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Top tips for booking a cheaper holiday

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Written by: YourMoney.com
04/01/2016
January is the busiest time of year for holiday bookings. We reveal some of the industry's best tips and tricks to help save you money on your next getaway.

Planning a trip abroad can be a stressful, not to mention expensive, venture.

We have gathered together some of the industry’s best tips and tricks that could shave a few pounds off the cost.


The booking process

Search the web

For most Brits on a budget, getting the best deal on flights and hotels is the make or break of a decent holiday, so most are willing to put in the hours and look around for the best deals.

One of the many joys of the internet is the ability to compare the prices of all the operators in one fell swoop, without having to leave the sofa. Not only does this save time, but the best deals are often found online as the middle-salesman is cut out.

There are several comprehensive and reliable search engines that will find the best deal for your budget, or even highlight the cheapest countries to visit at a specific time. It is definitely worth a look if you are not set on one region – kayak.co.uk and skyscanner.net are two popular sites for flights.

Go direct to the airline

Going directly to regional airlines can also save money. They are often not included on search engines so you could be missing out on good deals that locals enjoy. Most guide books will have a list of the local and regional airlines.

Haggle

Haggle, and then haggle some more. Remember, at the end of the day, the travel agent selling you the holiday is in the business of selling. They want to close the deal. Don’t just take the final price they quote you. You’ll be surprised at the kinds of savings you can make if you haggle down the price.

Holidays are one of the first things people cut out when they are struggling financially, and operators have been hit hard in recent times – they would rather you filled up their seats at a 30% discount then have empty flights. Same goes for hotels, even the posh ones.


The best time to book

It’s the age old question people have been trying to answer for years: when’s the best time to book my holiday? Search engine KAYAK analysed flight price trends to discover when is the best time to book, depending on your destination. The site says it is information like this which ensures its customers are making the most informed decisions and getting the best deals.

When to Book from Departure Destination Savings in Percentage
5-6 weeks Europe 8.60%
9 weeks North America 1.60%
4-5 weeks Asia 2%
12 weeks South America 2.30%
8-10 weeks North Africa 6.50%
4-5 weeks Central and South Africa 3.70%


Other things to look out for

• Some travel providers offer ‘price match’ services so make sure you find the best deal you can online and see if you can get it beaten or matched.

• When it comes to booking flights the cost of seats increases as the plane fills up, so when you see a deal on the flight, try and book it then and there. The better the deal, the quicker you need to move.

• Check whether there are any events happening in your destination around the time you’re hoping to travel, as this can often affect the prices of hotel rooms. If there’s a sporting event or public holiday happening at your destination during the dates that you want to travel demand for hotels can be higher so rooms can be more expensive. You can often save a fortune by shifting the date you travel by a few days to avoid the busier periods.

• Most people look for discounts on their flights and hotels, but forget extra costs such as car hire and travel insurance. These costs all add up and a quick search online can save you money.

• If you have a reward credit card, most have some type of scheme set up with an airline that you can use to save even more. Getting cashback is also a good way to shave money off as some offer as much as 10% cashback.


Package deals

Booking a package holiday can get rid of all the hassle of the planning for a DIY holiday and will also have the added insurance of being backed by the ABTA, the travel association, and ATOL – which all British operators are required to hold. This ensures that your money is protected even if the company goes bust before you head abroad, or if you are already out in the sun, that you can finish off your holiday with minimum disruption.

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