Holiday Advice

Holiday Advice From HolidayTruths Admins
I book direct with an airline and book direct on hotel website / or direct with a villa owner .i sometimes " package" on car hire or a hotel with the airline .i think the airlines have become good at doing this and seem to offer good discounts , I'm going to Jersey soon for a 2 night break and if I booked the flights then the hotel separately via the hotels website ( which was still cheaper than booking . Com , it cost more than booking it all through the airline , and it's easy to manage it all . I also booked flights last year for Lanzarote when they were a good price and added 7 nights car hire and the package price worked out less than just flights and no need to pay in full until 5 weeks before departure . I feel an OTA or traditional high street agent is doing no more than I can do , but I would consider using an specialist agent for a complicated itinerary . I prefer being in control of what I want or choose rather than having a middleman and the commission they need / take .
I use Skyscanner for my flights then go direct to the airlines website.

As we generally book private accommodation I may use holidaylettings or owners direct. Holidaylettings charge a fee however so we've recently booked direct with the owner as got their details.

Car hire. In Fuerteventura we book direct with Pluscar.

If however I'm having a break with my friend, I'll use somewhere like travel republic or, for accommodation, but still book flights separately.
Hi Glynis , sometimes I hire a car separately , I always use Autoreisen , they also do hire in Fuerteventura , have a look at their prices for comparison ? I do think car hire is quite cheap in the canaries and local companies do seem to be good and very fair with t&cs and no hidden extras .
I have to admit that for our long haul holidays we do book a package holiday, we do not just go for the cheapest and accept what is on offer
with that we look for something that suits us and tailor it as much as
possible to our requirements,

Short haul to European destinations we do almost always book it all fully DIY with our own flights, accommodation etc.

Our reasoning for this is that we do like the security that a package
gives us on a long haul trip. Should something go wrong you have the
security on a package that you will have accommodation and get home
without having to start trying to sort it all out yourself, in some
destinations it is hard to even get internet access let alone sort out a
major problem. At least in Europe it is very easy to sort out return
flights back to UK with very little hassle and quit cheaply from most

Some might remember the collapse of what at the time was a very large
charter / scheduled airline operator, XL Airways. When they collapsed
they had around 90,000 passengers stranded abroad in 50 different
destinations, 63,000 of those passengers were on a package and were
repatriated without any cost to them, this left some 27,000 passengers
abroad who had to try and find flights and also pay for them and any
associated costs.

We had a holiday booked which happened to be a package due to the
specific location which involved ferries and other odd transport
requirements and as it was a package, when XL collapsed we received a
full refund again due to that little bit of extra security.
Better to check small agencies from area where you will travel, always they have good prices.
Our trips to France are booked directly with the company that owns the campsite and they sort out our ferry travel for us.

When we go to the US we stay with family so we book direct with the airline and sort out our own carhire (we used my Tesco Clubcard vouchers towards carhire last autumn).

We have only done one family hotel holiday since 2000 and that was booked online with the Thomas Cook.

Short breaks, we have booked budget airlines online and sorted out accomodation via Expedia or similar.
It depends on where I'm going . I usually book my flights through the individual airlines and then accommodation either with the hotel direct or with or similar. But in October this year I am going to Rhodes and found it cheaper to book a package with a TA rather than individual bookings as airline fares alone were working out more expensive than a package. Packages and individual trips I always book online.
Long haul I usually book each part individually online unless it's a particularly complicated trip when I work out an itinerary and let a specialised agency do all of the booking. I do somewhat agree with Kiltman about the security of a package, I was caught out a few years ago in Bangkok when protestors closed the airport and I was stranded for some days in the city. Some people I met were on a package and their travel firm paid for their extra hotel stay whereas I had to find and pay for extra days in a hotel, and find some alternative way of getting home,. It would have been a lot less of a hassle if I had the security of a TA behind me at the time especially as I was travelling solo.
I always book car hire everywhere I go, usually through recommendations on review sites. I can't remember the last time I went into a high street travel agency. Years ago at a guess.
Within Europe I now invariably do DIY - as much as anything because I prefer to stay self catering away from the busier tourist resorts and on the whole the TOs don't do packages to the sort of places I like to stay. That said, I have used a small, local independent travel agency for booking last minute packages for some winter sun. They have always been able to find me a good value package based on me going in and telling them my dates and my budget and usually for less than I would get booking direct.

Regulars here will know that I'm a big Cubanophile and I usually book those trips through a small specialist company who will put together bespoke packages based on staying with local families. Doing it through them, I know that I'm going to get decent accommodation that a member of their staff will have visited personally. Plus their dance and music packaged trips are brilliant - I know people who've done similar holidays with other operators but who have been disappointed because of the very large size of the groups whereas the company I go with restricts the size to around 14/16 people. Small enough for everybody to get to know each other well and for us not to totally dominate a dance/music venue when we go out of an evening but large enough to mean that you don't feel that everybody has to do everything together.
After being told by high street travel agent there were no rooms available for a return trip to Cyprus, decided to go along the d-i-y route, just booking flights and dealing direct with hotel. This worked well until XL went bust. Although living in the Midlands it worked out cheaper to get coach to Heathrow and fly from there (with now-defunct Cyprus Airways). By building relationship with manager, we usually got our favourite room at a very good price.

Fast forward a number of years and I travelled solo to Barbados in September 2015, booking online. I used Mercury Direct who advertised no single room supplement. Had to pay upfront for Virgin flight as it was their lowest fare, but remainder of holiday was paid for 10 weeks before departure. Sorted out flight payment over 'phone then paid balance through Mercury's website. Printed off all documents when advised they were available.

I find it better to book online as I've got fed up with high street travel agent's "computer says no". Their price matching with website prices is often a joke!

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