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Late school holiday deals from a travel agent

(17 Posts)
JockTamsonsBairns Mon 13-Jun-16 20:34:04

Dh and I have dithered around on this for weeks now, and need to come to a decision quite soon. We're not very knowledgeable about booking holidays, so could really do with some advice if anyone can help?

This is likely to be the last year that dd1 comes on a family holiday, so we've decided to push the boat out and book something for all five of us this summer. We have dd1, and two younger primary aged dcs, so it needs to be during school holidays. We've decided to take a package holiday, as we want to take all the stress out of planning.

We don't have a massive amount of money to spare, so are on the lookout for cheaper options. There are one or two within budget that I've seen, and I think we should go ahead and book. Dh, on the other hand, thinks we should wait until August and walk into a travel agent and ask what's available at very short notice. I'm slightly risk averse though, and am a bit afraid that there may be nothing - given it's high season. Do these cheap last minute deals exist in August?

None of us is particularly fussy about destination, although obviously we'd want to avoid very British touristy busy places more geared to young clubbers! Taking annual leave at very short notice wouldn't be a problem for either of us. It's just the risk factor I'm worried about, and that we'll either end up with nothing, or paying more than what we would if we were to book now.

Has anyone done a very late travel agent deal like this, and was it worth doing? Any advice very much appreciated.

Peasandsweetcorn Mon 13-Jun-16 20:38:48

It depends where you are willing to go. Due to various terror incidents, a lot of people have ruled out a lot of previously popular destinations which means that the UK itself & places like Spain & Portugal a incredibly popular so there is a lot less availability and it is more expensive than usual. If you are willing to go somewhere "riskier" then you have more chance of picking up a bargain.
Prices will also be affected by the outcome of the referendum, although less so for package companies who will have done their main pricing ages ago than for ones like Owners Direct where you are personally taking the exchange rate risk.

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 13-Jun-16 21:29:23

Thanks Peas. We were both thinking either Turkey or Greece, mainly due to the bargains that can be had. Looking at the terrorist threat in Turkey though, I realise that my risk assessment is fairly skewed! The only deals I can find that are within budget are in Turkey, which is why Dh thinks it's worth waiting until August to see if there's anything cheap available in the Greek or Canary Islands. I'm just not sure there will be!

Costacoffeeplease Mon 13-Jun-16 22:18:28

I have rental properties in Portugal, and we have nothing for school holidays now, so I think if you're looking for 'safe' destinations, you'll struggle and it won't matter if you look now or in July/August (unless there are cancellations due to illness etc)

Peasandsweetcorn Mon 13-Jun-16 22:26:42

Which Greek Islands are you considering? Some will be significantly cheaper than others this summer due to the refugee crisis.

Peasandsweetcorn Mon 13-Jun-16 22:28:54

A final point... Whilst you & DH can take holiday at short notice, aren't you going to have to decide which week it will be so you can sort out childcare accordingly for your primary aged DC?

sparechange Mon 13-Jun-16 22:51:27

What about the flash sale websites like Voyage Prive and Secret Escapes?
You can search by date and they have some real bargains on there

I'm a travel agent and there's not a lot left. We've already started contingency planning as my company is likely to sell out of its own flights and bed stock, so we're all brushing up on the smaller suppliers and depackaging options so we have something to sell. If you see a good deal grab it.

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 13-Jun-16 22:58:29

Thanks for the replies. To clarify, Peas, all five of us will be going together. We'd consider any Greek island although, as I said, would want to avoid faliraki type resorts. Dh and I went to Thassos years ago, and loved it.

Costa, thank you. That makes me wonder if we should pay more now in order to secure a safe destination somewhere - but it's made Dh even more convinced we should wait until August and take our chances!

JockTamsonsBairns Mon 13-Jun-16 23:01:29

Thanks spare, that's very helpful - we'll have a look at those.

Englishgirl that's good to know, if a bit worrying. Thanks for replying.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 13-Jun-16 23:23:05

I really wouldn't wait any longer - as above, if you see something suitable - grab it

mouldycheesefan Tue 14-Jun-16 09:19:30

A friend was looking for something last year in August. She ended up in Scotland, nothing wrong with that but it wasn't what she originally envisaged! I also think that accommodation for five is not as readily available.

mummymeister Tue 14-Jun-16 10:06:48

Can only agree with the other posters about late availability. there is something of a perfect storm going on this year that wasn't the case in previous years. there is the Zika virus issue which means a lot of families wont go to the popular Caribbean type destinations and are looking at Europe. there is the terrorist issue which means that places like Turkey and Egypt are being avoided. there is the eu referendum. then there is the Gove changes to holidays in term time and even with the current outstanding court case LEA's are continuing to fine so it means anyone with school age kids is trying to go to a very limited number of destinations in Europe.

if you had deep pockets and a limitless budget I would say hold on. but you don't. to be honest because of all of the above and the fact that this isn't likely to resolve for at least a couple of years, I think the "last minute deals in Europe" type holiday has gone.

also your DH needs to bear in mind that the last minute deals are actually the holidays that no one else wants and you have to ask yourselves why this is.

Orac Tue 14-Jun-16 14:24:43

OP If you want to go in the peak of school holidays then last minute will leave you little choice and yet full price.
Can I ask those in the know about September?
We are not tied to school holidays as DC both students. We have a week in Greece in July and I was planning another in early September. Schools will have gone back by then. I was planning to book after the first holiday but will there be a good choice left in September? Cost not a factor.

orac Greece is not too bad for September at the moment and still decent availability in Cyprus but Spain, Canaries etc. Really filling up.

Orac Wed 15-Jun-16 08:54:49

Thanks EnglishGirl. I may look at Cyprus. I've had my fill of Spain and Canaries in recent years anyway.

I've just got back from Cyprus and had a great time smile

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