A Midlands travel consultant has reported soaring numbers of bookings so far this year as people return to using agents and embark on ‘revenge travel’ after Covid.

Ben Casey, who runs Out of This World Travel in Solihull, said the number of enquiries and bookings he had received in the first period of 2022 had more than doubled compared with the previous year. He is now looking to expand with plans to take on another member of staff later this year.

“People are booking real ‘bucket list’ trips,” he said. “They are splashing out on once-in-a-lifetime trips to long-haul destinations. This is ‘revenge travel’.

“People are looking to do something extra special. After two years of going nowhere, they have come to value what holidays really mean. It’s a really busy time for us and I am planning to recruit in the Solihull area this year.”

Ben said he had seen families booking trips to Lapland and the US – with one booking worth over £40,000 for a family villa in Orlando. Many couples are booking exotic destinations like Mauritius and the Maldives and there have been lots of enquiries about honeymoons.

There have also been some more unusual bookings.

“We had one person book a trip to climb Mount Everest; someone else is off to Borneo to see the orangutans and we have had bookings for Japan, inspired by Joanna Lumley’s recent TV shows showing her touring the country,” said Ben.

“Even those that don’t want a long-haul trip are being more adventurous – booking Dubai instead of Turkey, for example.”

Ben said compared with this time last year he had seen a 150 per cent increase in the number of bookings made, with around £250,000 being spent in January alone.

Travel experts across the UK have reported a big rise in the number of people using travel agents rather than booking independently with many, including TV presenter Eamonn Holmes, speaking publicly about the benefits.

“People have come back with a new confidence,” said Ben. “But their mindsets have changed. Pre-Covid people were happy to take the risk of not being protected, but now they want to book through a travel agent – I am always available on the phone for my customers to talk to and they recognise the importance of having someone there to support and advise them.”

Ben said anyone looking to book a holiday should look into it now rather than wait.

“It’s more about availability than price at the moment,” he added. “There are not as many seats on flights available as there were before Covid and places are being snapped up. As availability drops, the prices go up. There’s no such thing as a last-minute cheap deal anymore.”

Out of This World Travel is part of Not Just Travel Agency Ltd and Hays Travel Independence Group.

To find out more, visit www.outofthisworldtravel.co.uk