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If you haven’t yet booked a summer break then no doubt the recent heatwave has given you a taste for some down time. Whether you’re looking for a classic Spanish beach package holiday or a trip to Croatia, Italy or Greece, make sure you get your perfect trip at the right cost. From cheap package holidays, to cheap flights and accommodation, you can get a great price on everything when you know how. So if cash is tight or your credit rating isn’t quite what you’d like it to be here are our ideas for how to get your next holiday at a lower price.
Book at the right time. Skyscanner recently carried out research that drew some pretty stark conclusions about how much airfares vary depending on when you travel. Although most of us assume that the entire summer is an expensive time that’s actually not the case. Skyscanner’s research found that if you travel from London to Alicante, for example, you’ll pay less in June and July than you would in August. If you can wait until early September then the savings are even better.
Compare flights. Flight comparison websites are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and it’s now simpler than ever to make sure that you’re getting the best deal on the flight you want to book. For example, we checked the cost of those flights between London and Alicante at the start of July. The cheapest flights came in at £80, while the most expensive were £589 – a huge saving for the same route.
Choose an ‘unpopular’ destination. This doesn’t mean Syria or Afghanistan but considering places that aren’t that popular right now but where most travel experts would still recommend holidaying. Turkey, for example, has had some recent troubles and so is cheap to fly to but still a recommended holiday spot – just check the latest Foreign Office guidance before you book.
Take a traditional length holiday. You’ll get the very best deals on holidays that are seven, 10 or 14 days long.
Book late. Around two months before any departure date package holidays start to drop in price. At that point the tour operators behind the trips have already booked the hotel rooms and chartered the planes. If those package holidays remain untaken then they start to lose money. So, the closer it gets to the departure date the more likely a tour operator is to offer a lower price for the same trip.
All-inclusive is always better value. Especially if you’re travelling with hungry kids. According to Post Office data, a meal out for a family in Europe can cost around £50. So, over seven days you’re looking at £350 just for evening meals alone. If you’re all inclusive instead then the savings are considerable.
Don’t stay in a hotel. There are so many more options when it comes to holiday accommodation now and most of them are much cheaper than a traditional hotel. AirBnB allows you to hire someone else’s home for your holiday and you can stay in beautiful apartments and cliff top villas for a fraction of the price of a standard holiday rental. Glamping, camper vans, camping pods and yurts are all cheaper to hire than hotels but often twice the fun.
Use a last minute discounter. If you can leave booking your accommodation to the week before you travel then the discounts really roll in. At this point most hotels are keen to get rid of the rooms they have left and will do so with hotel discounters at reductions of upwards of a third off the standard price. This applies even during the peak summer months – in fact some of the biggest discounts are in July and August. It’s also always worth checking the hotel’s website too, as many hotels now attempt to undercut the discounters to get the business direct.
Try a house swap. Love Home Swap is just one of the many websites springing up to meet the demand for ultra cheap holiday accommodation. The website matches up homes in different parts of the world so that you can use your property to get you a great summer deal on somewhere to stay. Don’t be put off if you don’t have a sprawling home in Chelsea or a big country house. Many visitors to the UK are looking for comfortable, good value city flats or easy to access modest countryside homes so your property might be more appealing than you think. Many companies, such as Love Home Swap, also offer protection against damage if you’re worried about other people in your home – and your children in theirs. LHS, for example, offers Traveller+ which covers you for accidental damage and trip cancellation.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read about Alex Hartley
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