Holidays, specifically family holidays, typically take months and even up to a year to plan. There is a lot to consider, from booking time off to planning transport and saving up, all of which needs to be meticulously thought out.
Aside from the logistics, there can be other benefits to booking a holiday in advance, namely for peace of mind.
Despite this, many people opt for last minute holidays, but are they a good idea? Here, we explain the benefits and drawbacks of booking a getaway at the eleventh hour.
Available Time Off
There are a number of reasons why people book last-minute holidays, many of which feed directly into their benefits. For most people, unexpected time off is the reason they choose to book a holiday on short notice. A last-minute break is a great way of making the most of time off and ensuring it isn’t wasted, especially for those who didn’t plan on taking any leave.
A lot of people will have set holiday periods which means they will be given an allotted amount of time off, making spontaneous vacation time somewhat of a rarity. Despite this, Covid-19 has seen many people’s work patterns change, with a move to flexible working on the rise. This means last-minute holidays could become more common as increasing numbers of employees get used to more freedoms with how much holiday they are entitled to and when they can take it.
Aside from unforeseen annual leave time, the decision to book a late holiday often comes from the prospect of taking advantage of hefty discounts. Oftentimes, holiday providers will heavily reduce the price of accommodation and transport if there is a late cancellation in a bid to fill the space and still turn a profit. This is attractive to a lot of people, especially when money is tight. The discounts can relinquish the need for saving up for months and can see people enjoy an expensive holiday for up to half the price.
That being said, booking late isn’t always the cheapest option. It’s highly unlikely that organising a holiday at the last moment will save you money if you’re planning to go away during peak times such as school holidays. In fact, you could end up paying more due to demand. If you have children and are restricted on the times of the year that you can go away, booking in advance is your best option. You’ll not only have the peace of mind that your slot is reserved, but you’ll also pay less the earlier you book. In this case, booking a year or even two years ahead is often best.
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mind where they go on holiday, booking at the last second won’t be a problem. A lot of late holidays are determined by where there is a space. For example, you might have your heart set on a holiday in France, but due to availability, you might end up in Bulgaria instead. For spontaneous souls, this could provide a real buzz and expose you to parts of the world you won’t have otherwise had a chance to see, but for others, this could be a sticking point.
If you’re choosing an abroad holiday, you’ll need to think about possible inoculations for certain countries and whether or not you can get a slot at your local GP practice in time. In the case of UK holidays, this won’t be an issue and could add to the draw of a spur-of-the-moment staycation.
Covid-19 has greatly affected the holiday industry and there have been many restrictions imposed for travelling, both nationally and internationally. Depending on the type of person you are, this could impact your decision to either book in advance or go last minute.
The benefit of booking in advance at the present moment is that you can rest in the knowledge that should travel guidelines change, your holiday can be rescheduled and you won’t lose any money. On the flip side, with how fast things are changing, booking last minute could be the only chance you get to go away.