In Depth

Five ways to cut the cost of your summer holiday

Going on holiday outside of term time can be an expensive business

The enormous mark-up placed on flights and hotels during school holidays hit the headlines again last week when father-of-one Jon Platt won his court battle to avoid a fine for taking his daughter out of school for a family holiday. Mr Platt argued that the holiday would have been prohibitively expensive if they had gone during the school holidays.

The average cost of a holiday soars by 35 per cent if you want to travel outside of term time, according to research by currency firm FairFX. "Parents are being held to ransom by travel operators when it comes to summer holidays," said Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO of FairFX.

"A week in the sun allows families to spend precious time together but when parents face paying double the original price, this experience comes under threat."

But if you can’t travel during term time then there are other ways you can cut the cost of your summer holiday.

1. Choose your destination wisely

If you haven’t got your heart set on a specific destination then research living costs at a variety of places to limit the spending money outlay while abroad. For example, research by the Post Office found that holidays to Bulgaria, the Algarve and Cyprus offer the best value this year, with a three course meal for two costing an average of £21.78, £17.23 and £21.33 respectively.

“The pound may be worth less in Europe than a year ago but our research suggests UK tourists who choose destinations carefully could find resort prices lower than expected,” says Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money.

2. Unpack your holiday

When you are shopping around for the best holiday deal, consider unpacking your trip. Sometimes it can be a lot cheaper to book your flights and hotel separately. This is especially true if a budget airline flies on the route you want to take. Check using websites such as lowcostholidays.com or travelsupermarket.com.

3. Don't get caught out offline

If you want to book a package and are doing so in store, make sure you check out what price the same holiday is being offered at on the company's website. Often the web offers are better but most companies will honour online prices if you point it out when you visit

4. Time your booking

The internet is a clever old beast and holiday firms make the most of that. Some travel agent websites will alter the prices of holidays throughout the day depending on how much traffic that particular holiday is receiving, so book your holiday at a quiet time and you could shave vital pounds off the price.

Some experts also say booking on a Tuesday is a good idea as that is the day many companies take a look at what is selling and adjust their prices accordingly.

Monitor the price of your holiday over a few days to see if it is fluctuating then pounce when you think the price is right.

5. Be smart when you pay

 

When all the research is done and you are ready to book, there are still ways to shave hundreds of pounds off the final cost. Firstly, compare the cost of paying with a debit card vs. a credit card. Debit is often cheaper, but don’t forget to factor in any cashback you might earn if you use your credit card.

Finally, check cashback websites such as Quidco or Topcashback to see if they are offering deals that you can use to claw back some of your costs.

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