As we FINALLY saw a very welcome return to international travel at the beginning of the year, we cannot tell you how fabulous it has felt to be arranging exciting, unforgettable wine holidays again, and doing what we do best.
It has been almost a year since we last posted. As we hit the “post” button that time, demand for holidays soared across the board to never-before-seen heights and like many of our peers, the Grape Escapes team have spent the past twelve months battling tirelessly to arrange as many trips as humanly possible for our travel-starved clients, whilst taking great care not to compromise on the quality of our service and experiences.
Thank you so much to those of you who have travelled with us in 2022- it has been so lovely to help you to celebrate your post-lockdown freedom in style.
Whether you are already in the throes of planning your 2023 holidays, or whether you are just seeking some inspiration at the moment, we are delighted to share with you the below travel tips to help you on your way.
Plan as far ahead as you can
The travel industry is continuing to experience the huge surge in bookings that we predicted this time last year, both from new clients and from clients with postponed holidays during the pandemic and who are looking to rebook their trips. This means that similarly to 2022, hotels and tours are already getting booked up very quickly for 2023. Whilst many companies like us are easily able to make last minute arrangements for our clients (we have organised holidays in the past with just 24 hours notice!), the biggest challenge that we have been facing this year, and will be facing next year too, will be severely limited availabilities. If you can, we recommend booking as far ahead as possible.
Don’t expect big discounts (sorry!)
Hotels and airlines tend to work on supply and demand pricing structures. This means that as demand increases, the same thing happens to their prices. Discounts are usually offered by service providers and travel companies when they need to fill places on tours or in rooms at hotels. As demand continues to soar, the service providers are experiencing the polar opposite of decreased occupancy issues, so “special offers” are expected to be few and far between in 2023, as the level of demand is still so high. In addition, travel is one of the industries which was worst hit by the pandemic, so whilst we are over the moon to be welcoming clients on trips again, every penny really matters during the long recovery period.
Make sure your booking is protected
If Covid-19 taught us anything about travelling, it’s to look after our money. ABTA/ATOL bonded tour operators are required to adhere to the Package Travel Regulations (PTR) which in short means that if your holiday cannot go ahead (for example if any government travel restrictions are introduced in the future), you are legally entitled to a full refund. This protection is not offered by single service providers (for example if you are booking a hotel on its own and not as part of a package) so now more than ever, booking with an ABTA/ATOL accredited company is the safest way to protect your money. See here for more detailed information and advice about ABTA and ATOL.
Check the booking terms offered by your tour operator
Any reputable travel company will appreciate that trust works both ways, and even more so in the post Covid world. So in addition to the usual ABTA/ATOL protection, many tour operators are continuing to waive their standard terms and conditions, and offering enhanced flexibility for new bookings, such as complimentary trip postponements and no quibbles refunds. Here at Grape Escapes, we pride ourselves on offering one of the most flexible booking policies in the market for total peace of mind, and you can find details here. Whatever holiday you are thinking of booking, make sure that your travel provider is offering a similar degree of flexibility should a recurrence of Covid-19 mean that you need to change your plans at any stage.
We always strive to make every trip memorable, but having the BEST time on holiday is now more important than ever to us all. How many milestone birthdays and anniversaries with our friends and loved ones did we sadly miss during lockdown? To make up for it, let’s make it our collective mission to
enjoy every single second of our next holiday, and make special memories that we can cherish forever.
Let us inspire you
We would love to hear from you to start planning your perfect wine tasting holiday. Give us a call on +44 (0) 1920 46 86 66 or drop us an e-mail anytime on firstname.lastname@example.org.