Booking 2009 holiday now could save £1,000Which? Holiday tracked prices to find best time

01 September 2008

A bucket and spade on a beach

Fancy a holiday? Why not try a UK destination.

Families could save more than £1,000 by booking their summer 2009 holiday now, new research from Which? Holiday shows. 

Researchers from Which? Holiday tracked the price of three family holidays to Majorca in July 2008 for a year and found that the cheapest deals were available in August and September 2007 - and the cost rose throughout the year.  

One of the holidays, available through First Choice, rose by as much as £1,044.

Cheapest deal

People are increasingly booking holidays at the last minute to get the cheapest deal, but Which? Holiday found that while prices for these holidays dropped slightly in April 2008, two of the three weren't available in May 2008, and by June all three were unavailable.  

Tour operators are cutting capacity for 2009, so families could be disappointed by the choice and prices offered if they leave it late to book.

Which? Holiday also tracked the price of three holidays for two adults travelling to Cancun, Mexico, in July 2008, and found that by booking in February or March 2008, there were potential savings of as much as £712, compared with the cost of booking months in advance or waiting for late deals.

Sold out

However, one of the three holidays did sell out early in the year and wasn't available from February onwards.  This means that while you could get some good deals in February and March, your choice may be limited.

Lorna Cowan, editor of Which? Holiday, said: 'Our research shows that booking at the right time can save you a small fortune, but confusingly the "right time" isn’t the same for every type of holiday.

'If you can be flexible with your destination and dates, it may be worth waiting to see what deals come up.  But, for families wanting to get away next summer with specific destinations in mind, we recommend booking in the next month or so to avoid disappointment when it comes to availability and cost.'

Tracking prices

Which? Holiday tracked prices on the websites of the UK’s three biggest tour operators – First Choice, Thomas Cook, and Thompson.

Our researchers found they could save £1,044 on a First Choice holiday (Holiday Village Viva) which cost £2,401 in August 2007 and increased to £3,445 in March 2008.

We found the saving of £712 on a Thomas Cook all-inclusive Golden Parnassus holiday to Cancun, which cost £2,176 in February 2008 compared with £2,888 in June 2008.