

Last minute deals generally only come up outside of peak dates. Flights during August will likely only be increasing in price from now as they fill up with bookings. The best hotels, resorts and villas (at each price point) will start selling out. I'd be inclined to get something booked in sooner rather than later!

mummymeister Mon 17-Apr-17 00:18:57

last minute or late deals holidays are the ones that no one else wants and you have to ask yourself why this is. either they are rubbish or hideously expensive and sometimes both.

you can get bargains outside of school holidays but definitely not in august. if you have deep pockets then go for it but if not then I would suggest you get sorted sooner rather than later.

Personally I would call now last minute for august. what is your budget like for 5 of you? £5k? more? less?

have a look around now to see what you can get for your budget and seriously don't leave it unless you are prepared not to go away at all.

BackforGood Mon 17-Apr-17 00:31:39

If you have a fixed 2 weeks in the peak season - right in the busiest part of the Summer holidays, and 5 people to please, there is no way in the world i would leave it to last minute.
Single, or a couple, and free to go out of school holidays, and with a bit of flexibility around dates - completely different story.

themueslicamel Mon 17-Apr-17 05:33:25

Ok, this is worrying, we normally have booked by now.

Only looking for a week away of a two week holiday from work, as any longer than a week in the sun and we get bored of the sun and swimming to be honest.

Better go back to plan A and get booking!

countingkids123 Mon 17-Apr-17 08:51:53

This is the sort of thing we've contemplated doing but have always travelled independently. Partly because DH has never been on a package holiday and partly because I have a much more adventurous spirit than my parents who took me on package holidays as a child. But, we've also got 3 children, and have found that due to occupancy rules in hotels we need 2 bedrooms. They are 6, 4 and 4 so no, we don't need 2 rooms. What we need is an apartment or large enough room to accommodate all of us. So we go independently and book well in advance. Last year we left it a bit late though and booked eurocamp in the south of France. We loved it. Plenty of families with older teenagers too who thought it was all a big adventure.

Laiste Mon 17-Apr-17 08:58:16

It's something i'd do and have done if it were just me and DH, and you're not too fussed about flying times, room size, facilities ect, but with kids i like to know where i'm going, what's there, scan the reviews and and plan carefully!

We only get one short holiday a year (or less) and it's too precious to risk a shite time.

foundaspottysock Mon 17-Apr-17 09:00:54

We tried to do this last year, the prices just went up and up so in the end I caved and booked. I did keep checking up until the night before we flew as I wanted to see if we had missed a bargain (we were looking for AI holidays) but the prices never went down, not even 24 hrs before the flight.

themueslicamel Mon 17-Apr-17 10:05:10


My parents were the same but we always do our own thing, just come back from spring break at Center Parcs and we always have the summer holiday booked prior to the spring one but we have landscape the gardens and that has put us massively behind.

We tend to book a self catering apartment as more space for 5 but being lured by the all inclusive idea so we don't normally even look at hotels.

We found a great place in Albufeira in the Portuguese Algarve for the last three years but fancy something different.

Better hit the web today and get something sorted.🤔😭

watchingthedetectives Mon 17-Apr-17 10:22:51

I found its the flights that are usually the problem in peak time rather than the accommodation (if you are booking independently) so would priorities getting those sorted

foundaspottysock Mon 17-Apr-17 13:43:28

I had never done an AI before kids (and i doubt I will again once they have left home) but we find them great with kids.

We tend to alternate years with them though and do other stuff in between.

My tips would be -

go for the top of your budget.

The food is a big thing so always pick somewhere that has a good choice of restaurants and some bar/snack areas too to break the monotony up a bit.

Don't pick a resort in the middle of nowhere. Lots of AI have been specially built so can be out on a limb. We tend to do all our own excursions by hiring cars, but it is nice to have a small town/village/market within walking distance .

Avoid 'family' resorts unless you have under 7's (sorry can't remember ages of your kids). The entertainment/activities will all be aimed at v young children in these and have things like characters.

MatildaTheCat Mon 17-Apr-17 13:52:54

If you go independent you will definitely find accommodation somewhere even if it's Airbnb. However the flights might cost much more than earlier booking. I reckon you'd also get a package but with far less say in where you go or whether you'd get two rooms together.

I would chooses somewhere you've never been and book some midweek flights then decide where to stay.mdoesnt have to be beach and pool...could be a different sort of holiday.

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