/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Why don’t we haggle for our holidays?

Free plane sign

We’ve been discussing haggling in recent weeks and the different ways you barter to bag a bargain. You’ve shared your success bartering for goods and services, but what happens when you haggle for a holiday?

When you’re shopping for a holiday, do you haggle with the travel agent over the price? If you don’t, you won’t be alone but you could be missing out on hundreds of pounds of savings.

I didn’t bother haggling with travel agents for the price of holidays until recently. But my eyes were opened on a visit to a local travel agent where simply asking them to do a deal on the price led to a £130 reduction in the price of my holiday – that worked out to be around 5%. After asking them to throw something in for free, I was also offered free meals on the flight, adding up to another £30 saving.

Haggling reduces cost of family holiday

A 5% saving for haggling might seem small beer to haggling experts – a colleague at Which? managed to haggle a £3,000 reduction on a family holiday to Florida, cutting the price to £5,500.

Maybe haggling isn’t a very British thing to do – it certainly doesn’t come naturally for the 83% of Which? members who don’t haggle for holidays. Or maybe we think it’s not worth the hassle? However, simply asking a few questions, even if it feels uncomfortable, can save us hundreds of pounds.

To find out whether haggling works we sent researchers to 46 high street travel agents to haggle for the price of holidays. In 38 cases they managed to get a better deal, just by asking for some money off. They managed to get extras thrown in for free 17 times and they were able to get a better deal on holiday money 13 times. And haggling works on the phone too, we managed to get 21 price reductions from 43 summer holiday phone haggles.

Holiday extras thrown in for free

Simply by asking the agent to do a deal on the price is the most straight forward way of saving money. For holidays booked well in advance, you can also try offering to pay in full to get some money off. And as a parting shot, try asking the agent to throw something in for free. We managed to get airport parking and hotel rooms, child places and travel insurance thrown in for free.

So have you successfully haggled for a holiday? Tell us your tips for getting money off the price of your trip – we’re on the hunt to find the nation’s best haggler…

Have you ever haggled for a holiday?

Yes - and I successfully got a better deal (36%, 62 Votes)

No - but I might give it a go now (33%, 57 Votes)

No - and I don't think I will (21%, 36 Votes)

Yes - but I didn't get a better deal (10%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 172

Loading ... Loading ...

I wonder whether people think they’re asking for trouble with their booking or their flights or the accommodation if they seek to get a reduction in the price. It strikes me that the travel trade isn’t doing too well at the moment – shops are closing down and those that survive are running on half-staff, Tesco having taken away their bureau de change business. The headline prices for holidays seem to have about as much padding as the price of a DFS sofa so it’s probably worth enquiring about a little sweetener on the package without actually scraping for a discount.