8 tips for finding the best holiday dealsSave hundreds of pounds on your trip abroad

26 May 2014

plane flying off into the sunset

Many of us simply can't live without our holidays, but no-one wants to spend more than they should. 

With the bank holiday weekend coming to a close, thousands of consumers are now likely to turn their attention to finding cheap holiday deals for the summer. 

Here, we share eight top tips to make your money go further when booking your summer break. 

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1. Pick a great value destination 

If you want the best-value destinations this year, look at Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain and Turkey.

Your pounds will have more spending power there, according to the Post Office's annual holiday costs barometer, which measures the price of eight tourist items, including restaurant meals, drinks and sun cream. All eight items will set you back £35 in the Algarve, Portugal, compared with £81 in Sorrento, Italy.  

2. Fly on a Tuesday

Which? research has shown that mid-week departures have the lowest average fares. Tuesday was the cheapest day overall. Flying out of the UK at the weekend is more expensive, and Sunday is the most expensive day to fly home. 

3. Be flexible with your flights

Flight prices rocket during the school holidays, so those who are able to travel one month before or after their preferred departure date could potentially make big savings. 

For example, Skyscanner flight details show that swapping a July break to New York for one in June would save on average £148, while delaying your August Lisbon trip until September would save you on average £77. 

4. Search out hotel deals

A quick route to the lowest hotel prices can be through a comparison website such as Trivago. These sites have prices for hundreds of thousands of hotels across the world, and save you the trouble of trawling through lots of hotel booking websites.

Don't be afraid to telephone in search of a good deal in the UK either. We found that a call to a hotel can lead to savings on room rates and access to packages that are only available direct from the hotel.  

5. Get cashback on your holiday

It's always worth checking cashback websites to see if you can earn some money back on your holiday booking. 

When we looked at holidays to Florida, we found you could earn £189 in cashback when booking hotels, airport parking, flights, car hire and travel insurance via cashback websites TopCashback and Quidco. We saved a further £129 using the Amex Platinum cashback card. 

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6. Haggle with your travel agent

Booking your holiday online can save you money, but there are deals to be done on the high street too. Our research has found that asking high street travel agents for money off, something for free or a better deal on foreign currency worked in nine out of 10 visits. 

We secured a lower holiday price with 38 of the 46 high street travel agents we asked about holidays to Florida and Mallorca. The average price reduction was £191 for a week's holiday for a family of four.

Go further: Haggling for cheap holiday deals - our script explains what questions to ask your travel agent

7. Arrange your car hire in advance

Car hire price for peak seasons, such as Christmas, Easter and summer holidays, go up as the start date approaches, so it's best to book early. 

Conversely, if you're hiring in low season, prices tend to drop as the rental date approaches, meaning you can leave booking until the last minute. Mid-season prices are less predictable, so book when you're happy with the price.

8. Book your airport parking right away

When we compared the cheapest advanced and 'turn-up-and-pay' parking prices at five of the UK's busiest airports (Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Manchester and Stansted), the on-the-day prices averaged £101 for a week's parking, compared to £48 for those who paid in advance.

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