Alexa, play 'Holiday' by Madonna
Sunshine Saturday – aka the first Saturday in January – is always one of the most popular days in the year to book a holiday. We’re back at work, the weather is rubbish, and all that’s getting us through is dreams of far away.
Though many Brits left the country in 2022, this will be the first full year since the Covid pandemic that holiday travel is secure to most destinations. We can finally choose where we’d really like to go in the world again, rather than be dictated by travel traffic lights.
However, this freedom comes just as the cost of living crisis really bites – meaning we are all looking to save as much money as we can and foreign travel may feel out of reach to many.
Do you want to book a break in this year, but aren’t sure how to get a good deal? TravelSupermarket has some tips and tricks to help you.
Travel outside peak season (if you can)
If you are willing and able to travel off season, you can really slash the price of a holiday. September, for example, is one of the cheaper months to travel, while still giving you a great chance of sunny weather.
For city breaks, consider September to November or January to March. Yes, it might be a little colder in some European cities, but with better prices and fewer crowds, the compromise is more than worth it. For example, you can get two nights in Rome for around £100pp if you travel in October.
To save money on a family holiday, look to the very last week of the school break. Prices also tend to be more reasonable in October half term or at Easter, than during the summer, but the weather may not be as consistent.
Higher demand during school holiday periods usually means higher prices, so it’s a good idea to book your holiday as early as possible. For example, there are currently Spain holidays for Easter 2023 going for around £200pp.
Take advantage of free kids’ places
Keep an eye out for free kids’ places when researching your family holiday. Just as it says on the tin, this means one child per two full-paying adults gets the exact same holiday as their adults – we’re talking about the same board and transfers, here, as well as flights and accommodation.
Many holiday operators still have places available for 2023, whether you’re restricted to travelling in the school holidays (say, the October half term) or have younger kids and can travel outside these dates.
Plan ahead for summer 2023 and you’ll have even more choice.
Go all-inclusive and lock in costs
While it’s not for everyone, an all-inclusive holiday allows you to lock in your food and drink costs by paying up front. It means you won’t have to budget for all the little things that can add up on holiday, like those spontaneous ice-cream stops or snacks for the little ones. Entertainment is generally included too – think kids’ clubs and live music. Pick a resort with a waterpark and you won’t have to factor in the cost of a day out.
There are still some good-value deals outside summer this year. For example, you can get seven nights at a four-star hotel in Antalya, Turkey for under £300pp in early October. Majorca, Rhodes, and Corfu are also good picks for a late summer break for less.
Look to fly midweek
Flying out and returning midweek is often cheaper than travelling at the weekend, and Tuesday is widely touted as the departure day with the best prices.
The best thing you can do is compare costs across a range of different dates – you might be surprised how much you can save flying one day versus another.
For example, depart on a Tuesday (October 4) for two nights in Amsterdam and you’ll get prices as low as £170pp. The same deal on Friday (October 7) jumps up to £200pp.
Consider different local airports
It’s also good to price up holiday options from different nearby regional airports in case there are savings to be had. For example, if you live in the northwest, you might want to look at Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds Bradford. If you’re in the Midlands, compare Birmingham and East Midlands.
For this approach, be sure to factor in any additional transport costs there may be in getting to a different airport.
Dodge luggage fees
Knowing your luggage allowances – and sticking to them – can keep your holiday budget in check. Each airline has their own restrictions (so remember to check) and going over your limit can be expensive. If you can, be ruthless with your packing and travel with hand luggage only to avoid the cost of adding a checked bag to your airfare.
Can’t travel light? If you know you’ll need a checked bag, consider the cost of adding one to your booking when you compare flights. Some airlines may include hold luggage in the cost of your ticket, and it could work out cheaper than adding a bag. Otherwise, add your bag at the time you book your flight – it’ll work out cheaper than adding one post-booking.
Don’t forget to account for any shopping you plan to do. Leave enough room in your bag or consider sharing an additional checked bag with a travel companion.
Don’t forget your travel insurance
Hopefully, you’ll never need to use your travel insurance but having a policy in place can be a good way of protecting your holiday budget. Policies can start from as little as £6.99 – a small price to pay for peace of mind. As always, compare your options to ensure you’re getting comprehensive cover. The cheapest policy may not always be best for your holiday.
For single-trip cover, buy your travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday to get the most for your money – with many policies, you’ll be covered if you need to cancel your holiday at any time up until your departure. If you have an annual policy, double check you’ll be covered for all parts of your holiday before you go.
Travelling to the EU? Remember to bring your Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) too. The GHIC entitles you to necessary medical treatment in the EU either for free or a reduced cost. It’s free to get on the NHS website.