I’m planning a family holiday to Spain next year. Is it better to book flights and hotel separately or find a package deal? Mike, Leicester
With the boom in low cost airlines and easy booking of hotels through sites like LastMinute.com and Expedia, many people would think that package holidays are dead. But you could be missing some big benefits if you go down the DIY route.
If you’re going to a popular holiday destination like Spain, Greece or Florida, and you’re staying for the traditional 7 or 14 days, then you really need to look at package holidays. Tour operators have access to cheap charter airline seats and bulk booking of hotel rooms, so the prices are very competitive. On top of that, you’ll usually get all the extras, like checked-in luggage allowance and seat reservations, included in the price, not to mention transfers to and from your accommodation.
And last, but not least, if you’ve booked through a company registered with ABTA or ATOL, it means you’re protected if the tour operator, airline or hotel goes bust.
If you want to visit somewhere that’s not in the major package holiday brochures, like a short city break, then there is another way to get a similar deal a la carte – by booking a ‘flight plus hotel’ on one of the travel websites.
For example, Expedia will allow you to add a hotel booking to your return flight, often with a decent discount on the cost of buying both separately. And you’ll get ATOL protection, the same as that offered on a package holiday.