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It's Sale time. But watch out for big operator 'hustles' says watchdog

It's January and the annual rush to bag a bargain has begun

But not everything is as it seems according to consumer champion Which? after conducting a survey of some big travel names including Expedia, Kuoni and Virgin Holidays.

They highlighted practices which hustle customers into making hasty decisions with time limited promotions, flash sales and clocks counting down to the end of a sale.

They then followed 30 'special deals' in the summer and found that 16 were on offer for lower prices two weeks later after the sale ended. Some hotel booking sites use similar hurry techniques such as 'last available room,' '8 rooms sold today' or '10 people looking at this.'

Feedback from our own customers on Trustpilot shows how much they appreciate being given a choice and not being rushed into hasty decisions. And while it is not always possible to hold flights on popular dates we try to be as flexible as possible. So here's to 2018 and safe travels.

PS. Our tip from early sales is that the US and Mexico will be big winners this year!

Our top 6 money savers you can't afford to miss

  • Save 60% at Atlantis the Palm, Dubai plus enjoy a FREE flight upgrade and FREE Half Board
  • Self-drive California with a FREE Virgin Atlantic flight upgrade
  • Sydney, wine and scenery - Discover the best of New South Wales with 2 FREE nights
  • Save 10% on India's Golden Triangle and see tigers in Ranthambore National Park
  • Save 40% on a 7 night stay at the brand new, all-suite Sandals Royal Barbados
  • Save £1600 per couple in a romantic beach villa at Ayada Maldives with FREE Half Board

My best holiday ever

Author Jeffrey Archer never likes to be far from an art gallery

What people are saying

A selection of customer comments from Trustpilot

10 top things you didn't know last month

  1. 1. Sick claims epidemic. Operators fight back

    Claims management firms are cold calling millions of people, urging them to make false holiday sickness claims according to ABTA. They say one in five holidaymakers has been approached and some operators have seen a 500% surge in claims. This is despite sickness reports in resorts remaining stable and travellers from other countries not experiencing the same issues. Now tour operators and hoteliers are fighting back and some fake claimants have already received prison sentences while others have been successfully sued for their legal expenses. The Government has announced plans to reduce the incentives of making such claims by capping compensation payouts.
  2. 2. Experts do Grace a favour

    Tucked away in the Caribbean and boasting some of the clearest waters and softest white sand you are ever likely to come across, Grace Bay Beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands has been named the best in the world by a survey of travel experts. A 12 mile stretch on the island of Providenciales, and protected by a reef just a mile off shore, this pristine beach topped a poll of 632 travel journalists and other insiders surveyed by the Canadian website FlightNetwork. Australia's Whitehaven Beach, on Whitsunday Island, ranked second and Anse Lazio in the Seychelles came third.
  3. 3. Airlines get a lot 'extra'

    The amount of money the world's airlines collect from optional extras, such as bag charges, seat selection and credit card fees has grown by 264 per cent in seven years. A report on "ancillary" revenue, which includes all income beyond standard air fares, has estimated that carriers raked in £61 billion in extras for 2017, up from £50 billion the year before and £16.8 billion in 2010. These ancillary sources now account for 10.6 per cent of all revenue with carriers including Ryanair, Wizz Air and Spirit highlighted as the champions in this particular field.
  4. 4. You have to fail to make the grade

    A collection of disastrous inventions have gone on display in Los Angeles at the Museum of Failure. The collection, originally from Helsingborg, Sweden, is on show at the city's Architecture and Design Museum. Curator Dr Samuel West said he had grown sick of companies only talking about their successful products, so he decided to celebrate the flops. Exhibits include an electric facial mask, a Donald Trump board game and a short-lived Coke 11.
  5. 5. Learning to cope with the crowds

    The problems of tourist overcrowding that has blighted so many cities such as Barcelona, Venice and Dubrovnik in recent years could soon reach others, including Marrakech and Prague, a report has warned. Research by the World Travel and Tourism Council has concluded that there is no silver bullet for the issues of travellers overrunning destinations, but that locations and governments must act if they are to avoid "tourismphobia". The authors of the Coping with Success report said other vulnerable places were Budapest, Warsaw, Tokyo and Lima.
  6. 6. It's not party time again

    Booze fuelled "lads holidays" could soon to be a thing of the past as popular party destinations attempt to rid themselves of a sleazy image and move upmarket. Magaluf, on the Spanish island of Majorca, is half way through a five-year regeneration plan that includes millions of pounds of hotel investment, a police campaign against drunken behaviour and an attempt to woo an increasing number of families and couples. Meanwhile, Ibiza's transformation to a more refined holiday destination is well documented and nineties hotspot Ayia Napa in Cyprus is also making concerted efforts to move away from lads holidays tourism.
  7. 7. Smart luggage faces flight ban

