Free child places are the golden ticket of family holidays. Hard to find but feel amazing when you find them. Booking with a free child place, you feel like you’re getting a bargain.
But are free child places all that they appear to be?
Which tour operators offer free child place holidays?
Free child places can be found with tour operators that package all of the elements of your holidays themselves. Basically, if you are booking with the same company that you fly with, there is a chance of a free child place.
Unfortunately, due to the turbulent travel industry, many of the free child place companies are no longer with us. In such a short space of time, we have lost companies that offer free children such as
- Cosmos (with Monarch Flights)
- Thomas Cook
When is it best to find a Free Child Place?
The big tour ops that still offer free child places, offer them well in advance of your departure date. To bag a package with a free kid, you need to be booking at least a season ahead. So for the free kids in the summer season, you at least need to book the winter season before.
If you are on the lookout for a free child place, don’t worry about missing out. All of the leading operators that promote free children spend big on advertising to make sure that you are aware. When holidays are available with a free child, you are likely to see promote ads offering this on your social media feeds.
Free kids’ places are very limited, so if you are hoping to book your next holiday and escape paying for your little en’ – you need to act fast and furious. Find it and book it and your free child place will be secured. Tour operators tend to set the number of free child places available per flight (not per hotel), so don’t be fooled thinking if you’re interested in a big resort with lots of rooms, that there will always be free kids available.
Is it always cheaper to book with a free kids place?
This is an important question, so I’m glad you asked. Whilst there is no definite answer to whether booking with a free child place is cheaper, it is probably safe to say, don’t stress if you don’t manage to get one.
The “free child place” is for tour ops a marketing strategy – no different to “book now and get £200 off” – as they regularly offer.
The fact of the matter is – the tour operators have a base cost for your holiday. Basically the amount it costs for them for you to take the holiday without them losing money. This cost is made up of many factors, the room rate, the flight (with luggage if they offer), the transfers. There are also other factors in the net cost, such as marketing, admin & after sales service. The tour operator won’t sell you the holiday without making a profit on this base level cost. Whether you book now with a free child place, or later in the year with £200 off.
Usually prices to book far in advance are high, so the free kids place is more of a novelty gift.
The tour operator will always make a profit, whether you book now with a free child place, or wait until later in the year when they are offering a discount instead
There are exceptions to this rule. If the hotel is hugely popular with families – then it is likely that as demand grows and the rooms become sparse, the operators will boost prices to that of before the free child place promo. So for these hotels booking early with a free child place can be highly beneficial.
Are Free Kids places cheaper holidays than late deals?
Aaah the good old days. When you could check teletext the night before and go to Barbados for £99. Joking aside, the travel industry has changed quicker than customer perception.
And unfortunately, late deals are dead and gone.
Last minute deals being an absolute steal, existed when you couldn’t go on holiday without being flown, transferred, and hosted by the same op. You could get a deal so cheap, because they would rather cut their losses on the flight money to save having an empty room at a hotel that they had committed to.
Sadly, these days, there are much more flexible arrangements in place for the tour ops. They don’t have to worry about empty beds at hotels, as their agreement is flexible, and they can sell them empty seats on their flights for a premium to people needing a last minute flight.
So, generally speaking, it will always be cheaper to book with a free child place than wait for an elusive last minute deal.
Generally speaking, nothing is fixed in travel.