The cost of living crisis is prompting many to cut back on luxuries such as streaming services and coffee to go.
But after two years of Covid shutdowns, many who can afford it are still considering spending the money on vacation.
With the average week-long vacation expected to cost UK holidaymakers around £1,000 per person, holidaymakers will be looking to get the best possible deals for future trips.
Ultimate Travel Club, a new subscription travel agency, says it is offering members access to vacations at commercial prices, with up to 60% off available
Some might be tempted by a new subscription service called Ultimate Travel Club, which for an annual fee of £99 claims to offer them ‘trading prices’ while on holiday.
But how does it work and is it too good to be true?
The young travel company says it is offering discounts of around 40% on a range of holidays, flights and additional travel items.
The exclusive discounts would be offered at commercial prices, which would mean that customers would not pay the commission or overhead charged by traditional travel agencies.
The subscription costs £99 for 12 months, although it currently offers a free trial.
“As a start-up, we don’t have the legacy costs and overhead associated with more established travel companies,” said Brett Norton, boss of Ultimate Travel Club.
“It means we can operate with a very different business model, which can deliver incredible value to customers.”
Travel service subscriptions are becoming increasingly popular, from the Jack’s Flight Club discount flight subscription to the luxury accommodation pass, Inspirato.
UTC offers an unlimited free trial to help customers compare, ensuring you always get the best vacation at the best price.
A look at the UTC website shows that it covers both ends of the market, with a range of affordable and luxury vacations at discounted prices.
But are the prices really better than what you might get elsewhere?
I’ve taken a look at some of the most popular holiday destinations and peak times to compare prices for a range of package holidays.
I considered booking a seven-night all-inclusive stay at the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach in Jamaica, comparing UTC to those offered by Expedia and Booking.com.
At the end of September, departing from London Heathrow, you could get an all-inclusive holiday for two for a total of £1,342 pp via UTC.
On Expedia, the same hotel, same flights and dates would cost you £1,437 each, or £1,451 on Booking.com, meaning you could save up to £200 on your overall trip.
This would cover more than the £99 annual subscription in a single bank holiday.
But for shorter stays, vacationers may need to fly more than once to get their money’s worth.
Closer to home, I considered a 3 night city break for two, traveling from Luton to the 3 star Hotel Sant Agusti in Barcelona at the end of July.
The trip is available for £787 for hotel and two flights via Expedia, with a small saving of £15 in total if you’ve booked via UTC.
But, the same trip is more expensive via UTC than Booking.com, which currently costs £738.
In that case, you’d better book through Booking.com.
However, it should be noted that UTC currently offers to cover the difference if you find your advertised trip cheaper through another provider.
In addition to flights and hotels, UTC says subscribers can save up to 25% on dining out at thousands of UK restaurants, 30% on cinema tickets and 50% on UK outings.
Membership can currently only be paid for in one lump sum, although UTC has said it plans to introduce monthly memberships in the near future.
You also get around 2% “cashback” on your bookings, which can be saved and further discounted in the future.
Cheap offers? UTC says it’s the cheapest place to book vacations online. Although we found a cheaper stay on Booking.com, UTC says they will refund the difference
According to UTC’s website, traditional travel companies make their money by adding up to 40% commission to the fares they get from suppliers.
By charging customers an upfront annual fee instead, Ultimate Travel Club claims it is able to offer better rates than its competitors.
Although, as our quick check confirmed, this may not always be the case, so it’s still worth shopping around.
Norton added: “Increases in the cost of living are bound to have an effect on many people’s budgets, and unfortunately I think it’s a reality that this year some people are going to have to sacrifice their annual holidays.”
“More than ever, people are looking for value, so I can’t think of a better time to offer consumers a product that will help them save significantly on their travels.
“We have many examples of members saving £800 or more on a single trip.”