Thoughts are starting to turn to summer and that well-deserved holiday. With each passing year more and more of us are leaving the UK and taking our main holiday abroad. This year only 30% of Brits are expected to spend their summer holiday in the UK. Some of the most popular foreign destinations include; Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and the USA.
Whether you are planning to stay in the UK or go further afield this summer. In this week’s post we have some helpful hints and tips that could save you hundreds of pounds when you book your trip.
Set a Budget
Whether you are booking a package deal or you’re arranging everything yourself it is crucial to make a budget. This will prevent costs becoming too high and avoid any unexpected expenses. For this reason as well as transport and accommodation costs it’s also important to budget for the following, even if you are planning to go all inclusive:
-Food and Drinks
-Treats and Gifts
-Clothes and toiletries (Don’t forget the sun cream if you’re going somewhere hot!!)
Knowing or accurately estimating these costs doesn’t just keep your trip on budget. It also provides you with the amount you need to save between now and your holiday.
Where to go to?
Choosing where to go can be difficult, but we have three helpful tips for you:
The Country Next Door
Sometimes the place you really want to visit is just that little bit too expensive. Rather than hoping that your lottery numbers come up, try to find a similar country or destination that costs less. For example if you find Croatia too expensive, try Montenegro. Greece or Bulgaria. You may also be able to find cheaper destinations within the country you want to visit, just a little further down the coast.
As everyone else heads to the beach the cities are left quiet. Because large cities often have many hotels, they will have many rooms to spare. This means low prices!! You will also find the major attractions of the city a little less busy than during bank holidays and half terms.
Get off the Beaten Track
This might sound a bit cliché, but going to places that don’t rely on tourism as their main source of income can save you a lot of money. If you are planning a long haul trip this summer destinations like Costa Rica or coastal Brazil could be much cheaper than you expect. Closer to home Eastern Europe would be a great choice.
How to find the best deal
“The Later the Better”
If you weren’t able to book your holiday super early this year don’t worry. As you can often find much better deals if you hang on till the last minute. What do we mean by last minute? The common misconception is that such deals can only be found in the final days before the departure date. However the truth is that travel agents are slashing prices, desperately trying to fill empty rooms from up to 10 weeks before. So if you are planning to take your family away during the summer holidays, you will start seeing some great deals from the middle of May.
When to Go Away
We know that taking the kids away during the summer holidays can be expensive. It can be even more frustrating when you see some of the great deals that are on offer when they need to be at school. At all costs avoid the first two weeks of the summer holidays, as these are the busiest and most expensive. There is some argument about whether the middle or the ends of the summer holidays are cheaper. However one word of advice we can give you is to not travel during the weekends. Choosing a midweek to midweek holiday can save you a lot of money.
Now that you have your budget, when you want to travel and the perfect holiday picked out. Now is the time to haggle!! As different travel agents both on the high street and online will be trying to sell the same holiday, this gives you room for negotiation.
Do as much research as you can on the destination, tour operator and prices as you can, before contacting the travel agents. Contact the cheapest agent first to get a quote (note the price you found online may have gone up or extra fees may be added). Once you have the quote start contacting other agents to see if they can beat it. When you have the cheapest price, get in touch with the actual tour operator and ask if they can beat the price.
Martin Lewis from moneysavingexpert.com recommends staying polite and charming throughout and to always lower prices per person, to achieve the biggest discounts.
Wherever you and your family are planning to go this summer the first and most important thing you need to do is set a budget. This ensures that your trip is affordable and that you won’t have to worry about money when you get home.
As all the early bird deals for this year have long gone, the later you book your holiday the cheaper it will be. Other things that can make your trip cheaper even cheaper are booking a trip from midweek to midweek, getting off the beaten track or going on a city break.
However the one trick that will save you the most, potentially hundreds of pounds, is doing thorough research on your chosen destination, tour operators and travel agents. Having all this information will enable you to get the best price possible and ensure a great holiday that won’t break the bank.
Closer to the summer we will provide you with some hints and tips on how to save money while your away.