Daily Court Reporter - News Planning to be in London for the royal wedding this spring? Book now, travel pro says
Planning to be in London for the royal wedding this spring? Book now, travel pro says
KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer
There are only so many beds in the tens of thousands of hotel rooms in London - rarely an issue for out-of-town guests even during the height of the summer travel season.
Add a spectacle, such as the wedding of the Windsors' Prince Harry to the American actress Meghan Markle in May, and those beds will be available at a premium.
Susan Heitkamp, a luxury and European travel specialist at Grandview Travel, advised those who plan to travel in May will need to book their trips very soon.
"As in immediately," she qualified. "There's still availability, depending on when you're traveling."
She said other areas of the United Kingdom, outside London, however, do fill up more quickly. There are only so many beds to book a given night.
Heitkamp characterized this time of year a busy season for the industry, in general.
"Surprisingly we're booking Europe even earlier than ever," she said. "I think we're seeing peripheral increase in traffic (as it relates to royal wedding travel).
"I don't have any bookings directly, of course, because I think people recognize things will be extraordinarily busy, crowded and higher in pricing during such an event."
That, in addition to the media frenzy created by such an event, are things a traveler should consider when planning a trip to London at this time.
"Absolutely," Heitkamp said, "because everybody and their cousin is going to be there."
She has booked quite a few people who will be traveling through the U.K. in April and May.
"Whether that has any relation to the royal wedding, that's hard to say," she said.
The royal wedding is scheduled May 19 at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Grandview Travel frequently books tours to a variety of royal sites, including St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and many other castles.
Queen Elizabeth II's official residence - Buckingham Palace - is only open to tours while the monarch is away during the month of September for a brief stay in Scotland, Heitkamp said.
The bit of advice helps make the travel professional's point that booking through an agency or freelance professional is a better bet for consumers spending a lot of money on a transatlantic trip.
"When you're talking about spending a significant amount of time and money - resources that you've worked really hard for - it makes sense to work with somebody who's actually been (to the trip destination) maybe even more than once and has some knowledge of how far it actually is from Buckingham Palace to Westminster and whether that's really walkable," she said. "If something happens and all of a sudden, there are flight delays and you can't make a connection, who are you going to call?
"Do you think the people at Expedia are going to help you out?"
She advised that individuals who are in the planning stages of a trip to prioritize and set realistic expectations of what they can manage to squeeze into the timeframe of their vacation.
"Part of our job is to help you really optimize your resources - financially and timewise - so when we're suggesting things like skip-the-line passes and small-group guided tours, it's because we're trying to help you make the most of your time there," she said.
Date Published: February 28, 2018