Everyone books their holiday differently. Some leave it to the last minute and some like to be organised and book something in advance. We booked our holiday 11 months in advance, for a number of different reasons. Over the last year I’ve experienced the ups and downs of booking a holiday early so I decided to share them with you. Maybe take some of these points into consideration before you do the same…
Something to look forward to
When you work nine to five in the miserable English weather, it’s always good to have something to look forward to during the year. You’ll find having a holiday planned will give you a little bit of extra sanity and hope on the days you’re feeling down and need it the most. It’s never good to wish your life away but it’s always good to look at your calendar and think ‘only three months to go’.
If you’re like me and love having everything organised, booking a holiday a early is the perfect solution. Knowing when you’re going to be away in advance gives you time to plan the rest of your life to coincide it.
Time to plan and research everything
Knowing where you’re going on holiday earlier gives you the perfect opportunity to fully research the place before you go. It gives you chance to talk to people who have been there, read up about it and make an awesome list of all the things you want to do when you go there. Do bear in mind, it’s great doing lots of research but don’t go booking in everyday of your holiday, sometimes it’s best to just go with the flow. You never know what you might stumble upon when you get there.
Time to pay it off
This is the main reason why we booked out holiday so far in advance- so we have time to pay it off. Whether you book it all separately yourself or through a travel agent, when you’re going on a big holiday, that you may not necessarily be able to pay for out of your monthly pay packet, it’s always nice to be able to spread it out over the year and pay it off bit by bit.
Exchange rates can fluctuate
This might sound like a bit of an odd one but if you know where you’re going on holiday, keep an eye on the currency exchange rates. Over the year we’ve changed Australian Dollars up at 2.2 to the pound and 1.6 to the pound. You never know when a currency is going to drop so put some money aside each month so if it does shoot up you can make the most of the good rate before it drops again.
One of the biggest problems I’ve had with booking a holiday early is flight schedules changing. Something that is completely out of your control. Luckily most of the flight changes we’ve had are only an hour or so however some of them can mess up a whole day. Although the airlines change the flights, most of them give you the option to claim a full refund if the change is really inconvenient for you.
It’s a well-known fact flights and hotels change prices over the year. One month you might be looking at a flight for £150 and then when you go to book it a month later the price has doubled. Prices of hotels fluctuate too so if you’re booking over busy periods make sure you book your accommodation well in advance. Another tip is to use an incognito window when booking flight. This blocks the websites cookies and stops them charging you a higher price because they know you’ve been looking at that particular flight for the last month.
Companies go bust
So far we’ve been lucky (touch wood) none of the companies we’ve booked our holiday with have gone bust. However this does happen. Thousands of people lost their money and holidays this year when lowcostholidays.com went into administration. To avoid losing your money when something like this does happen, book using a credit card like I mentioned in my last post (they offer payment protection).
Lack of annual leave
If you’re working full time you’ll know the struggle of finding enough time to fit in all your travels. Having a limited amount of annual leave can suck, especially when you want to go on holiday for a long period of time. This year I used up the majority of my leave on our holiday so there’s been no allowance for weekends away or the odd few days off here and there. This can really get you down.
Lack of money
Planning a holiday of a lifetime is all well and good but the downside of it is that it is expensive, and you have to pay for it! Whether you’re paying off your holiday through a travel agent or booking everything yourself you’ll find a substantial amount of your pay cheques will start to go on the holiday. This means a lot of the time you have to sacrifice many of lives luxuries for your holiday.
Strain on relationships
Holidays are the perfect time for you to unwind, so when you find yourself with no annual leave and waiting months for a holiday it can start putting strain on your relationships. You’ll be worked to the ground, tired and grumpy and you’ll take this out on those who are close to you. Keeping tabs on your mental health is really important so just keep thinking about how it’ll all be worth it in the end!