Package holidays can be more than £400 cheaper than DIY trips – and you’re more likely to get a swift refund if it’s cancelled, Which? reveals
- The consumer group looked at the cheapest package deals from five UK airports
- It found that eight in ten were significantly cheaper than the DIY equivalent
- DIY trips don’t carry the same rights to a refund if travel restrictions are imposed
Package holidays are making a comeback as a safe – and cheap – way to book a family break amid the wreckage of the pandemic.
The consumer group Which? says travellers are much more likely to get a swift refund for a cancelled holiday if it is booked as a package rather than as a DIY trip.
And, significantly, a package can also be more than £400 cheaper than if it is pieced together by someone creating their own break.
Package holidays can be more than £400 cheaper than if it is pieced together by someone creating their own break, research by Which? has found
In recent years, an increasing number of people took up the option of putting together their own holiday, pairing cheap flights with a hotel or villa.
However, choosing this DIY option does not carry the same rights to a refund if the Government imposes travel restrictions, such as requiring quarantine for people on their return.
This has been evident throughout the coronavirus crisis where airlines like Ryanair continued to run flights to destinations on the quarantine red list, which meant they were not required to give refunds to people who decided not to travel.
Where package holidays are cancelled by the tour operator in these circumstances, the law – the Package Travel Regulations 2018 – includes the right to a cash refund within 14 days.
Many people assume creating a DIY trip is always cheaper, however research by the consumer champion found this is not necessarily the case.
When it looked at the price of the cheapest package holidays available online from five UK airports from both Jet2holidays and Tui, it found eight in ten were significantly cheaper than the DIY equivalent.
The biggest saving was £442, for a two-week holiday for a couple flying to Rhodes from Bristol, booked through Tui – £583 versus £1,025. The average saving across the eight packages was £157.
Only two package holidays worked out more expensive than their DIY counterparts – one Jet2holidays trip to Salou and one Tui holiday to Majorca – but the maximum difference was only £31 per person. Which? said this was arguably a negligible amount given the protection holidaymakers would be sacrificing through not booking a package.
When Which? looked at the price of the cheapest package holidays available online from five UK airports from both Jet2holidays and Tui, it found eight in ten were significantly cheaper than the DIY equivalent
COST OF PACKAGE HOLIDAYS VERSUS DIY TRIPS
Belfast to Ibiza – package price £677; DIY price £831; saving with package – £154
Bristol to Rhodes – package price £583; DIY price £1,025; saving with package – £442
Glasgow to Salou (Spain) – package price £674; DIY price £794; saving with package – £120
London Stansted to Rhodes – package price £598; DIY price £756; saving with package – £158
Belfast to Menorca – package price £688; DIY price £754; saving with package – £66
Bristol to Salou (Spain) – package price £584; DIY price £610; saving with package – £26
Glasgow to Gran Canaria – package price £702; DIY price £936; saving with package – £234
London Stansted to Menorca – package price £670; DIY price £723; saving with package – £53
Source: Which? Travel
The editor of Which? Travel, Rory Boland, said: ‘Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been urging holidaymakers to book a package if they were considering a holiday over the summer or are looking to book for next year, given the unparalleled protections they offer if things don’t go to plan.
‘Many people are put off booking a package because they worry they’ll have to pay more than booking their flight and accommodation separately, but as our research shows, a package could save holidaymakers hundreds on the cost of their holiday.’
Many people are put off booking a package because they worry they’ll have to pay more than booking their flight and accommodation separately, but as our research shows, a package could save holidaymakers hundreds on the cost of their holiday
While the law states that package holiday companies should pay swift refunds, Which? said some had failed customers over the past six months. The consumer group recently revealed that over £1 billion was outstanding in refunds for cancelled package holidays.
It said that while some operators have struggled to claw back money from airlines for cancelled flights, others have simply chosen not to refund customers within the legal 14-day window. Consequently, it said customers booking a package should consider using a tour operator with a good record for paying refunds during the pandemic.
Which? Recommended Provider holiday companies have committed to paying cash refunds within 30 days or less. These include Jet2holidays, Kuoni, Hays Travel, Trailfinders and Saga.
Mr Boland said: ‘Not all holiday providers are equal. Anyone planning on booking a holiday for 2021 should strongly consider booking a package with a reputable provider that has treated customers fairly in recent months, to ensure their cash is protected if something goes wrong.’