As we passed the mid-point of 2016 and found ourselves firmly ensconced in peak summer season, researchers from British Airways delved into the holiday habits of the British public to shed some light on how they are choosing to plan their annual leave and book their trips.

Annual leave is a precious commodity for Brits with the average quota totalling just 21 days, and it appears that the nation prefers to hang on to their holiday until the summer kicks into full swing. At the halfway point of the year, only one-third of annual leave had been taken - but are we turning into a nation of last minute bookers or still plotting our trips far in advance?

The survey revealed that when it comes to that all-important big annual holiday, British travellers do not enjoy the spontaneous lifestyle. Whilst more than half (57%) stated they had 'panic booked' a holiday, this action had left 36% feeling stressed, 19% feeling annoyed and 18% feeling panicked or anxious. The optimum time to book appears to be seven weeks in advance, though according to the survey this shifts slightly according to region. Wales and the South East prefer to give themselves a little more time at eight weeks whilst Northern Ireland fall into the most spontaneous camp, waiting until 5.4 weeks before departure to book a trip.


In terms of age groups, travellers in the 45-59 bracket proved the most organised, choosing to book their holidays 7.7 weeks in advance whilst the younger generation of 16-29 year-olds wait a little longer and book at around 6.5 weeks in advance.

A different study, also conducted by British Airways earlier in the year, found that there is a significant proportion (12%) of 5.8 million Brits who choose to book their summer holiday in January and that those who are this forward-thinking also splurge more than £11 billion on extra ancillary services.

It also seems that nearly half of customers struggle to coincide annual leave with colleagues - 48% of respondents found that their preferred dates had been snapped up. All respondents agreed they had missed out on at least one trip over the past 12 months due to a lack of leave.

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