Book before future price increases kick in, go all-inclusive to ensure you know the cost, travel out of season or mid-week to save a few bobs, be aggressive with new routes from Ireland Searching is just some of the steps people take if they want to find the best vacation deals this summer, according to travel industry insiders.

Bad news is almost always present in our world, but the good news when it comes to international travel is that 2023 is shaping up to be a very good year. Airport delays, lack of rental cars, etc.) seem to have “washed the system” and a sense of normalcy is returning.According to a study by a travel insurance company More than 80% of Irish holidaymakers say their travel habits have returned to pre-COVID levels, with 87.3% of those surveyed planning to take two or more holidays in 2023, according to a study released this week I replied that it was planned.

8 out of 10 say their trips have become ‘very or very comfortable’. But almost half said Covid has impacted their approach to travel, with delays, queues and cancellations at airports being the most concerning. Such concerns are not entirely misplaced. While things are definitely picking up overall, tourism is still in recovery mode, the cost of living crisis is being felt everywhere and popular destinations across Europe are struggling to find people. increase. The job of running a tourist machine.

“Lodging costs continue to rise, there are labor shortages, and soaring energy is a problem everywhere,” says travel writer Eoghan Corry. “We are a little confused as tour operator contracts have been canceled and then renewed with higher prices. Energy issues are a big problem for accommodation providers. .”

He said a trend that was established last year that saw Irish people return to traditional hangouts in Spain and Portugal was likely to repeat itself this summer, and that Greece was also likely to become popular. But he believes people looking for value can still find it, especially if they pay close attention to the new routes from Irish airports.

There are over 20 new routes from Dublin to destinations across Europe. Not all of them are appealing to conventional vacationers. That means it’s often better value than the more popular destinations. “It takes him at least 12 months before a new route is established, and often the lowest price is found in his first year,” he says Corry.

He highlights flights to Brindisi, Italy and Kos, Greece, which will be launched by Ryanair and Aer Lingus for the first time this year. “These are new routes, with two competing airlines, so they are likely to get attention. Sardinia also deserves attention. Ryanair has been flying to Alghero for years now. But Aer Lingus has started another route to the island.”

Mary Denton is the CEO of Sunway Travel, one of many travel companies that endured a nightmare pandemic. She is optimistic about the year ahead, expressing some surprise at how strongly some areas of Sunway’s offering have recovered. Cruise vacations in particular are recovering much faster than many expected.

In the early days of the pandemic, cruise ships became the epicenter of the virus, with large floating resorts housing thousands of passengers stranded offshore, unable to land due to outbreaks on board. It’s limited to history books, and “we’re out in the open,” says Denton on cruise bookings. There are now more cruises than ever before and I can see why. Great for families and couples and a great way to see different places. “

The cruise is also all-inclusive, which makes it easier to budget your spending when inflation is dangerously fluctuating in double digits.

Prices are cheaper in Morocco and Turkey. Also, people save money by flying on weekdays. They have to be smart about it. Flying to Málaga on Wednesday can cost you at least €60 less on ticket prices as opposed to Saturday, while flying in the afternoon will save you a few pounds.

Mary Denton, CEO, Sunway Travel

According to Paul Hackett, president of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) and owner of online travel agency Click & Go, all-inclusive deals are booming as the cost of living crisis deepens. The initial cost may seem high, but at least tourists know exactly how much it will cost and can pay for it over the course of several months.

He stresses that “properly offering all-inclusive resorts is very important,” and advises people to consider dedicated all-inclusives over mixed-up resorts. He says it’s also wise to choose a resort with multiple pools and other areas for people to keep entertained, as you’ll want to spend more time on site because you have an all-inclusive deal. . So it has to be good.”

He also notes a surge in early bookings and payment plans as people are doing what they can to offset rising costs of living everywhere. We didn’t want to commit to, at the end of April we were still doing antigen testing and now all the hard work is done and people are looking at today’s prices instead of waiting for them to go up We want to lock it in,” he says.

Hackett is more optimistic than at any point since 2019. The office is busy and it’s nice to hear the phone ring,” he says. “Despite the interest across the board, Spain is hugely popular with Irish people. There are 20 destinations across the islands, Costas and cities, and plenty of flights from here to there.”

He says operators at tourist destinations are optimistic. “They’ve gone through all the challenges we face here, but 2022 has been really rock solid. Even with peak season prices, they’re going to sell out.”

Denton agrees, saying that while the cost of living crisis is affecting all households, many will prioritize summer vacations this year. The Maldives, Mauritius and Florida are also popular for long holidays.

She warns that people can expect to pay more. “A fundamental part of the vacation is flights and accommodation, and prices are rising. Airfares are at least 15-20 percent higher than last year. Above-ground hotels are also being hit by costs, and prices are soaring, prompting people to book early. Well worth being found if you are familiar enough with it.”

Airlines have nothing to offer for those unable to travel due to the coronavirus, meaning travel insurance is more important than ever.

Eoghan Collie, travel journalist

So how can people save money?

“It’s really worth it,” says Hackett, when traveling outside the peak months of July and August.

Denton agrees. According to her, a holiday for four in Portugal in August will cost about 2,500 euros, but “it’s cheaper in Morocco and Turkey. People also save money by flying on weekdays.” “They have to be smart about it. Flying to Málaga on Wednesday will cost you at least €60 less on the ticket price as opposed to Saturday, but you’ll save a few pounds if you fly in the afternoon.”

When asked about the rental car issue, Hackett’s assessment is brief. “It’s back to normal. No issues. Like many of the negatives, it flushed the system out.”

Corey is unsure. “Car rental remains a problem and I don’t think there will be a repeat of last year’s turmoil, but car rental companies across Europe are still unable to keep up with demand, especially if you look at the smaller ones located far from airports. , there are ways to get around the high cost of renting a car, but it’s a nuisance.”

Corrie also warns people to make sure their travel insurance is adequate, with Covid coverage as standard. , meaning travel insurance will be more important than ever,” he says.

Many people may be booking early, but Jo Rhodes of which? Travel warns people not to rush to book believing the deals will run out. “It’s important to think things through rather than make hasty decisions,” she says. “Limited-time deals aren’t always everything they promise. Really, when and which? Our analysis of these types of offers in the past shows that in more than half of the cases, the price is the same or higher after the sale ends. It turned out to be cheaper than

She says you can often find bargains throughout the year on routes where airlines are trying to fill seats, and suggests setting up price alerts to help you know when fares have dropped. “Whenever you choose to book, choose a provider with a good and flexible booking policy and take out comprehensive travel insurance from the day you book in case you are unable to travel.”