How do you like to plan your holidays?

What kind of travel planner are you? Are you the sort of person who likes to book a trip in meticulous detail months in advance? Do you take pleasure in researching everything with a fine tooth comb and build up a formidable arsenal of lists, itineraries and destination dossiers? Do you take steps to ensure that you are protecting your holiday?

Or are you more the drop-of-a-hat type? The sort of person for whom part of the excitement of travelling is not over-planning and over-thinking. Who gets a thrill out of heading off into the unknown on the spur of the moment. Heading out armed with nothing more than a change of clothes, a cash card and a phone?

If you’re interested in finding out more about your travel planning style, have a go at this quiz. Put together by a team of psychologists, the idea behind the quiz is that people can reduce their stress levels when holiday planning. For example, a lot of the stress we often experience in organising a holiday can be decreased simply by planning in a way that best suits our personality type.

So for spontaneous adventurer types, planning months in advance in great detail is likely to raise the anxiety levels. On the flipside, if you’re the sort of person who loves to be organised, a last minute escape is likely to stress you out. Therefore, not planning in advance takes the enjoyment out of the trip.

Protecting your holiday post pandemic

Another interesting angle to this is that the COVID pandemic seems to have changed the way we plan our holidays. Firstly, it now favours one personality type over the other. Prior to the pandemic, the majority of people booked trips six to nine months in advance. But latest figures suggest that around 40% of all trips abroad are now booked within 12 weeks of departure.

It’s easy to understand why. Booking a holiday abroad comes with so much uncertainty now. First it was tentative steps out of lockdown restrictions. It meant holidaymakers waiting on updates to the rules before confirming anything. Now it is all the disruption being experienced at airports as understaffed airlines struggle to cope with the post-COVID surge in demand.

With hundreds of flights being cancelled every day, people are understandably delaying making bookings as they wait for a little more clarity. Protecting your holiday and sanity is key!

That works just fine if you are the sort of person who doesn’t mind leaving things until the last minute. If you don’t mind  and cope well with having a lot of the details up in the air. But if you’re naturally a forward planner, this is likely adding a whole new level of stress to the holiday experience. 

Not only are there a lot of uncertainties that you have no control over but you are also going against your instincts. Therefore, setting yourself up for a nerve-wracking wait for some kind of certainty that may never come anyway. Enough to drive the most compulsively organised people to distraction.

Finding a balance and protecting your holiday

Whatever ‘style’ of travel planner you are, the best advice is to always try to temper some of your natural instincts. So for those ultra-organised forward planners struggling with how ‘up in the air’ holiday bookings are at the moment – the best thing you can do is let go a little. You can’t do anything about the huge numbers of flight cancellations happening right now. The prospect of having your holiday plans changed last minute are not going anywhere soon. If you want to get away this summer, you just have to roll with it.

But the same can be said for anyone who is happy to go with the flow and give minimal thought to forward planning. That’s usually great until something goes wrong. And then you wish you had done a little more prep.

The classic example here is travel insurance. It is so important that you are protecting your holiday. To some people, the whole idea of buying travel insurance makes you a stick-in-the-mud. Like you are willing something to go wrong or focusing on the negatives when the whole point of travel is to embrace uncertainty and adventure.

But then that flight you booked does get cancelled. And yes, you get offered a rebooking or a refund. But you can’t claim back the money you put down for accommodation. Or the car parking fees to leave your vehicle at the airport for a week. Or the cost of car hire at your destination. You put in a claim for compensation as per the statutory regulations for cancelled flights. But the money you are offered doesn’t cover all your holiday costs. You’re left out of pocket.

Embrace the new way to travel

So no matter how ‘last minute’ your holiday planning gets, whether out of preference or because you feel you have little choice, it makes sense to think ahead in certain respects. Just like you need to plan ahead for basics like how you get to the airport, it makes sense in these uncertain times to make sure your trip is fully covered. After all, no one needs to lose out financially to add to the stresses of organising a holiday.

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