|Colin Murison Small's|
What is the air fare to Athens?
How long is a piece of a string?
We have given up publishing detailed inclusive prices for our holidays. Any price list will be meaningless because there is such a wide choice of airlines and so many price variations depending on when you book, when you travel, where you fly from and to, how many nights you stay and whether you sail (fast catamaran or slow ferry?) or fly to your chosen island that the resulting imponderables make it like participating in a treasure hunt without any clues.
In some ways that is how it has always been - at Hidden Greece we have always re-costed every holiday at the time of booking to ensure that you pay only the right fare, the right taxes and charges and the right accommodation price at the prevailing rate of exchange. If we didn’t do that, we would have to cost in unrealistic margins to protect ourselves and that would mean higher than necessary prices. All that said, we can – and do – give some tips below on how to construct the most economical version of whatever style of holiday you plan, whether it’s luxury or basic in concept.
All that said, we may be able to publish a simple price guide to enable you to make a stab at the likely cost of your holiday or at least compare the difference between the luxury and bog-standard extremes. When (and if) we succeed a link will appear here. Meanwhile we can always give you a specific quote by phone.
Book early: what used to be little more than a repeated mantra has become a vital tip because even scheduled flights are sold in blocks of seats, starting with the cheapest; as one block sells out, the next is marketed - at a higher price but just as uncomfortable as the others were.
Book late: a risky business - you may hit lucky if a tour operator becomes desperate, but you may find it hard to get the accommodation to go with it and you risk not getting away at all. An option only for the traveller who has few date limitations, isn't fussy about where he goes on holiday and is not planning to travel in August.
Scheduled flights: usually allow greatest flexibility as they offer several flights daily to Greece and permit any length of stay. Any domestic flights within Greece added to the UK/Greece sector are usually cheaper than if bought separately and open-jawing* is permitted. We use Olympic Air, Aegean Air and BA as our main carriers, all of whom offer day flights as well as the night ones (outbound only) which usually offer the best onward connections by air or sea, giving you longer at your destination. Scheduled carriers are less niggling about baggage charges.
*open-jawing does not just mean gawping with horror at the fare, but merely that you may fly out to one island and back from another without extra charge.
Charter flights: very unlikely to be the bargains they once were – the mass market operators seldom discount until the last minute. They also tie you to flying out and back on a specified day of the week for 7 or 14 days only; their timings are often very unsociable. On the other hand, they offer several UK airports not otherwise served.
No frills airlines: for Greece that currently usually means easy-Jet who offer an ever-increasing choice of destinations and UK departure airports. You should not assume they always offer the cheapest option (OA flights with a domestic connection via Athens can work out cheaper and/or more convenient: and it is easy to be taken in by an attractive price for an outbound no frills flight which is more than counteracted by the price of the home-bound. Or vice-versa, depending on your date of travel.
Hunting in pairs: if two (or more) couples travel together we can often offer a discount and of course any car hire fee per person is hugely reduced. Sometimes two-room apartments are available which work out cheaper than a studio for each couple, though you may have to share the bathroom. Lastly, most Greek living areas contain one or two sofa-beds which can accommodate extra people and reduce the cost. And the comfort
Last minute bargains? Very seldom: because we do not commit ourselves to accommodation or flights and will therefore not switch-sell you to an under-subscribed holiday; we don't have holidays rotting on the shelf.
Seasonal pricing by hoteliers: virtually every hotelier now has a pricing system reflecting expected demand. We indicate the relevant dates for each property immediately under the accommodation description in the RH column of our Destinations pages