While Easter seems but a distant memory now and we’ve had a taste of summer; our thoughts soon turn to warmer climates and the possibility of a sun-kissed holiday. For those without children the prospect of a quick European getaway or a week in the sun is a reasonably painless affair, with their main mantra being, avoid half-terms at all costs! However, for those with children simply whispering the words “summer half-term” seems to make your holiday double in price.
FairFx put out a study this week which highlights the difference in prices between term-time and half-term holiday prices with there being an average 22% hike in prices for those looking to travel in the summer half-term. And if you are thinking of travelling to Majorca, think again, the price increases 73% compared to the same trip taken during term-time.
While we here at Cockle Finance may not be able to find you the perfect, cheap holiday (sorry guys!), we can at least give you our top tips on ways to cut costs and hunt out those illusive bargains in time for summer.
1. Think of Eurovision
Yes, we know, it’s like marmite. Love it or hate it, Eurovision can actually be a great way of discovering European destinations that you may not immediately associate with summer holidays yet are far cheaper than your average 7-night stay in Benidorm.
Take, for example, Dubrovnik; this beautiful costal city on Croatia’s coast overlooks the sparkling Adriatic Sea, and while it may not ring any bells if you’ve watched Game of Thrones then you will recognise it as King’s Landing from the TV show.
2. Search out a last-minute deal
For many people they book their holidays one or two years in advance and are happy in the knowledge that they have their perfect escape booked and ready. However, for those looking to get the same holiday but for a better price it is often worth looking at roughly when you would like to go away and then head to two or three of your local travel agents one or two weeks before your departure date and then ask what they have last-minute. If you are not too fussed on your destination, then this can be a great way of picking up a great bargain. Most tour operators chuck in a lot of added benefits (drinks, upgrade to half-board, etc.) with late packages to try and shift the rooms they have as it is better for them to sell a room at a discount than not at all.
While at the travel agents we would advise everyone to haggle! These holiday prices are not set in stone and can sometimes be moved done with a gentle bit of persuasion. It won’t come down by much however if every penny counts then you might as well. Even if its not a monetary amount you may be able to get a room upgrade or drinks package, etc. and as the old saying goes “if you don’t ask, you don’t get”!
4. Spending money
When you think of budgeting you may think of spending money for a holiday however working out what you want to ultimately spend on a holiday months in advance can save you money in the long run. By simply putting away what you can month-by-month even if it’s a small amount it can soon tot up to be a healthy holiday fund amount. You can even change a habit such as cutting out smoking/drinking and putting the money you would have spent to one side; so while you get a holiday at the end of it you are also changing your daily habits for the better.
5. Family and Friends
While the thought of owning a second home can seem like a dream for most of us over 800,000 people in the UK now do own a home abroad. While finding cheap flights can be one huge obstacle it may be worth chatting to friends and family to see if anyone they know or they themselves have a holiday home as this can cut your accommodation costs dramatically from thousands of pounds to a few hundred. Plus with a holiday house rental you are making your own meals for the majority of the day so it can cut costs of eating out, with maybe a treat meal chucked in for good measure.
6. Ditch the beach
Say summer holiday and most people think of sun, sea, buckets and spades however you can make quite drastic savings by simply choosing to take a holiday away from the popular beach resorts. Why not look at Scandinavia, Scotland or even Ireland as a holiday destination they are all beautiful parts of the world which can often come without the expensive price tag.
Better yet, why not think about a staycation? Growing up most people enjoyed camping trips, caravan holidays or stays with families all over the country. While it may not have the same ring as some far flung foreign land it’s a great way to control costs as there is no need to change money, plus travelling is easy by rail, coach or car. Plus it will probably be the type of trip that children will remember as there is far more fun to be had in a tent than in a hotel!
If you’ve read our previous blog posts you will know how much we love travel insurance! While booking your trip and saving money is one thing, it can often be the bottom of peoples list to look at or take out travel insurance. Remember it is always better to take out a policy and not use it than for an accident to happen and your cheap holidays suddenly ends with a £3000 bill.