Summer holiday package prices have been cut by more than a third to try to encourage travellers to book early, according to one price comparison site TravelSupermarket.
Having looked at the cost of summer holidays advertised by 25 tour operators between mid-December and early January, it’s worked out that prices are down year-on-year by as much as 36%.
TravelSupermarket has put the price drop down to poor sales of summer holidays last year, when many people chose to stay at home to enjoy the heatwave and the FIFA World Cup.
Fearful that they will be forced to slash prices at the last minute again this year, operators are cutting prices now to try to get in as many early bookings as possible, says the site.
TravelSupermarket reckons the price of a 7-night summer package to the Algarve was £50.80 per person per night this time last year, but now you can buy a similar package for £32.62.
It’s worked out that prices to the Costa Brava are down 28%, there’s been a 31% drop to Zante (Zakynthos), prices are down 13% to Majorca and they’ve dropped 17% to the Costa del Sol.
Emma Coulthurst, a spokesperson for TravelSupermarket, said it had found deals for as little as £105 per person for seven nights’ self-catering in the Med this summer and £181 for a week all-inclusive.
“There are also holidays for families with school-age children in the middle of the school holidays for as little as £214pp, which is unheard of in peak season,” she said. “These unbelievably low prices are what you might see last minute on offer in June or September to a few places but rather than just be available for a few holidays, they are currently available for many.”
The best deals, according to TravelSupermarket, are to the following destinations:
- Algarve, Portugal
- Costa Brava, Spain
- Crete, Greece
- Corfu, Greece
- Costa del Sol, Spain
- Zante, Greece
- Majorca, Spain
- Agadir, Morocco
- Costa Blanca, Spain
- Costa Dorada, Spain
So, should you book now or wait for a last-minute bargain?
Well, without a fully functioning crystal ball it’s impossible to know, but if you’ve got kids in school and want to travel in the summer, or your holiday dates are fixed, or you’ve got your heart set on a particular hotel/villa then you should probably book asap.
If you’re flexible and can travel anywhere at any time, you might get a better deal if you hang on, but tour operators may well have learned their lesson from last year and reduced the number of holidays available to destinations/resorts that didn’t sell well, so they’ll have less distress stock, meaning fewer last-minute deals across the board.
If you’re planning to book flights and accommodation separately using low-cost airlines like easyJet or Ryanair, it’s best to book your flights as early as possible, but you could always hedge your bets and book your hotel, apartment or villa later, especially if you’re flexible about where you stay and as long as there’s plenty of choice.