Despite straining credit cards, stress and the prospect of a house full of relatives, December is one of the most popular times of the year for booking a last-minute holiday.
And what better than a winter break? But before you commit to buy, here are a few things to bear in mind so you holiday goes to plan.
QUESTION THE DEALS
Just because a travel website says it’s got 71 people watching the hotel you’re checking out, don’t panic buy.
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If you’re online shopping for a holiday, use comparison websites to source the best deals – but don’t forget you can book your hotel or flights direct.
Not only will the prices be more or less the same, if you pay over £100 on a credit card you’ve got loads of rights if things go wrong.
BE SUSPICIOUS ABOUT SALES
If you love a bargain then you might have been tempted by an email from an airline or an advert for a travel comparison site, telling you that the holiday sales are on.
There are lots of bargains to be had – but it pays to be realistic.
A flight or hotel is only worth what you’re willing to pay for it. So 20% off a £300-a-night boutique hotel isn’t a great deal if it’s still over what you would have been willing to pay normally.
Factor in spending money and the exchange rate and have a think about cancellation options – just in case a better deal comes along closer to the time.
DON’T FORGET THE HEALTH CARD
Leaving aside Brexit, a surprisingly large number of people still don’t take out a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when going on holiday.
It’s free and really, really useful should you need medical treatment while away. But it doesn’t cover everything – and if you get ill or injured, it could be very expensive.
Different countries have different rules about what the card will cover so don’t assume it’ll be cost-free if you need to pop to a clinic or hospital.
DON’T SKIMP ON THE TRAVEL INSURANCE
Take out travel insurance before you travel - and make sure the cover starts from today. That way if you slip and fall on a typically glacial January morning, you’ll be covered if you have to cancel.
There’s lots of different types of travel insurance, but the basic rules of shopping apply here too: buy cheap, get cheap. Don’t save £5 on cover that could have given you much more protection when away.
TAKE OUT WINTER SPORT INSURANCE
If you’re doing anything even slightly adventurous while on holiday, don’t forget to take out the winter/ sports cover. This might seem obvious if you’re planning on skiing off-piste, but you’ll need it even on the nursery slopes.
The same goes for what might seem like relatively tame things, like going for sedate ramble on a nature walk. A few years ago, I helped out a couple who did just that, got lost, broke a leg or two and had to be rescued by helicopter.
They were billed for the helicopter rescue. It’s only a little extra cash to be covered – not paying the supplement is a false economy.
It’s foggy. It’s snowing. It’s suspiciously overcrowded in the airport terminal. Another volcano has gone off. And then a Tannoy announcement of doom says… your flight is delayed.
Nightmare. But remember; if your flight is delayed by more than three hours, you are entitled to compensation depending on the circumstances.
This is based on how late after the scheduled arrival time your flight arrives.
Find out more about your flights rights at resolver.co.uk.