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Why are holidays so expensive in 2024?

by Staff

FOLLOWING the pandemic induced travel restrictions and miserable winter weather, it’s no surprise plenty of Britons are feeling the urge to go on holiday.

Here we look at why vacations are so expensive in 2024 — and when the best time to book is to nab the best value deals.


Argeles sur Mer beach in Le Racou, Roussillon, Pyrenees Orientales, south of FranceCredit: Alamy

Why are holidays so expensive in 2024?

A 2023 survey by travel association Abta found that 64% of Brits were planning foreign holidays in 2024.

Prices rose post-Covid due to destinations being closed for long periods during lockdown, and have yet to return to pre-pandemic costs.

In 2023 The PC Agency’s Paul Charles said: “Prices are rising by an average of 10 per cent for hotels, airfares and tour operator holidays yet we are still splurging, mostly to get away from bad weather.

“Airfares in particular have never been this high and there’s no doubt we’ve seen the end of the low-cost fare era.

“The bulk of us booking will still be paying much more in 2024 than we did in 2023, due to higher costs and price rises put through by travel firms.”

Will holiday prices come down in 2024?

Speaking at Travel Weekly’s Future of Travel Conference in 2023, Travel Counsellors managing director Kirsten Hughes said prices will “flatten out” in 2024.

She said: “I think average booking values will flatten out next year and normalise in some areas.”

But Kirsten also warned: “I don’t think it will go back to 2019 levels.”

At the same conference, Travel Trade Consultancy director Martin Alcock forecast average prices would change in 2024, explaining: “I think a lot of the recovery has been price-led.

“Prices on average might come down but the key thing you need to look at is margin.

“If prices can come down but profit margins are retained, that would be a great thing.”

Do holiday prices go up the more you search?

Prices for travel and holidays going up the more you search is a commonly held belief.

However, there isn’t any concrete evidence for this aside from unsubstantiated comments in forums and chat rooms.

Airlines do however use dynamic pricing — this means costs can fluctuate depending on demand and other factors leading up to the flight’s scheduled departure.

When should I book my 2024 holiday?

According to the very well travelled Scott Keyes, there is a best date to book holidays in 2024.

He is the founder of the travel site, formerly known as Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Having been around the world, Scott often shares his top money-saving tricks and hacks when travelling.

He revealed the ideal date to book flights for a bargain — but unfortunately it has already been and gone.

Scott told NPR that “January 8” is his ideal day.

Mr Keyes explained: “It’s my favourite date of the entire year.

“I circle that date on the calendar because flight prices really get inflated over the Christmas-New Year period.

“Around Jan 8, they just fall off a cliff from the most expensive time of the entire year to the absolute cheapest.”

He said they can drop by as much as 80 per cent.

Examples included return flights from LA to Tokyo, which cost nearly £1,600 in December — before dropping to £342 during the first few weeks of January.

As well as saving money, Scott also explained that you will have a better experience travelling in January in comparison to the earlier winter months.

He added: “My secret, best advice for travel over the holidays is: if at all possible, just don’t do it.”

While MD of Tony Andrews advises when booking a cruise ship early to get lower prices, and that choosing the right cabin can lead to significant savings.

He told the Mirror: “In fact, early bird prices can be up to 50% less.

“If a sea view isn’t important, as the main purpose of your cabin is to sleep in it, choose an inside cabin or a cabin with an obstructed view, as this will take a considerable amount off the price.”

If you are planning a city break, TvavelZoo says: “Staying a Sunday through to Thursday night instead of Saturday brings the price right down and offers the best possible chance for an upgrade.”

And a 2023 report from Expedia suggested the best time to book is 28 days before a domestic flight and and 60 days before an international flight.

How can I make my holiday cheaper?

Scott Keyes said a great way to save money when booking flights it his “10 second hack” — looking for two one way tickets with different airlines rather than a round trip fare.

He explained: “Sometimes the round-trip price isn’t the best available price and it’s worth the little bit of extra time to find the best deal.”

Another great tip for saving money on flights are error fares, with some being a tenth of the usual price.

Error fares are when an airline lists a plane ticket at the incorrect price, with one such error seeing £12,000 Cathay tickets sold for just £535.

But these come with a risk — the airline could cancel the flights if they realise, so it’s a good idea to avoid booking hotels or accommodation that you can’t get refunded until nearer the flight time.

Read more on the Irish Sun

When booking a villa holiday, Vintage Travel’s Stephen Ellison suggests sharing with friends or family to reduce costs.

He said: “Although the big properties look expensive, guests find that by sharing the costs of the accommodation and self-catering cooking, it works out much better value.”

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