Walking on sunshine: post-result holidays
A BREAK in the sun is still the rite of passage for many students after their Leaving Cert, despite the recession.
Students are more conscious of getting the best value for money. Many are shopping around and bargaining to keep costs down.
However, things have changed slightly since the collapse of Budget Travel in October of last year. The company had the biggest share of the Leaving Cert holiday market but students still have a host of operators to choose from.
"A lot of students were affected by the Budget Travel collapse," said Juan Cullen, managing director of leavingcertholidays.com. "We noticed that as well as package holidays, many students chose to book holidays themselves using a mix of hotels and Ryanair flights."
James Kenny from holidaysonline.com said he has seen an increased input from parents this year.
"Parents are bargaining on behalf of their children. They are paying the same prices as the last few years but are expecting better accommodation and nicer resorts for their money."
Most Leaving Cert holiday bookings occur in the first three months of the year, peaking in January and continuing on to March. The average Irish student booked a two-week holiday and paid between €500 to €700.
Most are travelling in groups with numbers ranging from three people right up to 15. The top holiday destinations are varied but all have one thing in common: lots of sunshine.
Leavingcertholidays.ie saw Turkey come out tops in their destination poll, followed by Gran Canaria and Crete. The site has also seen package holidays in the Spanish resorts of Costa del Sol and Marbella surge in popularity.
Many students went on holidays after the exams but the majority are travelling after the results. Whichever option they choose, a holiday doesn't need to be worked around the CAO offers. Students can do all their CAO business online.
According to the CAO, 95pc of applications, change of mind and acceptances are done online.
It is very convenient -- most people apply online and keep things online.
Reports in recent years have painted students abroad in an unflattering light, describing them as troublemakers or inconsiderate holidaymakers. But these are exaggerated, according to the trade.
"Nine times out of 10 we have no problems with students. If there is a situation we would ask the rep to have a quiet word and ask them to remember that there are other people on holidays as well and they respect that," said one agent.