    Smart luggage that allows its owners to charge phones, track belongings with GPS and sometimes even motor their suitcase through airports, could be banned on planes over fire risk concerns. US airlines including American and Delta have already announced restrictions due to come into force this month on baggage with built-in lithium ion batteries, while IATA, the International Air Transport Association, is considering its position. It is expected that bags with removable batteries will be allowed to fly, but those left in the hold will be deemed potentially unsafe.
  8. 8. Blooming good time for Red Lotus Sea

    Thailand's Red Lotus Sea has erupted in a blaze of pink as the seasons turn in the north of the country. At the start of the Thai cool season, from December to February, the lake at Nong Han Kum Pavapi in the Udon Thani province is transformed by blooming red lotus flowers earning it the moniker of the Red Lotus Sea. Channels are cut through the aquatic flowers on the lake, which is nine miles long and three miles wide in places, to allow boat tours to explore the colourful carpet.
  9. 9. Devon airport the cream of the crop

    Exeter Airport is the happiest in the world, according to a report by HappyOrNot, the Finnish company that operates those smiley-face customer satisfaction buttons in departure lounges. The West Country airport scored 89 per cent, putting it top of a list of 160 airports across 36 countries. Cork, in Ireland, and Rome Fiumicino came joint second, followed by Dallas Fort Worth, in the US. HappyOrNot declined to reveal which airports were at the bottom of the list.
  10. 10. Pastures new for BA

    British Airways will launch flights from Heathrow to the Greek island of Cephalonia, Almeria in Spain and Figari on the island of Corsica this Spring. The airline is also increasing the number of services to Ibiza, Santorini and Split for summer when 39 more destinations will be available compared with 2016.

Offers

  1. Save 60% at Atlantis the Palm, Dubai plus enjoy a FREE flight upgrade and FREE Half Board

    Choose Dubai and marvel in the never-ending entertainment at 5* Atlantis the Palm - where kids stay free. Check into another world as you take in a host of new experiences and activities from swimming with majestic dolphins to dining with spectacular views of the Ambassador Lagoon. Make the most of your half board stay and get a true culinary experience at over 23 restaurants. 3 nights from £675pp including Virgin Atlantic flights with a FREE one-way upgrade. Valid 26 Aug - 26 Sep.
  2. Self-drive California with a FREE Virgin Atlantic flight upgrade

    Take in all the highlights of California on this 7 day tour. Starting in San Francisco you'll have plenty of time to take in the city's iconic sights from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz before journeying down the coast to LA, calling at Monterey as you go. We include 6 nights accommodation with a 10% saving, car hire and Virgin Atlantic flights with a free one-way upgrade. Even better up to 2 kids can share a room with their parents for free. 6 nights from £1025pp when you travel Jan - Mar.
  3. Sydney, wine and scenery - Discover the best of New South Wales with 2 FREE nights

    Experience two contrasting sides to Sydney as well as the nearby Blue Mountains and Hunter Valley wine region in one unforgettable trip! Starting with 3 nights at 4* Breakfree on George, you'll be perfectly placed in the heart of the city for exploring Sydney's vibrant neighbourhoods and iconic sights. You'll then pick up a hire car and escape to the Blue Mountains for 2 nights and a further 3 nights in the Hunter Valley before finishing your stay in Sydney's beach suburb of Coogee. Fly with Qantas and enjoy Australian hospitality from the moment you board. 11 nights from £1249pp. Valid May.
  4. Save 10% on India's Golden Triangle and see tigers in Ranthambore National Park

    For the perfect introduction to India, choose this comprehensive tour where you'll explore stunning palaces and places of worship, browse the bustling bazaars, and travel by rickshaw. You'll visit three of India's most beautiful cities, Ranthambore National Park to see wild tigers in their natural habitat, and visit a whole range of iconic and memorable sites, including, of course, the Taj Mahal. 8 nights from £1985pp including Emirates flights.
  5. Save 40% on a 7 night stay at the brand new, all-suite Sandals Royal Barbados

    Be one of the first to enjoy the many exclusive privileges on offer at the brand new, all-suite, Sandals Royal Barbados. Stay in a South Seas Club Level Junior Palm Suite with Outdoor Tranquillity Soaking Tub and enjoy all the benefits of your Luxury Included stay which includes a huge choice of dining options as well as premium brand spirits and endless sports and activities. 7 nights from £2135pp flying with Virgin Atlantic. Valid Jun - Oct.
  6. Save £1600 per couple in a romantic beach villa at Ayada Maldives with FREE Half Board

    Immerse yourself in luxury after being upgraded to a beach villa at the five star Ayada Maldives. You also save £1,600 on your seven night stay at this brand new awe-inspiring resort located on the paradise island of Maguhdhuvaa in the stunning Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll. You have half-board included and the superb amenities include seven indulgent restaurants, bars and cafes, a huge spa and health club and a scuba diving centre featuring an array of watersports. 7 nights from £2299pp when you travel 10 Apr - 12 Jul. Flights are with Qatar Airways.

