Travelling is one of life’s great pleasures, and there are many reasons why people do it. Sometimes you need a break and want to get away. You might be the spontaneous type and jump on a plane for a new adventure. Either way, if funds are tight, as long as you’re flexible and think outside the box, an overseas adventure needn’t dent your overdraft. Ian Crawford, brand manager for holidayhypermarket.co.uk, reveals insider tips that will save you £100s.
Be flexible on dates
My first piece of advice for those searching for a cheap holiday is flexible. Unless you’re tied to specific dates, keeping your options open can really help. It also means you can leave things until the last minute; book a last-minute deal a few days before departure, and you could end up going somewhere you’d never considered before, at a fraction of the advanced booking price. It’s not as scary as you might think, either. As long as you have your dates free, finding a holiday to fit shouldn’t be a problem.
Look for last-minute holidays
While it’s true that flight prices can go up the later you leave it, the price of package holidays can go down. As the departure dates draw closer, prices can drop, so you can sit it out and don’t mind where you go you could bag a bargain to sunny shores such as Cancun, Tenerife or even the Caribbean for a lot less than you might think. Not only could this save you money, but it also adds to the sense of adventure – you might end up somewhere you’d never considered before.
Search in incognito mode
This might sound a little strange, but with cookies enabled, websites can see when you have visited before and can even recognize particular pages that you have searched for, which can be used against you. Clearing your cache or searching in incognito mode will eliminate the chances of flight comparison websites bumping your prices because of recognized repeat interest.
Travel out of season
Traveling out of season can really save you money. Go in peak season to destinations such as Majorca or the Algarve, and you’ll pay for it. If you’re willing to take a chance on the weather, these destinations can offer a wealth of sightseeing and cultural pursuits throughout the year. If you want to visit Majorca and aren’t too bothered about high temperatures, spring and autumn are great times to visit, with Palma’s famous cathedral and numerous museums to enjoy.
Go for early (or late) flights
Travelers generally like convenient flight times – mid-morning or early afternoon. This makes them more popular, which means prices are higher. If you want to save money, go for early-morning or late-night flights. They’re a little more inconvenient, but you can save substantial amounts of money. The same is true of mid-week flights, so flexibility is key.
Although many people think of all-inclusive as a luxury holiday option, it can be a cost-effective way to go on holiday. The great thing about all-inclusive packages is that once you’ve paid, pretty much everything is included in the price – including locally produced alcoholic and soft drinks and entertainment. You can then just budget for day trips and major attractions in the region.
Late cruise deals
Booking a last-minute cruise can be a great way to get a cheap holiday. Ships don’t like sailing with empty cabins, so you might find some affordable late deals, especially if you go for an inside cabin. Meals are usually included in the upfront price, and you can save money by exploring independently, instead of booking excursions.
Sign-up for e-mail alerts
Most travel companies give you a chance to sign-up for e-mail alerts or newsletters. You’ll receive the best holiday deals and latest money-saving discounts by e-mail or text, enabling you to snap up some last-minute bargains. If you’re a family, keep your eyes peeled for free or reduced child places, too.
Try some haggling
You don’t need to be the most confident barterer in the world to ask if the price shown for a holiday is the best possible. The worst that can happen is that you’re told there’s no wiggle room on cost. But consider this: if there’s even a remote possibility of some extra money being saved, why wouldn’t you at least enquire? If you’re planning to travel out of season, you might be a little more successful; if there are spots to fill that would be costly to leave empty.
Go for allocation on arrival
You can save money if you avoid going to a ‘named’ hotel. Go for allocation on arrival or a ‘secret’ hotel, and you might be pleasantly surprised. Sometimes you’ll have the opportunity to specify a certain standard or star rating before booking so that you won’t be completely in the dark. He or she who dares wins when it comes to last-minute holiday deals!
Pack like a pro
We’ve all been there and packed everything bar the kitchen sink, only to find half the clothes you’ve carefully folded come home unworn. The last thing you want to do is end up paying for excess baggage. Go for a basic mix-and-match wardrobe, check the weather of your chosen destination, and try and use your carry-on case wisely.
Don’t get caught out
If you’ve booked a last-minute break, don’t forget the essentials. You’ll still need holiday insurance, and you don’t want to get stung with mobile-phone fees, either. You may be able to sort out a deal with your service provider before you jet off, but one way to get around data roaming charges is to buy a SIM card for a local operator. Shop around for currency, too, or you might end up paying over the odds.
Travel needn’t be expensive – there are lots of ways to save money and have a great holiday. Flexibility, a little research, and an adventurous spirit can open up numerous exciting and budget-friendly options!