According to research carried out by travel site Expedia, the average UK family takes two holidays a year, each of which lasts around nine days and costs approximately £2,400. Whichever way you look at it, this is a lot of money, especially when you consider that the average salary in the UK is only £29,588. There are ways, however, to keep these costs down.
1. Book on a Sunday
The price of flights and hotels aren’t fixed. They can vary widely depending on the day of the week you choose to book on. Flights booked on a Sunday, for example, can be up to 30% cheaper than on a Friday, which is when you are more likely to find business travellers making bookings, which leads to airlines increasing their prices.
While Sunday is generally the best day to book most flights and hotels, those looking to travel long-haul can find the best deals on a Tuesday afternoon.
2. Choose your travel day based on your destination
Picking the right day to travel can significantly reduce the cost of your holiday. Wednesday, for example, is the best day to go to the States, while Thursday’s are cheaper if you want to travel to Europe, South America or the Caribbean.
Your return date can have an impact on cost too, and these don’t necessarily match the date you travelled out on. It is much cheaper to travel back from Europe on a Sunday, for example, and the United States or Canada on a Tuesday.
3. Avoid peak travel times
While this isn’t an option for parents of school-age children (unless they are willing to pay the fines for taking themselves out of school during term time), everyone else can make significant savings by booking out of season.
If you enjoy time in the sun, you don’t have to miss out on this if you book out of season. In Florida, for example, you’ll still find average temperatures of 24oC (potentially rising to 29 oC) during May and October, both of which fall in the off-season.
4. Book Early or Book Late
Depending on where you’re travelling too, you will find the best deals by either booking early or booking late and whether you are just booking a flight or hotel or a holiday that combines both. Holidays to Europe, for example, tend to be cheaper the further in advance you book them, as do hotels.
For flights, however, you might be better of waiting on last-minute deals as airlines look to sell off remaining seats. Your decision on when to book will depend in part on how important your destination is to you; if you don’t mind being flexible last-minute could offer some great possibilities.
Booking early generally means booking at least nine months in advance, especially if you’re planning on travelling during the school holidays and want to take advantage of deals where children travel for free. Booking late means booking with as few as two weeks to go; waiting this long won’t be for everyone, especially those who like to know where they are going and when.
5. Book online
When it comes to booking your holiday, despite their having high-street branches in most major towns and cities, the majority of travel agents want you to book online, offering discounts of up to 10% if you do. So, even if you visit to pick up travel brochures, you are better off booking once you get home.
You can get some great last-minute deals by booking online. Sign-up for newsletters and alerts from travel sites and travel agencies to make sure you don’t miss out.
6. Check for Charges
Once you start looking for flights, hotels or holidays, many will show you a base price, one that goes up depending on the options you choose. This might include checking suitcases in for your flight, selecting your seats, or opting for a transfer from the airport to your hotel. Each of these has a cost which can quickly add up, making your holiday much more expensive than it initially seemed. Check for fees before making payment.
Not all fees are included in the price of your holiday so make sure to check these too. For example, with package holidays some hotels charge local fees which are payable when you check-out. This will be listed when you book your holiday but can add up so check what they are before you make a final decision.