My Favourite Holiday

Author Jeffrey Archer never likes to be far from an art gallery... and he paints a wonderful picture of a teasing Margaret Thatcher

Your early holiday memories I was never far from the seaside growing up in Weston-super-Mare and I used to spend most of the summers working - either selling deckchairs on the beach or Wall's ice creams on the Grand Pier. Weston-super-Mare is still my favourite place in Britain and I visit it at least a couple of times a year.

What was you first trip abroad? I was locked in a room in my hotel in Paris on my first trip abroad in 1957. I was 17 and there to compete in the 100 yards race against French schools. All I can recall is being stuck in the room, then getting out and running in the race, coming last then going home. I would love to have been seduced by the romance of Paris, but sadly it didn't happen.

What do you need for the perfect trip? I need an art gallery or two. Over the years I have visited most of the greatest cities and art galleries on Earth. My all time favourite is the Hermitage in St Petersburg, which is also one of my favourite cities.

Your most luxurious trip? It was on the Viking Sky cruise ship in February last year. The eight day cruise started in Venice and took in Albania and Greece before returning to Italy. I'm not so good when it comes to journeys on water, but luckily the Mediterranean was as flat as a pancake at the time.

Your favourite destination? I've always had a soft spot for the Irish since 1966. I'll never forget visiting Ireland with my wife Mary for our honeymoon that year. We hired a car and visited Dublin, Killarney, Blarney and Limerick. It was the only place we could afford to go at the time and the people were so friendly.

Best and worst cities? Mumbai is very underrated as a travel destination. It's thriving, bustling, and energetic, as well as being at times heartbreaking because of the poverty you see. I love Italy for its great food and art, but I was disappointed by Naples, which didn't have the warmth and glow of other Italian cities.

Your most memorable holiday experience? I travelled with Margaret Thatcher on her tour of Japan just after she'd resigned as Prime Minister. It was a terrific fortnight of speeches, visiting parliament and the emperor and she was on top form. One night I prepared her room at the Imperial Hotel to make sure everything was the way she liked it, with the mini bar stocked with her favourite whisky. But when she arrived back after a hard day's work and slumped down into a chair, rather than request her usual tipple she said: "I'll have a double gin and tonic". That was Margaret, she loved to tease you.

For the full interview see Telegraph online

What people are saying

A selection of customer comments from Trustpilot

  • Fabulous service to get us our dream Christmas holiday

    Just back from Christmas in Florida and can't thank Donovan and the team at DialAFlight enough! At one point, our holiday wasn't happening - the flights were just so expensive. I don't think we had any idea just how busy that part of the world is at Christmas.

    Having spoken to Donovan and discussed our requirements, he offered us some alternative flights to an alternative airport at a much better price than I had been able to source on my own. He also got us a great deal with car hire.

    After the initial booking, we received regular updates/reminders to ensure that all our documentation was in place ready for our flights.

    Everything worked out perfectly and I have already started to recommend DialAFlight to friends.

    We will definitely be using their services again in the future!

    Debbie Limb gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trustpilot. Sparkling footnote: Debbie's name was pulled out of the hat in our monthly Trustpilot draw and a case of Prosecco is on its way.
  • Fabulous customer service

    Elliot and the other staff were helpful from start to finish. Regular email updates and calls to check things were much appreciated and took the stress out of arranging a long haul flight. He booked all the seats he could as soon as they became available securing us excellent seats for the longest part of our return journey showing he knew and understood the plane layout. I highly recommend this company and will use them again the next time I'm booking a flight.

    Kirsten Nutman gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trustpilot.
  • Our dream holiday to Australia

    I have been so impressed with the service DialAFlight provided for our dream holiday to Australia. Our request needed a rapid response, involved business class travel to Perth, and hotels and car hire in Tasmania. Furthermore, our decision to travel, or not, was dictated by budget. Within three hours, DialAFlight had fixed everything and at a price we thought was for one person, not for both of us. Everything worked as planned. Just got to save up now for our next adventure.

    Clive Davison gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trustpilot.
  • So happy a friend recommended DialAFlight

    I'm so happy that a friend recommended DialAFlight to me. Having a travel manager to deal with my bookings from start to finish took all the stress out of searching for flights and hotels, trying to sync flight transfers and keep track of the itinerary. I've always done all my own bookings but was struggling to find good flights for a trip to Thailand. Otis at DialAFlight handled everything for me; it was brilliant. Everything ran really smoothly and I felt so relaxed knowing that everything had been taken care of. It was also great that I didn't have to pay in full right away. I have already recommended DialAFlight to a colleague and will definitely use them again!

    Emma Douglas gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trustpilot.

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