At this time of year, we find ourselves daydreaming of a fabulous, well-deserved holiday. With the easter break on the horizon, many of us will be hoping to fit in a weekend away or a family staycation. However, as always, it all depends on the budget. Unless we win the lottery in the mean-time, of course! Being ‘in the know’ can of course save you money when it comes to planning a holiday, with tons of handy tips and tricks out there to get the best value.
Here are some of the best tips and tricks for when you’re booking your next trip.
While the Internet has enabled us to book all the components of a holiday ourselves, sometimes it can work out cheaper to consult a travel agent. These agents are often given special deals and packages so it’s definitely worth checking prices once you have a destination in mind.
If you’re planning to fly, sites like Skyscanner and Momondo are invaluable as they’ll show you the prices across all the different airlines and help you find the cheapest flight. Trivago, Hotels.com and Booking.com are also great for finding the perfect hotel for your budget.
Look At All Your Options
It may be tempting to go for the well-known sun resort, city or hotel but hidden gems can be worth a try! Opting for lesser-known destinations often means saving a lot of money and they tend to be less busy too. It’s a win-win situation!
Similarly, don’t assume that a costly hotel is your only option when it comes to accommodation. Airbnb is a fantastic resource for renting either a room or an entire apartment/house, while camp and caravan sites are another (much less expensive!) option!
Be Smart When Booking Flights
Insiders advise deleting your browser history when repeatedly checking the price of a flight, as the airline’s website can detect if you’re visiting regularly and adjust prices accordingly. Travelling midweek is usually a cheaper option, with The Guardian naming Tuesday as the least expensive day to fly and Friday the most expensive.
They also recommend booking in the morning to nab cheaper seats, while flights between 6pm and midnight are generally more affordable than those earlier in the day.
A debate has long raged over whether it’s best to book flights in advance or closer to your date of departure. According to the experts at CheapFlights.co.uk, 50 days in advance is the sweet spot.
Watch Your Weight
Baggage charges can turn even the most affordable trip into a pain in the wallet so it pays to be smart with your packing. On arrival at the airport, go to an unmanned check-in desk and you’ll be able to weigh your bag for free – giving you time to remove a few items if you need to squeeze under the limit. We always recommend bringing a larger suitcase than you need as it will help you to avoid extra bags on your return. There are some really cute, lightweight options here!
Finally, if you’re just heading for a weekend, take the time to decant your liquids into bottles and you might avoid the need to check in any luggage at all!
Whether it’s family attractions or trains you’re looking for, there are often sizeable discounts available for savvy travellers who book in advance. Some companies also offer a discount for booking online so it’s definitely worth the effort. If you’re travelling from a major station, don’t automatically opt for the express train as the cheaper local services often operate on the same route and are just as quick!
Travel insurance is something that a lot of holidaymakers overlook but it’s so reassuring if you’re travelling with the family. Forget booking it with your flight though, an annual package from companies like Multitrip.com is much more reasonable and will cover you for everything from missed flights to unexpected accidents. Always read the small print!
Lastly, buying breakfast and snacks while travelling is an expensive business so say goodbye to airport prices by getting up early and packing some fruit and nuts to nibble on.