The joy of a new year is all there in that first, crucial three-letter word. New.
A fresh page of the calendar always feels like a cue to start again. To do things differently. To spread wings and look to intriguing horizons. It certainly feels that way in terms of travel – at the end of a week that has seen the axing of pre-departure tests for vaccinated passengers coming or returning to England.
After a few difficult weeks, the planet seems to be reopening, bringing in a world of possibilities. It may be only a week or two old – but 2022 already feels like it will be a better year for holidays than 2021. But the question is, what sort of holidays? Luxury escapes? Far-flung explorations? Multi-generational family breaks? Beach-hotel indolence? All of the above?
Whatever your taste in travel, now is the time to start thinking ahead and planning a getaway – either for the coming months, or later in the year. Of course, “new” can mean many things. Last week, we conducted a reader poll which showed that, for 66 per cent of you, visiting a country for the first time is your main new year’s travel resolution.
If that sounds like an excellent plan, this feature offers a few suggestions – as well as ideas on how to step away from some of the holiday habits we all lean on too much.
Out with the old and in with the new, as the saying goes – whether that involves a grand odyssey of personal discovery, the easy pleasure of winter sun in Spain, or a money-no-object, ultra-extravagant holiday which blasts away the lingering shadows of the past two years.
The habit: You always travel Saturday to Saturday
This is an entirely natural travel habit – neat, tidy, a guarantee that you eat into only one precise week of precious annual leave. But if you have the flexibility to fly outside the weekend, you may find that reduced demand has a happy effect on the cost of your break.
The change: Choose a midweek escape
How about a getaway to the Algarve in August? Portugal’s sunniest region has long been a favourite of British holidaymakers, but consider your dates carefully. A seven-night stay at the five-star Pine Cliffs Ocean Suites in Albufeira costs from £1,456 per person if you fly from Gatwick (to Faro) on Saturday Aug 6 through British Airways Holidays (0344 493 0787; ba.com/holidays). But push an otherwise identical package back to Wednesday Aug 10 and that price falls to £1,354 a head – a saving of £204 per couple.