Holidays in Spain

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Holidays in SpainThe majority of holidays in Spain are packages to the popular ‘Costas’ of the mainland and to the Balearic and Canary Islands. For specific information about these destinations simply select “Resorts” from the menu above and navigate your way to your preferred holiday destination. Similarly if you’re interested in a city break to one of Spain’s many fabulous cities just select “Cities” above.

Advice on Booking Package Holidays

As a child of teletext I was brought up with what seemed to be a technological marvel at the time. I’m sure that part of my urge to travel was fuelled by the many hours I sat on the sofa watching hundreds of adverts for holidays pass before my eyes. In recent times teletext’s news service has been switched off as it was not profitable, however, their holidays still appear on Freeview channel 101 in the UK whilst their high-tech website Teletextholidays.co.uk opens up a whole new world to holiday surfers.

In the dark days before the internet, package holidays were traditionally sold by high street travel agents or over the phone in response to adverts seen on television, in newspapers and on teletext. Today the internet takes the search for holidays to a whole new level where well known tour operators and online travel agents offer an enormous selection of packages.

Tour Operators

For some time in the UK travel market it’s been common practice for the biggest tour operators to take over rival companies, airlines and travel agencies. This has resulted in a marketplace for the consumer which is far from transparent when it comes to buying holidays.

Today’s travel industry is made up of many branded tour operators who are owned by a parent company. With the occasional collapse of particular holiday companies it’s a good idea to know who you’re booking with otherwise you might find yourself stranded abroad without having realised that the company you booked through is connected with the one that’s just gone bust.

To avoid any such problems it’s a good idea to book holidays with the peace of mind of knowing that one of the main tour operators is behind your booking. Here are the main powerhouses of online holiday companies serving the UK market:

Tui Travel Group

There are over 200 brands in the German owned TUI Travel Group including:

Thomas Cook Group

The Thomas Cook Group plc was formed in June 2007 by the merger of Thomas Cook AG and MyTravel Group. It owns many high street brands including:

Monarch Group

The Monarch Travel Group consists of well known companies from the British travel sector including:

Independent Operators

A couple of other tour operators that deserve a particular mention which aren’t backed by any of the above three travel groups but which do provide good value holidays and consumer protection are:

All these tour operators provide full consumer protection from ABTA and ATOL. Take a look at their websites and you’ll find an enormous supply of holidays with frequent special offers. Strangely, however, you’ll often find the very same holidays for cheaper on the websites of some of the internet’s top online travel agents.

Online Travel Agents

Online travel agents would better be titled “Dynamically Packaged Travel Agents” as the technology of their websites allows you to define your holiday requirements which then searches the websites of major tour operators listed above and smaller travel agencies. You are then presented with the results of your search and can book a package holiday which has been created from different suppliers.

Consumer Protection

When booking just make sure that the company offers full ABTA and ATOL customer protection so that you’re fully protected if anything goes wrong with the company.

When to Book: Early or Late?

Once Christmas is over the travel industry starts off the New Year with loads of special offers for summer holidays. If you know more or less what you want then you can pick up a good deal at the start of the year. Leave it any later and new rules apply.

In theory, package holidays get cheaper as the departure date approaches because tour operators want to fill empty seats on planes and empty rooms in hotels even if that means almost giving them away at bargain basement prices. Having said that, I was surprised to find on a recent trip to Gran Canaria booked with Thomas Cook that we had to pay a ‘Late Booking Fee’!

Most families choose their summer holiday dates months in advance, select these weeks off work then book their holidays accordingly. These people pay the top price for package holidays. If your travel dates aren’t constrained by school holidays or national holidays then you’re in a much stronger bargaining position because in spite of add-on fees you should still be able to find some excellent last minute deals.

Tour operators make commitments to airlines and hotels for the forthcoming holiday season then proceed to fill all the flights and hotel rooms that they’ve booked. People booking months in advance pay the highest rates then a couple of months before departure some special offers tend to go on sale. If you leave it until a few weeks or even a few days before departure then you might get some great prices.

Obviously there’s no hard and fast rule about when to book, it’s very much a game of chance and the ability to play depends on each individual’s circumstances. If you want a particular hotel in Mallorca for the first two weeks of August which has ‘Kids Club’ then you need to book early to ensure availability. However, if you don’t mind where you go or when and can leave at short notice then you might find some good deals.

Activity Based Holidays in Spain

There’s an established and growing tourist market for activity holidays and thanks to Spain’s varied terrain and enticing climate such short breaks are very popular here. Below we’ve listed some of the main activities which lead to a number of interesting options associated with these activities in different parts of the country.

Walking Spain
As Europe’s second most mountainous country with such varied terrain Spain has become a top destination for walking holiday enthusiasts.

Cycling Spain
With varied terrain and an attractive climate in many parts of the country Spain has long been a favourite destination for cycling enthusiasts.

Ski Spain
Did you know that Spain is Europe’s second most mountainous country? The best Spanish ski resorts are in the Pyrenees in the North and in the Sierra Nevada in the South.

Diving Spain
With over 5000km of coastline Spain offers diving enthusiasts some fascinating underwater sights to discover.

Birdwatching Spain
Spain has become a mecca for birdwatchers on both the mainland and on the country’s islands.

Bowling in Spain
Have you ever thought of heading for sunnier climes on a bowling holiday? Then check out the Bowling Abroad website which offers clients the chance to go bowling on the Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca and Costa Almeria in Spain as well as on the Algarve and in Cyprus.

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