Click on a star to rate this video.
Clare Francis: It's a popular time of year for booking a holiday and given the weather we've had this month you may be more desperate than usual to get away from it all! So whether the recent snow's inspired you to hit the slopes for a spot of skiing or snowboarding or perhaps it's just made you hanker for some sun and warmth, Bob Atkinson, our travel expert is here with his top tips and everything you need to know and do when planning a holiday.
My first recommendation is to start by using the web - it's a fabulous tool and you can find amazing sources of information: review sites, guides, and tips are all over the web and that's going to help you narrow down to the kinds of things you want to do and to help you to find the holiday that's going to be the dream holiday for you
There's a fabulous array of deals out there to help you get to the destination you want to go to, so use the price comparison tools online to help find those best prices. And check them out against the high street - there may well be deals out there as well that you can find that are just as good for you, but use price comparison to narrow down the offering and to help you find where you need to go to book.
When you're deciding what your holiday choice should be, you've probably got two main options as to how to book it. One is the traditional buying of a package holiday, where everything is all organised for you and the other option is to piece it together yourself or using a travel agent to piece it together for yourself.
These are known as DIY holidays and it's really important with many destinations now, especially on a standard kind of beach holiday, to check out the two options, because one option may actually save you hundreds of pounds on the other! So check them out and work out what's the best price for you.
So you've chosen your holiday - the next thing to do is to ensure you're getting financial protection for the holiday that you're booking. Now look out for terms such as ATOL - the Air Travel Organisers Licence - operated by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). This means that should that company you're booking with go out of business you're going to be financially covered. If that should happen while you're away, you're holiday can continue on and you will be brought home. So that's well worth looking out for.
Alternatively when booking with an agent, check they're a member of either ABTA, the Global Travel Group or the Travel Trust Association. Those schemes all ensure that if anything should happen to that travel agency, your monies are protected and you're not going to lose out.
This is where you need to be cautious - check the terms and conditions, make sure you what you're getting and make sure you know what happens should you need to change your holiday or alter any of the details at all. Then you've got no nasty surprises later on.
So its time now to pay for your holiday. Now our golden rule here is to use a credit card wherever your transaction is over £100, the reason for this is if anything should happen you do get protection under the Consumer Credit Act. So use your credit card on these transactions even though you may have to pay a service fee for using that card.
If your transaction is under £100 you can obviously use any real form of payment there because you are not going to get any coverage by using a credit card, but, what you should do if you are booking a flight only consider purchasing a product called Scheduled Airline Failure insurance, now this is available for only a small premium of around £4 and what that does is if your transport fails you will be able to get some insurance cover back
Now that you have booked your holiday the next thing to do is take out travel insurance, and the reason for this is that you get cancellation cover from day one. So, if you fall ill or a member of your family is ill, maybe someone dies in the family or even if your employer posts you to somewhere at the other end of the country and you can't take your holiday, you are going to have coverage from day one.
Don't leave it to the last minute because if you try to take out a policy then you are not going to be covered for those kinds of reasons.
Now if you travel regularly - and by regularly we mean three times a year or more - it may well be worth checking out annual travel insurance policies because these can give you substantial savings on what a normal single trip policy would offer you. So, do check out the difference if you are a regular traveller, and save some money.
In recent years there's been lots of talk in the press, on TV and radio, about hidden charges, and these hidden charges are really referring to things like the cost of taking a bag onboard an aircraft. Now when you've made your reservation, do ensure that you've read all the conditions and you know what you're getting for your money, so are you allowed 15 kilos of luggage into the hold or 20, or 25? Making a mistake on the difference between what you think you've got and what you've actually got can cost you a fortune, as a kilo of luggage can now be as much as £10 extra to be paid at the airport.
It's never too early to start looking at your travel money options for your holiday spending. The worst thing you could ever do is leave it until when you get to the airport and go up to the airport counter. We recently check out and found that buying a £1000 worth of currency at the airport can cost you nearly £100 more than actually using an online service and pre-booking before you travel, so do check out for currency, credit cards and prepaid cards, the various online services, to get a great deal for you. And that saving? You've got that to spend in the duty-free shop maybe when you're at the airport!
Now if you are considering using your own credit cards or debit cards when you are abroad the important piece of advice is to ensure that you know what charges you are going to incur from your card issuer. So, do get that information before you decide to use those as options.
If you think that they are going to be expensive for you there are products out there on the market from banks and building societies etc that can offer you very good value for using cards abroad. So, check those out on the web and see if there isn't another product that might be more suitable for your holiday spending.
Now these days there are vouchers galore out there to help you in saving money in high-street shops, online, so do use the web and whatever to try to find vouchers for high street shops for all those holiday essentials you need, for your baggage, your clothing, even things like toiletries; and even some airports now will actually offer vouchers up ahead to save you money in not only the duty free shops, but also the restaurants and cafes at the airport while you're waiting for your flight, so do check out on the web where you can find vouchers and discount codes to reduce that bill down.
All those savings there potentially give you more money for when you're away on holiday to enjoy yourself.