Demand for holidays will be huge after two years of Covid restrictions. Many companies have now published their special offers for breaks, last minute bargains are likely to be in short supply this summer.
Holiday Extras’ David Norris said: “Demand for holidays this year will be sky high and last minute deals are likely to be scarce.
“If you’re traveling this summer, book in advance rather than relying on a last-minute deal.”
Brooklyn Travel’s Grahame Gorie said: “The general feeling is that there are a lot of people who want to travel this summer and haven’t booked yet.
“But this summer is already heavily booked, so there will be far fewer last-minute bargains.
“The message really is: Book now if you can. There are still some availability and a few offers.”
Bharat Gadhoke of AITO – The Specialist Travel Association, said: “There are offers, but due to pent-up demand and the sheer volume of deferred holidays, availability is lower across the board.
Popular “Many trips booked for 2020 have been postponed multiple times. Now these holidays can finally be taken as planned two or more years ago.
“But of course that means that popular properties and those with the most coveted amenities like swimming pools and sea views are likely to be unavailable in high season.
“We have to emphasize that we have to book now to have a chance.”
Holiday giant Tui said it expects summer bookings to “almost reach 2019 levels” this year – but warned there will be “no last-minute” bargain deals.
The company said bookings had risen sharply over the past six weeks as people planned for summer vacations following the easing of travel restrictions.
The impact of Covid and the war in Ukraine on customer behavior remained “difficult to predict,” the company added.
Travel agency Opodo said the top five destinations currently booked by Brits are Malaga, Alicante and Barcelona in Spain, Faro and Dublin in Portugal.
Benidorm in Spain is also expected to be a popular choice.
Most sunbathers plan to depart in July, with 63 per cent booked for that period compared to 37 per cent for August. Bargain holidays are already available. A trip to Turkey costs less than £300 per person, while a trip to the Greek island of Kefalonia costs less than £340 for a single traveler.
Operators are embracing travelers’ desire to book a summer vacation abroad without restrictions, especially when generous discounts are offered.
But any special offers available this year will likely be just a fraction of the norm in terms of price reduction, it said. Airfares could rise this summer, experts have warned.
Airline chiefs said the weakening of the pound coupled with rising fuel costs due to the Russian war in Ukraine will push up the cost of a seat in the coming weeks.
Alistair Rowland, chief executive of tour operator Blue Bay Travel, said: “The weakening of the British pound against most currencies, coupled with rising fuel costs which are driving up airfares, will inevitably make holidays more expensive for consumers this summer.
“It’s a situation we expect to worsen over the months and we advise customers to book sooner rather than later to secure the best rate.”
The phasing out of UK testing rules in February has fueled growing demand for flights and holidays, but some countries still expect travelers to follow isolation and testing requirements.
On Tuesday, Heathrow said it saw strong demand in April and forecast passenger numbers to pick up this summer.
But Britain’s biggest airport said demand for the year as a whole would be just 65 per cent of pre-pandemic levels as rising prices force customers to cut back.
Some UK holiday hotspots are benefiting from the increase in flights. London has taken the top spot for domestic travel this year, likely due to the Queen’s platinum jubilee.
Tips to reduce the cost of a getaway
1. Highlight a flight you’re interested in and Skyscanner will email you when the price drops.
2. Save an average of nine percent if you fly on a Friday. You can also use the “all month” search function to see cheap flights immediately.
3. Trading your usual break at the Costas for Croatia could prove to be a bargain. Let the algorithm decide with a search for “everywhere”.
4. Combine airlines and airports to save costs. Fares do not have to be booked as a round trip.