With two bank holidays and the summer break just around the corner, many of us are looking for a cheap getaway. But the lure of a last minute deal can be a little misleading and in fact it’s actually best to book ahead.
“The optimum time to book is 56 days before departure,” says Iona Wark, senior holiday product manager at loveholidays. “Flight prices aren’t as volatile as hotel and cruise prices, but they do tend to increase as they get closer to departure.”
And the secret to bagging a cheap deal is being flexible on dates and destinations. This is especially true of long-haul holidays as the prices are often more competitive, with the big tour operators offering deals on their own website. Alternatively, try a comparison website like Sky Scanner to find the best flight deals. It’s also worth checking out travel apps like Cheaper Than and TripAdvisor to see what the latest bargains are.
Another great way to score a cheap holiday is to book an all inclusive break. This way you can enjoy meals, snacks and drinks included in the price, resulting in a much cheaper overall package. Popular all-inclusive destinations include Greece, Turkey and Croatia.
However, before booking a cheap all-inclusive holiday, check how much it would cost to fly and stay separately. Then if you are a bolder type, you could play companies off against each other by finding the same holiday on offer from different companies and calling them to ask them to match or beat the cheapest price. Obviously this isn’t for the faint-hearted and can be a bit time consuming but it can be worth trying to save even more money on your holiday.
It’s also worth signing up to travel companies’ newsletters – some will automatically email you their latest discounts. This could mean a two-night trip to Rome for PS70pp or a week in Crete for less than £1,000.
Finally, don’t forget to use sites such as Icelolly which lets you search without specifying a destination – it’s easy to assume that most of the deals will be to well-known destinations but it can give you a great idea of what is available at a cheaper price.
It’s also worth taking advantage of the price drop promise on holiday bookings, which is offered by some tour operators such as Travel Republic and First Choice. It means if you find your holiday is cheaper on another site between the time you book it and the date that you fly, they will refund you. Of course, it’s always important to check the terms and conditions carefully, as some tour operators will only offer a full refund if they have to re-book your accommodation. Other operators will only refund you for flights that are cancelled due to bad weather. For this reason, it’s worth signing up to the airline’s frequent flyer programme before you book any holidays. You can then enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll be covered if something goes wrong. book cheap holiday online