Stretch your vacation budget even further with our helpful guide
Planning a vacation requires a lot of cunning to control spending. With that in mind, here’s our guide to making sure you don’t end up paying too much…
Be open minded
Flight search sites like Skyscanner or Google Flights show you the best destinations from your nearest airport. You never know what might catch your eye.
Buy plane tickets early
Get the cheapest fares by rushing off the mark. Airlines usually release tickets about a year before departure, but some airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet have shorter pre-sale periods.
Best day to travel
Airline fares are cheaper for flights to Europe on Tuesdays, according to travel comparison site travelsupermarket.com. Many business travelers prefer to fly in on Mondays and return on Fridays, so the cheapest weekend breaks are often Thursday through Tuesday.
across the Atlantic for less
Low-cost carriers such as Gull and Play have made airfare to the US more competitive
Fares for US flights are fairly competitive, especially to New York (from around £300 return), thanks to newer budget airlines such as Norse (flynorse.com) and Play (flyplay.com). There’s JetBlue (jetblue.com), BA (britishairways.com), and Virgin Atlantic (virginatlantic.com), too.
It is best to book Eurostar tickets as soon as they are available. Most of them are released 180 days before departure on eurostar.com.
Sterling is doing well year-on-year along with the Turkish lira (up 23 percent), the Egyptian pound (30 percent), the Swedish krona (4 percent), the Japanese yen (4 percent) and the Hungarian forint (3 percent). See changes at xe.com. And never buy foreign currency at the airport.
Go all out
With the pound fluctuating against some currencies, booking an all-inclusive holiday makes more sense than ever. Try tui.co.uk, thomascook.com and jet2holidays.com.
Get more financial advice
Each year, Post Office Travel Money releases a report on costs at overseas resorts. Marmaris in Turkey came last, followed by Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, Algarve in Portugal and Cape Town in South Africa.
Join a tour
Signing up for an escorted tour can cost 25 percent less than going DIY, as operators get discounts on accommodations, attractions, and guides. Check out the latest deals at specialist range newmarketholidays.co.uk, titantravel.co.uk and travel.saga.co.uk.
Try a travel agent
Premium travel agents can sometimes offer even cheaper deals
Travel agents rarely get a look these days. But see if a High Street agent such as barrheadtravel.co.uk, trailfinders.com, flightcentre.co.uk and haystravel.co.uk can do it cheaper. You may be surprised…
Best value months
November and January are the best for bargain hunters. “Great discounts are on offer,” says Brian Young, managing director of G Adventures (gadventures.com).
Go during the “shoulder months” and stay away from June through August. May and September are the best for sunshine and lower prices.
Book hotels directly
If you’re brave enough to wait until the last minute, many tour operators offer deals of up to 60 percent off the original cost — and 20 to 30 percent in the weeks leading up to departure.
Hotel websites often offer lower rates than general booking websites, so always check with the hotel. Compare with the likes of booking.com and hotels.com.
Stay on Sunday
If you’re after a couple of days in the UK, try staying on a Sunday night, when prices can be up to 50 percent off.
Sign up for offers
Membership-based free websites have popped up, offering flash sales on package holidays to Med, and hotel stays to fill out. See travelzoo.com, secretescapes.com, holidaypirates.com and voyage-prive.co.uk.
Last minute excursions
If you’re brave enough to wait until the last minute, many tour operators offer deals of up to 60 percent off the original cost—and 20 to 30 percent off in the weeks leading up to departure. TUI (tui.co.uk) is great for this.
Big city prices
Cities popular with business travel such as Milan, Frankfurt, Munich and Luxembourg City often have cheaper hotel rates on weekends. Many European cities also offer “City Cards”, with discounts on attractions and transportation, to be purchased in advance. In Lisbon there are 24-hour cards that cost from £17.45 (shop.visitlisboa.com).
HOLIDAY HOME DISCOUNTS
If you’re bringing a large group of friends or family, wait to book up to a month before you go. Discounts of 40 per cent on holiday homes in the UK are possible. Try quince.co.uk, vrbo.com or cottages.com.
Cheap European trains
Avoid the high-speed trains when on your Europe train adventure and opt for the cheaper regional services, especially on Wednesdays or Sundays. See fredholidays.co.uk, seat61.com, thetrainline.com and raileurope.com.
Save on your heating bill by hiding out in a sunny spot for a month or more. You can only stay in the EU for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period. Jet2holidays.com is offering 55 nights at Ourapraia Hotel Apartments in the Algarve from £1,612, with Stansted flights on February 10.
Find more advice online
Check out our budget city guides for short-term destinations with rooms under £100 a night at dailymail.co.uk/travel.
- If you have wise travel tips, let us know at [email protected]