We all know that travelling by coach is a far friendlier form of transport for the environment being six times greener than driving by car or holidaying by air and is twice as clean as going by train. Very few realise that coach holidays are also great value for money as there tends to be no hidden extras with travel, half board accommodation and entrance tickets to attractions generally included in the price. Coach tourism itself is contributing £2.35 billion to the economy with approximately 9 million people taking a coach holiday during the year. Here’s what you can do to help save money when considering your annual coach holiday.
Holiday out of season
Booking out of season is another money-saving option. The popularity of coach holidays with the Over 50s age bracket means that peak season tends to be June and September because these holidaymakers wish to travel whilst children are still at school. Travelling at this time means that the price of your holiday is likely to be more than a less popular time of year.
Last minute availability
While the coach industry isn’t fully geared for last minute travel, most escorted tour operators will offer some sort of discount the closer you get to the departure date. Generally tour operators will start reducing holiday prices approximately four weeks prior to the departure date. Discounts can vary depending on the destination and when you wish to travel, but you can typically save 10-25% per person on the brochure price. The only disadvantage of leaving it till the last minute to book a coach holiday is that single rooms are likely to be few and far between.
Supersaver breaks are a great way to save money if money is tight and you’re willing to take a gamble on the exact accommodation you stay in. Supersavers are the coach world’s equivalent to being ‘allocated on arrival’, where you know which resort you’ll stay in but not which hotel. Some Supersavers are more than 30% cheaper compared to a coach break with pre-named accommodation.
Taking the Supersaver concept one step further are mystery tours, offering good savings if you really don’t mind where you end up for your holiday. Mystery tours are just that; tours of a short duration taking you to any location that a tour operator still has some availability for. Sometimes with these breaks, you won’t find out where you’re staying until the coach pulls up beside the hotel, which all adds a bit of fun to your break! The difference in price between a 2 day mystery superdeal break and a break to a similar destination in named accommodation can be as much as 14%.
Look out for operators running a Travel Club, which offer benefits for a small annual subscription fee. It would be worthwhile becoming a member because your loyalty will be recognised through the holiday discounts that you receive. The money you save will vary depending on the type of holiday you are looking for and the destination but Loyalty Clubs are definitely a great idea if you have a restricted budget. For a small annual fee, your loyalty will be recognised with special discounts or offers that will be emailed directly to you. Some companies offer a loyalty bonus scheme whereby you will receive a discount ranging from £5 to £15 off the next holiday that you book with them. Some loyalty schemes enable you to book holidays, short breaks or day trips before they go on general sale to the public. There are also special day trips or holidays that are specifically for members as well as a regular newsletter so you can keep up to date with all the news and events for your preferred tour operator.