Simple Steps To A Bargain Summer HolidayPosted on: 17 June 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves
The holiday season is already upon us and more than 25 million of us are planning a trip abroad in 2009. Before you stock up on suntan lotion, dig out the bikini or trunks, and pack your bags, find out how you can bag a bargain summer holiday.
According to research by Tesco Travel Money, despite cutting back on the cost of holidays almost a third of Brits are planning to take two or more overseas breaks.
But it said a third of British holiday makers will be looking to spend less on their summer getaway compared with last year.
Many people will have to tighten their purse strings this year but that doesn't mean they have to miss out on a holiday altogether.
Across the UK, the research reveals that the biggest holiday hunting region is the Midlands. Bargain hunters from that region are looking to spend an average of £348 per person on a summer break.
This is £56 less per person per week than the UK average and a whopping £147 less than holiday big-spenders in London.
So to give bargain hunting travellers a helping hand, here are five top tips on how to get a bargain holiday.
1) Time It Right
If you are looking to get the cheapest deal then you should either book very early, or as late as possible. According to travel agent Trainfinders, the best time to book a holiday is 11 months before you're due to travel, when there are plenty of cheap rooms and seats still available.
But if you can be more flexible with dates, resorts and hotels, there aregreat deals if you leave it until later – usually from eight weeks before you go – and see what is around at the time to suit your budget.
2) Package Vs D.I.Y.
When you are booking a holiday the first thing to decide is whether a package holiday is best for you. There are plenty of package holiday deals around, but these are usually to popular, tourist areas, so if you are looking for somewhere a little bit different then it may be best to construct your holiday yourself.
A package holiday will include tour operator flights, connections and accommodation and they are also ATOL protected. This means, if the company fails you will be either get a refund, or if you're already away you will be able to complete the trip.
It is always worth looking to see if it is cheaper to book the hotel and flights yourself, especially if you're going on a short-stay city break or multi-destination trip. However, it is generally cheaper to book a package deal.
3) Cut Back
There are many little extras that holiday's include that we could cut back on. From cutting back on food and drink costs (some all inclusive packages will sometimes work out cheaper), to spending less on gifts and duty free while you are away, there are many ways that you can cut the frills out of your holiday to save money.
For many people this might mean flying with a budget airline, or going without the in-flight meal. Travelling at unsociable hours is sometimes a cheaper option – you should look into flights and ferry travel which is late at night or very early in the morning.
4) Use Review Websites
There are plenty of websites that give travellers the chance to give honest reviews about the places they've visited. This is especially good if you are booking your flights and accommodation separately. You can use review websites to ensure you are getting good value for money rather then being ripped off.
Trip Advisor (www.tripadvisor.co.uk) is a great resource for holiday reviews and lets you search by the accommodation by name.
5) Research & Sign Up
Before you think about booking your holiday you should research all the latest deals and special offers. Lots of tour operators and travel websites are offering hefty discounts.
We've put a list of the top websites to check out for the latest deals. While you are there you should sign up for their newsletters (if they've got one), then you will all the latest offers directly to your inbox.
Teletext holidays - Cheap holidays, Last minute deals, Ski, City breaks, & Cruises. All ATOL protected and remember to sign up for their newsletter.
Travel Supermarket - Compare cheap flights, hotel prices, holiday car hire and package holidays.
Travel Zoo - Excellent top 20 deals in their weekly newsletter. You can search for package or DIY holidays.
Thomson Holidays - This tour operator has a page specifically dedicated to last minute deals.
bmibaby - Only pay the taxes and charges on selected bmibaby flights. The offer is available on selected routes only and for travel between 15th June 2009 and 17th October 2009 and ends midnight Thursday 4th June
Virgin Holidays – Virgin has slashed 10% off many of its holidays and flights.
Late rooms – Specialist discount hotel deals website.
Eurostar - The online eurostar availability calendar is useful for checking when the cheap tickets are available.
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