Many travel companies ask for holidays to be paid in full months before your trip. Is it reasonable to pay for a holiday three months in advance? Where does your money go?
I don’t like paying for things in advance. Call me a miser, but I like to hold on to my money as long as I can.
I don’t like handing over money and then waiting weeks to see the results of my spending. Meanwhile, the money sits in someone else’s bank account collecting interest, rather than my own.
Take builders. I was once asked to pay nearly half the cost of the work as a deposit weeks before the project would have started – so I walked away and found someone who only wanted a 5% deposit with no more to pay until the builders arrived and started work.
Early payments go too far
Thomas Cook and the Co-operative Travel, which are now part of the same company, want the full balance of a holiday 14 weeks before departure, for example.
One of our Which? Travel readers disliked this idea so much he didn’t pay the balance for a trip to the Isle of Man on time, and lost his holiday and deposit as a result.
I wouldn’t go that far, but I don’t see why once you’ve paid the deposit, the full balance is needed so far in advance.
Paying months before you travel
However, such terms are common in the travel industry among big companies – Thomson and Virgin Holidays, for example, both want full payment 12 weeks before departure.
Full payment dates have been getting earlier over the years, and clearly it’s in travel companies’ interest to have all the money paid over earlier.
But what about the consumers’ interest? Shouldn’t we be able to hold on to our money as long as possible?
What’s the earliest you’ve ever been asked to pay the full cost of a holiday? And do you think it’s reasonable for travel companies to ask for your cash months in advance?