Whether it’s to escape the stresses of everyday life, soak up a bit of vitamin D, or expand our horizons, taking a holiday is surely one of life’s greatest joys.
But while we dream of absorbing new cultures and exploring new terrain, the reality of booking the actual holiday tends to be a little less idyllic.
Sky-high prices and crowded transport links have the power to put anyone off booking a trip, or simply even looking into one.
But by following a few simple steps, you can book the low-price, low-stress holiday you deserve.
1. Don’t overlook package deals
The term ‘package holiday’ may cause some to shudder, thanks to its reputation for placing travellers in bleak, ugly hotels slap bang in the middle of a cultural void. But times have changed.
Now that most hotels, B&Bs, villas, and hostels are listed on travel sites, the internet has truly done its thing and allowed flight pairings to be found across the spectrum of accommodation options.
Booking.com, Expedia, KAYAK, and Secret Escapes are just some examples of travel sites that offer great package deals.
2. Early bird gets the worm
The minute you decide where you want to go, book that flight. Booking flights ahead of time is the most tried and true piece of advice there is when it comes to holidays. The further you book ahead, the better. But if it’s impossible to plan so far into the future, just book as soon as you can.
It really does pay to plan ahead.
3. Search for flights in a private browser
Just like when you browse for clothes, the clever cookies on your computer notice when you look for holiday deals.
When you start searching for flights or accommodation, travel companies can see this and start throwing out more travel adverts into your online searches or social media.
Once they know you’re looking to book a flight to a particular location on a specific day, chances are they’ll hike the price up once you return to actually lock in the purchase.
The key to overcoming this? Turn your browser to private ‘incognito’ or ‘InPrivate’ mode to avoid leaving behind a trail.
4. Book at the right time, fly at the right time
According to complex data research and analysis, there is apparently a ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to booking flights.
Sundays and Mondays are supposedly the best days to book the cheapest flights, and Fridays are the worst.
And when you’re sitting there on a Monday morning, scrolling through your private browser for holiday deals, try to book your flight for a Tuesday or Wednesday, because these are apparently the cheapest days to fly out on.
Want to go that extra mile? Book a night-time flight to see that price drop even further.
5. The magic number is 53
While there’s a perfect day for booking a holiday and a perfect day for flying, there is also a perfect number of days in advance in which to book, too.
Even though flight prices fluctuate far less than hotel and cruise prices, 53 days in advance is said to be the prime time to seal the deal on your holiday and click the ‘book’ button.
Anecdotal evidence from travellers suggests that booking flights in the early hours of the morning (think three or four o’clock) will drive down prices too, but if you know where you’re going, check Skyscanner’s best time to book tool for your chosen holiday destination to ensure you get the best deal.
6. Stay at the right places
For cheaper prices and a more authentic, homely feel to your stay, opt for small, local hotels or an Airbnb. Or, if you’re travelling in a group, staying in a villa is often not only more luxurious, but also much cheaper when the cost is shared between you.
Make sure to read reviews and confirm what is included in the price. If a deal seems too good to be true, look for any possible hidden costs. Paying for things such as wifi, breakfast, late checkout and parking can really drive up the cost. If these things aren’t included, adding them on early could secure you a better deal.
7. Consider their insurance
When you book flights or accommodation, you are often asked whether you want to add travel insurance. Don’t just automatically click ‘no’ – this is usually a pretty good deal and may well prove invaluable should anything untoward happen on your trip. At least look at what they’re offering and compare it against your other options.
How far in advance do you usually book flights? Do you have any other tips to share with our members?
– With PA
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