An emerging travel trend for ‘trip stacking’ sees travellers hedge their bets by booking more than one holiday for the same time. But is it worth the risk?
In an attempt to counter the on-going disruption to travel from Covid, vacation gamblers are “trip stacking”, a strategy that involves booking multiple trips for the same time period, one of which is arguably risker (and therefore more likely to get cancelled), alongside a more reliable backup getaway.
Even though international travel from the UK is getting easier (especially for people who have been fully vaccinated), for those who can afford to have their money tied up, ‘trip stacking’ will likely gain momentum, especially given the ever-changing landscape of Covid rules and regulations. (Vaccine passport expiry dates are the next threat.)
However, ‘trip stacking’ is not always a good idea, with the tactic more likely to leave consumers and businesses out of pocket, says Martin Jones, CEO and travel expert from ParkSleepFly.
What are the risks of trip stacking?
- Booking multiple trips at once requires a higher level of financial stability.
- As more people jump on the trip stacking bandwagon the travel industry will be inundated with refund requests which could consequently impact the timing of refunds.
- An increase in travel bookings may see airline and hotel prices rocket as travel companies are likely to yield their prices up as occupancy levels rise.
- Travel companies may start charging a non-refundable booking fee upfront, or eliminate their free cancellation policies to reduce consumer cancellations.
What are the benefit of trip stacking?
- It increases the likelihood that you’ll still be able to take a vacation when you want to.
How can someone ensure that they get all their money back for the trips they don’t take?
Jones says: “When trying to claim back money from a trip you don’t take, it is best to go directly to the company you booked your holiday through, and they will be able to guide you through your options.
“If you do choose to book more than one trip, we would suggest selecting a trip that includes free cancellation within their policy, and no upfront payments. Make sure to always check the terms and conditions.
“When booking any holiday we would always recommend taking out travel insurance, protecting you from cancellations, lost possessions and medical emergencies. Travel insurance starts at just £2.25 for basic cover.
“It is important to note that if your holiday company cancels a package holiday for any reason, it has to give you a full refund by law within 14 days.”
Will this trend continue in 2022 and beyond?
Jones says: “Although ‘trip stacking’ may continue to increase in popularity into next year, I do believe that the travel trend will quickly start increasing holiday costs, affecting all consumers.
“From rocketing airline prices, to a rise in booking fees and even the loss of free cancellation policies – all of these will prevent the current trend from continuing past the pandemic and into the foreseeable.”
What alternative advice would you give to someone who’s planning a trip right now?
Jones says: “An alternative to ‘trip stacking’ is booking a holiday at the last minute. Booking a trip at the last minute allows you to carefully monitor Covid-19 travel restrictions, and determine the suitability of travel at the given time.
“As travel restrictions are changing frequently this technique should also help to alleviate some of the Covid-19 travel anxieties.
“Another benefit of last-minute booking is that there are often bargains to be had. Although the range of choice may decrease, the price of any remaining availability will be a lot more appealing. Travel agents typically look to sell off any remaining stock such as plane seats or hotel rooms closer to the date of travel.”