Fly to LA for £290? That IS a bargain: How to get the best travel deals in the New Year sales – and the two steps you must take to protect your money
- Holiday firms have launched New Year sales with deals on flights and packages
- You can knock £100 off dozens of Jet2.com packages if you book by Wednesday
- Virgin Atlantic’s sale has returns to Miami from £259 and Caribbean from £409
Every week, our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week, he selects some of the best travel bargains in the New Year sales.
It’s not just high-street shops that want us to forget the cost of Christmas and carry on spending. Holiday companies have launched their own New Year sales, putting ‘money-off’ signs on flights, packages, tours and more.
Here’s a round-up of the best deals – and the two steps you must take to protect your money.
Travel website thepointsguy.co.uk has found some real bargains, including BA’s London to Los Angeles returns from £288
You can knock £100 off dozens of Jet2.com packages if you book by Wednesday, including a summer break from £788pp, staying at the all-inclusive Diana Palace on the Greek island of Zante.
The hotel has four pools, three bars and plenty of ‘kids go free’ extras. Better still, you will only need to pay a £60pp deposit now, with the balance due ten weeks before you fly.
Long-haul holidays are also on sale. There is currently a 7.5 per cent discount on most Cosmos tours (it falls to five per cent at the end of January), including the 12-day Legacy Of The Incas trip that includes Machu Picchu. Get the discount and your price falls by £315pp to £3,890pp, including flights.
Independent travellers can take advantage of good flight-only deals too. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are both holding sales, and ‘deal-spotters’ at the travel website thepointsguy.co.uk have found some real bargains, including BA’s London to Los Angeles returns from £288. If you want to splurge, the site has also found summer-time first-class returns from the UK to the US from £1,998.
Virgin Atlantic’s sale includes returns to Miami from £259, and Caribbean islands such as Barbados or St Lucia from £409. Virgin also has good fares to the US from Manchester Airport as well as those in London.
An essential step for summer sun 2020 is to take out travel insurance as soon as you book a holiday or flight
If you book now for next summer, there is plenty of time for something to go wrong before you set off. The first way to protect yourself is to check that the company you’re booking with is backed by an official safety net.
Package holidays that include flights need to be ATOL-protected. Go to ‘Check an ATOL’ at the Civil Aviation Authority website, caa.co.uk, to be sure.
If your company is in the scheme, it will kick in with refunds if the worst happens before you fly, or transport you home if the company collapses while you’re away – as it did for Thomas Cook customers last September.
Coach, rail or cruise holidays get similar protection from ABTA and you can check whether your firm is registered at ‘Member Search’ at abta.com. Flight-only deals booked direct with airlines rarely get either protection, so the best advice is to book with a credit card so you can claim against it if you don’t get the trip you paid for.
The second essential step for summer sun 2020 is to take out travel insurance as soon as you book a holiday or flight – even if you don’t leave for another six months. The premium for a summer holiday is likely to be about the same, whether you buy it now or the day before you fly.
But if you buy now, you get cancellation cover, which can refund most of the cost if you can’t travel because of ill health (your own or that of a close family member) or any of a list of situations, including redundancy or being called for jury service. For more information, go to www.travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk.