Is autumn a good time to grab a holiday bargain?

As summer gently begins to evolve into autumn, the new school year is well under way, and there’s a definite crispness in the air . . . . wouldn’t it be nice to get away for a little holiday?

The good news is that if you don’t have children at home, so are not tied to school holidays, this could be your golden opportunity to do just that!

Holiday prices usually drop at this time of year, and also there is usually better availability. And of course, holiday destinations are much quieter than during school holidays. 

In this article we take a quick look at:

  • How to choose where to go this autumn;
  • The best way to book your holiday;
  • Five tips to safeguard your holiday.

How to choose where to go this autumn

Before booking any holiday, the best thing to do is to sit down and have a good think about what you really want. Ask yourself some basic questions such as:

  • How long can you be away for?
  • What is your budget? 
  • Do you want to stay in the UK or travel abroad? 
  • What kind of holiday do you want? For example:
    • City break
    • Beach or resort holiday
    • Active or themed holiday such as sports, cookery or painting
    • Complete get away from it all, or retreat

Then start doing research about places that could work for you. Word of mouth from family and friends is always a good recommendation, as is visiting a local travel agent for ideas. Then of course, you probably also have the wealth of the internet at your fingertips.

Popular UK destinations for this time of year include Devon and Cornwall, the Scilly Isles, the Jurassic Coast, Scotland, Lake and Peak District, or city breaks in places such as Norwich, Oxford, Cambridge, Canterbury, York – to name but a few.

Popular European destinations include Italy, France, Portugal, Spain and the Cyclades islands – Santorini, Mykonos and Paros. 

Just one note of caution. If you are travelling in Europe just be aware of potential travel disruption. Several UK air operators and airports have cancelled or reduced flights due to staff shortages. There are also Ryanair strikes which could impact flights in Spain for the rest of the year, and some industrial action by baggage handlers in Portugal. 

The key thing – as always – is to check the current situation both at the time of booking and just before you travel, to see if you may be affected by any kind of disruption so that you can be prepared in advance.

The best way to book your holiday

The two main ways to book a holiday are either online or via a travel agent. Many people automatically think of going online first, but there are advantages of booking through a travel agent that are worth considering. 

Here are some of the pros and cons of both ways of booking.

  • Booking through a travel agent

A travel agent will have information on a wide range of destinations – some of which you may not have considered. So you may end up finding the perfect holiday for you that you never knew existed, and the agent will be able to recommend the best combinations of travel and resorts. 

Many agents also have special deals and offers that may not be available online, and may be able to use their contacts to secure you a real bargain. It is also worth trying to negotiate a better price with the agent, as sometimes there is room for manoeuvre if they are desperate for your business.

Also remember that if you book a package holiday – i.e. flights and accommodation – you will be entitled to a full refund if for any reason the travel company has to cancel your holiday due to any serious problems. And if you book through an agent, they should sort all this out for you in the unfortunate event of it happening.

  • Booking online

There are so many websites out there that it can be difficult to know where to look. All the major travel companies have their own sites, which is a good place to start. There are also various other sites that can compare deals for you from a number of different suppliers, including . well-known names such as:

If you want a holiday that is a bit more niche, there are also websites that are less well known but may have just what you are looking for. For example:

If you book online, it can be a good idea to pay by credit card. If anything were to go wrong your payment will be covered by the Consumer Credit Act. But, as always, be careful not to put more expense on your credit card than you can afford to repay. 

If you need any financial assistance for your holiday, remember that Munzee offers quick online loans that may be able to help.

Five tips to safeguard your holiday

We have already referred to the need to check for any potential travel disruption when you book a holiday. But here are five other tips to safeguard your holiday and make everything run smoothly:

  • Ensure your passport has at least 3 months left

We’ve all heard about delays that many people have experienced when waiting for new or replacement passports. But even if you have an existing passport since Brexit it must now be less than 10 years old and will also need to be valid for at least 3 months to travel in Europe . This applies to both adult and child passports. 

  • Apply for a GHIC or EHIC for travel in Europe

For travel to Europe if you have an existing EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) this remains valid if it is still in date. Otherwise you can apply either for a new GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) or – if you have rights under the Withdrawal Agreement – a new UK EHIC. All three cards entitle you to emergency and medical healthcare when travelling in the EU. 

Further details of the cards and how to apply are on the NHS website

  • Take out travel insurance at the time of booking

Even with an EHIC or GHIC, it is still advisable to take out comprehensive travel insurance that will protect you for a variety of different circumstances. For example, you need to be covered for cancelling your holiday, medical expenses whilst abroad, and travel disruption such as delays, missed flights, or unexpected quarantine requirements. 

  • Travel light

You’ve probably seen so much news over the summer about mountains of baggage waiting at airports, and bags going missing – some never to be seen again. But even when there are no problems with baggage, it’s a really good tip to travel light if you can.

Whether you are travelling by car or by plane, the less luggage you have, the better. But particularly if you are flying, having just one small carry-on case is a tremendous advantage. You have it with you at all times, so it can’t get lost, and there are no delays at the destination airport waiting for luggage to arrive.

  • Check out the best money and phone deals before you go

If you are travelling abroad, take a bit of time to check the best money and phone deals before you go. 

Regarding money, give some thought as to the combination of cards and cash that you are going to use. If you plan to use cash, it’s usually better to get your holiday currency before you go, but avoid airport facilities as these tend to be more expensive. 

Also check the specific situation for your destination. There may be a very good banking system which could make it advantageous to change your money there. Or there may be currency restrictions which could limit the amount of currency you are allowed to bring in or take out of the country.

Make sure you also find the best phone deal before you go. We’ve all heard horror stories about people racking up bills of thousands of pounds on holiday! So you need to be sure about what is and is not included in your tariff, and know what rates you will be charged for calls, texts and data when you are abroad. 

If in doubt, contact your phone provider: they may be able to offer you a travel bundle that can help to keep costs down. They can also advise you about the best settings to enable and disable while you are away – for example data roaming – so that you do not run up any unexpected charges. 

We hope that you have a wonderful holiday, and that this article has given you some useful tips about how to find the best one for you.

Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Munzee Loans.