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Late bookings trends may increase spends this Christmas

26th October 2009 Print

For the best holiday deals and value for money this Christmas, travellers should shun the ever-expanding late-booking trend and secure their winter break by late October – according to leading small-group adventure company Explore.

Consumers may be unaware that during the popular Christmas holiday season, flights rise considerably in cost. Additional flight supplements and a lack of seat availability mean prices increase as the lead-in times decrease.

Major tour operators, such as Explore, are able to secure seat allocations at competitive prices in advance with airlines before the Christmas rush. Once these allocations expire or become filled however, passengers must pay additional and unavoidable supplements, imposed by airlines. When the money-guzzling supplements take over, a great value-for-money holiday suddenly becomes hundreds or even thousands of pounds more expensive.

Explore’s Business Performance Manager, James Eustace, says: “A third of all our current passenger bookings are for travel this year, compared with just a quarter this time last year. In fact, sales of tours departing within the next six weeks have doubled by comparison with 2008. This reveals a massive shift to the late booking market, which may prove challenging to those travelling over Christmas”.

So, save your pennies for presents and get booking now for a truly unforgettable, well-priced festive break. Want to know where you could be on Christmas Day? Explore recommends the following tours:

Morocco - Shopping in the souks on the Kasbah Trail: Following Sahara sands and fortified Kasbahs, spend Christmas morning in the charming coastal town of Essaouira before indulging in a few festive gifts from the souks of the bustling capital of Marrakech. This comprehensive 10-day taste of Morocco departs 18 December and costs £835 pp including flights from London, all transportation, nine nights’ B&B, some other meals and the services of a tour leader. Tour code: KT.

Thailand - Staying in a small village on the Family Thai Hilltribe Adventure: This exciting family adventure includes sightseeing in Bangkok, an elephant ride through the jungle and Christmas with a twist, with a three day hike to the remote northern hilltribe villages. End with a relaxing beach stay in Koh Samet. Departing 19 December, this 16-day itinerary costs £1,889 per adult and £1,754 per child (aged 6-11 years) and includes flights (Heathrow), all transportation, 14 nights’ accommodation, some meals and the services of a tour leader. Tour code: FTH.

Borneo - Hanging out with Orang-utans on a Sabah Naturewatch: Experience idyllic beaches, Kinabalu Mountain climbs and canopy walks through the rainforest on this 11-day tour of Borneo. Best of all, Christmas Day can be spent watching the amazing Orang-utans swing through the tress at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre. Tour departs 23 December and costs £2,350 pp including flights (Heathrow), all transportation, nine nights' accommodation, some meals and the services of a tour leader. Tour code: BN.

For more information or to book, visit