The big freeze has made us all dream of basking in the sun on a 2018 holiday. More than 3 million Brits will book a break this week, according to research by holiday protection scheme ATOL.

The States is still as popular as ever with more than 10 per cent booking to go to America. And the younger generation are intending to head for Europe with Spain and Italy being favourite destinations.

But make sure you look for the ATOL sign, nearly half of holidaymakers (43 per cent) say it is essential but it should be 100 per cent. advises you all to book with companies displaying the ATOL and ABTA signs, then your hard-earned cash will be protected if anything goes wrong with your holiday company.

Despite the weakness of the pound driving up costs, the survey of more than 4,000 people across the UK, found the popularity of the USA is stronger than ever with over a million more people looking to travel across the pond in 2018 than 2017.

After enjoying adventurous gap years, the study shows millennials are now keen to holiday a little closer to home with European destinations very much in vogue for the younger generation. Spain, Italy and Greece are all top destinations. And Portugal is rapidly closing the gap thanks to its buzzing food scene, photogenic cityscapes and Port making a comeback.

This is in contrast to the older generation who are increasingly using retirement to travel to far flung destinations such as New Zealand and Australia.

The London bubble sees those from the capital bucking the trend when it comes to travel – only seven per cent of those that live in London see Spain as their next holiday, compared to the national average of just under a quarter (23 per cent).

Top 10 holiday destinations for 2018:

2018 rank Country 2017 change
1 Spain =
2 USA +1
3 Italy –1
4 Greece =
5 France =
6 Portugal +1
7 Caribbean –1
8 Australia +2
9 Canada –1
10 Cyprus –1

The research also revealed the destinations at the bottom of tourist’s wish lists, with Azerbaijan and Romania proving the least popular.

Least popular holiday hotspots:

  1. Azerbaijan
  2. Romania
  3. Slovenia
  4. Malaysia
  5. Kenya

The research found that when it comes to booking holidays, top priorities for consumers include guaranteed sunshine, a nearby beach and even access to British TV channels.

For the younger generation, the top three priorities for a holiday include “good wi-fi” (35 per cent), “free data roaming” (15 per cent) and “instagrammable locations’”(10 per cent). This is in stark contrast to those who are over 55 – these sensible spenders are three times more concerned about having ATOL protection when booking a break (60 per cent).

Richard Moriarty, Consumers & Markets Director at the Civil Aviation Authority, said: “With more consumers than ever using the period between Christmas and New Year to book trips abroad, we want to make sure as many people as possible understand the benefits of the ATOL scheme.

“It’s the most comprehensive form of protection for package holidaymakers in the UK, ensuring more than 26 million British travellers every year can travel with peace of mind.

“Whether you’re travelling to popular hotspots such as Spain or exploring destinations even further afield, don’t forget to ask about ATOL before you book. Having an ATOL certificate means that your holiday is financially protected, so if the worst happens and your travel company goes bust, you will still be able to get home and will not lose your hard-earned cash.”

Visit for more information about ATOL protection.