Ten tips for cheaper summer holidays
Now is a good time to start thinking about your summer holiday. Whatever break you’re after - a sunny getaway abroad, a family holiday with a sandy beach, or a break for two – there are always savings to be made. Our top tips will show you how.
take advantage of last minute deals
If you are very flexible, book late, when tour operators, hotels and airlines will offer discounted holiday deals. The more flexible you can be when it comes to time, date and destination, the more likely you will be to snap up a bargain. Work out your priorities beforehand so you will know the things that you are willing to compromise on - and the things that you aren’t. For example, if your priorities are beach, wi-fi and sun, you could end up in a number of destinations that meet those criteria - perhaps in places that you hadn’t initially considered.
Avoid school summer holidays (if you can)
If you're not traveling with children, avoid the school summer holidays as this is a peak time and therefore the most expensive. If you're unsure about local term times, you can find them on the Government's information website by entering your postcode.
Be flexible on the length of your stay
Shorter trips aren't always more economical than longer ones. Sometimes, two-week trips can offer better value for money; make sure you check all options.
Check out ‘Kids Go Free’ promotions
Tour operators offer free child places to families with children, which can make a real difference. However, make sure you read the small print, or clarify with your tour operator, as other charges may be levied on the ‘free’ place.
Demand for flights, in the UK and internationally, is typically not as high during the week, especially on the very early or very late flights.
Search for discounts
There are some excellent holiday deals available online: discount deals, voucher sites, and early bird deals - and even price-comparison websites that can do the hard work of searching for you. However, don’t rule out the travel agent, especially if you are flexible. They can look into details such as flying in and out of different airports for example, which may save you money.
Book in advance - on trains and coaches
Advance train tickets typically go on sale 12 weeks before travel, which means that tickets for the school summer holidays will be available shortly. You can sign up for a free ticket alerts on thetrainline.com, which will email you when your tickets are available. It may also be possible to save money by 'split ticketing' which means that, rather than having one ticket for your whole trip, you have two or more tickets for different parts of your journey, which allows you to take advantages of savings (such as off peak travel for certain parts of your trip).
To see if split ticketing would work for you, search for your journey on MoneySavingExpert.com
National Express Coaches publishes its timetable once a year, and Eurolines (a co-operative of 29 coach companies that connect 600 destinations across Europe and Morocco) publishes twice a year. This makes it possible to book up to a year in advance in the UK, and 6 months in Europe. To find out more information, see the National Express and Eurolines websites.
Doing it yourself
Package holidays can work out more expensive as the operator has done the work for you. If this kind of convenience is not a factor for you, look into booking flights and hotels yourself, as this is often cheaper.
Go with a group - benefit from discounted family and group travel
It is sometimes possible to get discounts for family and group travel (which in some instances could be just two of you travelling together). For example, there are a host of Railcards that can save you up to a third off rail fares, making it possible to recoup your money in just one journey. Coach companies, such as National Express, also offer a variety of cards for discounted group travel.
- For more information about Railcards, please click here
- For more information on National Express coachcards, please click here
If you are saving for your holiday, or would like to begin doing so, you can see the comprehensive range of savings accounts available at Al Rayan Bank here.
To discuss the best savings account to meet your needs, please ring the Customer Services team on 0800 4086 407, who will be happy to help you.
Book early next year
A smart way to take advantage of the best holiday deals is to book early. And an increasing number of Britons are doing this; ABTA, the UK’s largest travel association, estimates that one third of all summer holidays for 2015 were sold in January and February.