DIY holiday planning can leave consumers stressed and overwhelmed with so much information available from many conflicting sources, new research by Audley Travel reveals.

One in nine people (12%) feel confused when researching holidays online and 14% say that planning a holiday themselves is too time-consuming.

More than a quarter say that a frustration with planning a holiday themselves is that it takes a long time to decide between different destinations and 17% say fitting in everything they want to do is a struggle.

UK adults spend an average of 51 days planning holidays, with women spending 15 days more time than men, according to the study of 2,000 people.

But over a third (36%) admit to being disappointed with at least one holiday they arranged themselves – without any input from a travel agent or tour operator in person, on the phone or online.

The main reasons cited being a hotel was not as expected (37%), the tourist spots were too busy (17%) and that the destination and things to see and do were not as expected (16%).

Two thirds of people (66%) say seeing and doing new things is essential for making a good holiday.

More than half (55%) cite sampling local foods and 49% want to learn about local cultures.

Knowing all the logistics are taken care of is key for 38% and nearly a third (31%) want to find little-known sites away from the crowds.

Separate research among Audley Travel clients who either booked or enquired with the operator, reinforces the findings.

When researching trips, 76% of respondents said speaking to an expert was important or essential, with an additional 19% agreeing it was useful to have. A travel company’s website is deemed essential or important by 67%, and useful by another 26% and brochures are said to be essential or important by 55% and useful to a further 34%.

Nick Longman, CEO of the tailor-made specialist operator, said: “Time away with family or friends is so important for people to take a break from their busy lives – whether it’s a weekend camping, a city break or a long-haul trip.

“It’s therefore really disappointing that so many people end up unhappy with the trip they plan.

“We know how complicated it is to find the best places to go and the ideal time to visit them, as well as ensuring the reality of a hotel lives up to the reviews.

“We have teams working on this full time, so completely understand how time consuming it is for people to try to do this alongside everything else in their lives. 

“We want our clients to be confident that the trip they book with us has been recommended with their satisfaction in mind, and that our staff know the area well and can advise them on when to go, what to see and what to avoid.

“Therefore, we ensure our staff experience our excursions, stay in the hotels we offer and eat in the restaurants we recommend. This means we have the best and most up-to-date information to design trips that clients won’t be disappointed with, based on their tastes, budget and interests.”