If you're looking for a last minute holiday, see our last minute travel page. Here we focus on booking a holiday where there is a few weeks between now and when you intend to travel, so we take you to some of the tour operators' web sites.
You will notice the recommended links section is bigger on this page than on other pages. There are lots of great web sites to investigate, if you have the time. You can also order some free brochures (click on the link) online and have them delivered to your door.
The UK's top 5 tour operators (Thomson, Airtours, Thomas Cook, First Choice and Cosmos) all have an online presence. Most have expanded into niche travel markets and have sites for each of their travel brands. We'll take each tour operator in turn in the sections below and then identify some of the best of the rest.
Thomson Travel Group
Owned by Preussag of Germany, Thomson sells around 5 million holidays a year. Their main websites are just and thomson-holidays. Additionally, have a look at thefirstresort, through which they offer their own and the other major travel companies' holidays. Other Thomson sites worth a visit include simply-travel, crystal france and the 'deals' sites - late deals, sky deals and villa deals.
Similar in size to Thomson, they sell around 5 million holidays a year. Behind the other major operators in their internet strategy, Airtours is currently rebranding itself as 'MyTravel' and focusing on one website - MyTravel. In addition they have the camping website eurosites.
Owned by C&N Touristic of Germany, Thomas Cook sell around 3.6 million holidays a year. After a re-branding exercise last year, their web site presence is now focused on thomascook, tcholidays and jmc (although this has since been reversed!). They also have websites for their brands neilson, club18-30 and style-holidays.
First Choice Group
Selling around 3.2 million holidays a year, their main websites are firstchoice and travelchoice. In addition they also cover some travel niches with a number of specialist sites including fcski, unijet (scheduled flights and unijet holidays) and on airport car hire (formerly suncars, car hire - book online and save £5). In May 2002 they bought the adventure travel company exodus.
Much smaller that the other four, Cosmos sell around 1.2 million holidays a year and are part of Globus of Switzerland. Their main site is cosmos-holidays. They also sell flight only deals via avro.
Other larger tour operators
Outside the big 5 there are some great websites. virginholidays, trailfinders, kuoni, pageandmoy and travelcareonline are all excellent sites where you can research and buy your ideal holiday.
Activity Holidays - book activity holidays, weekends or short breaks to the Austrian Alps. From skiing and snowboarding to walking, climbing, mountain biking, white water sports, golf and multi activity breaks.