Save money on your summer holiday
As the long, cold, grey days of winter start to move behind us, it is no surprise that January is the month when most summer holidays are booked in the UK. Below we look at some money saving help for two kinds of holiday-goers, those who want, or need, to book early and those who can be more flexible and may try to seek out a last minute bargain.
Book Early: Families with school-age children, teachers or others with set holiday times.
You are restricted to holiday times but an advantage is that you will already know those dates and can book now to get exactly what you want.
• Look now. If you’ve decided you’re going to book a holiday, don’t delay as booking early could give you real advantages. For example, airlines release fares for booking 11 months in advance of the departure date, and the cheapest economy seats sell out first, then the next price in class, then the next, and so on until you are potentially left with the most expensive class of seat.
• Look for ‘free child places’ which can offer sizeable savings, but check the small print to see what’s included
• Look for 'Price Match Promises' where your holiday company will match or beat a price of a hotel stay or holiday if you find it cheaper within a certain timeframe after booking.
• Be as flexible as you can. We know it’s not easy but if you could, for example, travel on a Tuesday or a Wednesday you could save money as these are typically the cheapest days to fly.
• Visit a travel agent. This will enable you to explain exactly what you want and be given the best options that meet those needs. Travel agents can access the holiday and flight system and sift through the best available options in minutes and may even have ‘in store deals’ for you to think about.
Last-Minute: People with flexible holiday arrangements.
Make your flexibility work for you by shopping for late deals, avoiding peak periods and booking a holiday for an unusual length of time.
• Avoid the most popular travel periods if you can, such as school holidays as these times come with premiums. You may get a ‘last minute deal’ that is still more expensive than it would be if you’d booked outside of those periods
• Be adventurous: if there’s a last-minute deal that meets your criteria for a holiday, but it’s in a place that you’ve never thought about before, it may be your opportunity to go and explore somewhere new
• Book a holiday for an unusual length of time: most holidays last a standard set of time (for example, one week) because of the time people can take on holiday. If you can book for an unusual amount of time - for example 15 nights instead of 14, you could save money and get extra time on holiday
• Visit a travel agent. Explain how flexible you can be when it comes to dates, locations, times (flights at unsociable hours can be cheaper) your food (from fully inclusive to self-catering) and let them look for deals on your behalf.
Whichever kind of holiday maker you are, you will find the Government’s Travel Advice website a mine of information as it features the latest travel advice by country including safety and security, entry requirements and if there are any travel warnings.