Is it possible to find a cheap holiday that is still good value for money? One that offers a variety of activities, includes good quality accommodation and still manages to be a bargain. With rising air duty, failing travel companies and tough austerity measures finding a holiday that is both affordable and packed full of value is becoming increasingly difficult. However, there are still ways to find a bargain if you are willing to work for it.
When to book? This is tricky, should you book way in advance to make the most of early booking discounts, or risk leaving it to the last minute to bag a last minute bargain? The truth is both work, depending on the location and type of holiday you are after.
The main thing to avoid is booking between six and three months in advance; you are unlikely to find a good deal this way as availability is limited so prices are forced upwards.
If all you are after is a week by the beach then a last minute holiday is the way to go. You may not be able to pick from a wide array of destinations and you’ll probably have to stay in a resort type hotel that lacks character, but if you can hold out and refrain from booking until you find a last minute package within your chosen travel period then you are sure to find a superb sun, sand and sea holiday.
If, on the other hand you want to go on a cruise, an activity holiday or a tour package, booking in advance is much better. These types of holiday are more specific in terms of destination and travel period, so unless you want a lucky-dip style package, booking in advance is far better. If you can pay your deposit upfront, over a year in advance you can save up to 20% off the total package price, sometimes even more.
When to travel? Peak season for the northern hemisphere is July and August. Conversely, for the southern hemisphere, it is December, January and February. So if you can travel just outside of these busy periods you will save a packet. Typically, travelling in September is better than in June as holiday companies need to shift all available stock before the winter. However, to get the season started on a high, many travel ops offer great introductory early season offers.
In truth, there are no hard and fast rules. The reason you have to ‘work’ to find a bargain is because you need to keep on top of the market and its changes. Sign up for emails from your favourite travel companies. This way, you will be the first to know of any deals, discounts and last minute offers. A great place to buy cheap holidays is Thomas Cook. Commanding control of so much stock means they always have plenty of bargains on offer.