Business Traveller

Travel without the budget

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Backpackers were once happy to slum down in derelict dormitories. Now, to the delight of hoteliers, they demand “flashpacker” accommodation with iPod docks and hygienic loos during their designer-shoe-string travels around Australia or South-East Asia.

New research from American Express (1) this week suggests that the mass-market now also prefer added frills. The survey found that 83 percent of British holidaymakers are willing to pay as much as 20 percent extra for holiday upgrades. This is quite a leap from five-year figures to date, which show that only 39 percent of travellers paid to upgrade.

The researchers are unclear whether travellers have simply had enough of low-cost carriers’ lack of tri-course meals – or leg room – or feel more confident about spending money.

Some travellers, of course, try to secure added extras for free, dressing smartly, fluttering their eyelashes at officials… but only six percent of travellers questioned said they managed to secure a coveted complimentary upgrade to their travel plans.