5 Tips for Booking a Holiday With Enough Flexibility to Change Your Mind Later

holiday umbrellas

Let’s face it, we all want to book a holiday, but if the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that we need to be flexible. We need to adapt — and the same applies to our travel arrangements.

The best part, flexibility comes in many forms when you’re planning a holiday. If you don’t have any set plans, you can score a cheap flight to wherever that bargain flight is going (here’s to hoping it’s Italy). If you’re flexible with dates, being able to extend or shorten your trip could mean the difference between overpaying, or getting lucky with a cheap holiday. 

Although, you don’t need to have that “wherever, whenever” attitude to book a flexible holiday. Instead, we have five tips to help you book your dream holiday, with peace of mind.

1. Look before you book

The importance of future-proofing your travel plans extends far beyond flights. Consider hotels and experiences, such as wine tours or rental cars. We tend to over-plan when we book holidays, so if you need to change your mind later, be sure to check the policy of each company. Some hotels offer refundable rates for a little extra cost; consider adding it to your budget. If you want further peace of mind with add-ons and tour experiences, consider booking them closer to your departure date. 

2. Book all-inclusive

If you don’t want to move around much, consider an all-inclusive holiday. Packages like the IHG Hotels and Resorts Handpicked Holidays offer peace of mind to travellers, who will have the right to a replacement holiday, should anything change at a moment’s notice. You also get good value for money, you get the holiday you paid for, and you will be looked after if something goes wrong — say, a cancelled flight, where the company can rebook you on another flight, or offer a refund.

All-inclusive holidays (or half-board, if you want the best of both worlds) are also great for those looking to take the worry out of booking multiple things. Instead, everything is tailored to your interest and is all paid for ahead of time, so when you arrive, all you need to focus on is having fun, and maybe slotting in some relaxation time. 

3. Book direct

In our experience, booking directly with airlines and accommodation providers ensures you get a better outcome when plans change. Hotels can offer refunds, but policies can change when it comes to dealing with Airbnb hosts or travel agencies. This is because travel agencies and third parties have to negotiate refunds with the provider.

When you book direct, you’re taking the middle man out of the equation, increasing your chances of a better refund policy. You’re also entitled to rewards and points when you book direct. IHG Hotels and Resorts offer great rewards for travellers who join their rewards club, for example. They have over 5,000 hotels worldwide, so wherever you go, you could be earning rewards with each stay. 

4. Think local

You don’t have to fly off to London right now, instead, why not book a city you haven’t been to in Australia yet? Start local, then gradually find your international feet. We also suggest staying in cities, especially if you want peace of mind when booking your holiday.

In cities, you have access to a multitude of restaurants, experiences, and hotels — all equipped to handle change. When you venture out regional, that’s when tour experiences and accommodation arrangements can be more difficult to change at the drop of a hat and you might end up losing more money than you expected. If you end up in a situation where you need a new hotel, then you can sleep through the night, knowing there are plenty of options around. 

5. Be flexible

You don’t have to know how to do the splits to be flexible. Instead, be open to change. If you book a flight, but it’s cheaper to go on a Thursday instead of the Friday, ask to work remotely the next day or take the day off (you deserve it). It could mean the difference between paying a few hundred dollars more or saving it. There’s a great sense of adventure and spontaneity when you can pick a holiday based on a cheap flight or off-season resort holiday.

If you’re not sure how flexible bookings work, here’s a refresher. First, there is a cut-off date for your right to change your mind (write that date down). Second, you have a window to re-book your trip at little to no extra cost.

Keep in mind, if you’ve booked parts of your holiday with different companies, you might not be able to be as flexible with dates and arrangements. This is why it pays to book all-inclusive and direct. Everything is taken care of and is packaged in a neat bow for peace of mind on your holiday. 

If you feel ready to book a holiday (like we said, you deserve it), we suggest you check out these Handpicked Holidays from IHG Hotels and Resorts.