We all want an epic and the best holiday deals, that goes without saying! Best of all, there’s no need to compromise on the travel experiences you love. This guide isn’t about compromise, it’s about still getting exactly what you like, without paying a hefty premium.
To be honest, I find it really interesting how some people associate the idea of deals and getting a bargain only with just shoestring budgets. I can tell you, even the millionaires of the world don’t say, ‘hey, you know what, I’m so happy I paid an extra £10,000 extra for this than I needed to’. It’s counter-intuitive, right? No one likes paying more than they have to. It just doesn’t make sense.
Also, with travel, some people seem to get the idea that holiday deals and more indulgent travel is mutually-exclusive. to put it simply, they’re not. It doesn’t matter if you’re splurging on the biggest holiday or hustling like a pro with a smaller budget. Some of the best holiday deals can always be found!
Take a look at some nifty ways you can nab yourself some of the best holiday deals, without compromising on the kind of travel you love most.
1.) Be flexible
Being flexible seems obvious but it often gets overlooked. When booking a holiday be as flexible as you can, especially with dates. If you’re booking time off work, try and secure a few extra days either side of a trip so you can then be flexible with your flights as possible – then cancel the additional days once you buy your flights.
Remember: Flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday is cheaper than flying on a Friday or Monday. Though it’s not always an exact gospel to follow, it’s a good rule of thumb to remember.
Travelling new routes is one of the best ways to get the best holiday deals but there’s a few more, too. The three ways to grab yourself the best holiday deals are, either when;
- An established airline launches new routes
- A new airline opens a new ‘hub’ at an airport (meaning a few new routes)
- Or if a holiday company like TUI or Thomas Cook start packages to new destinations
Remember: keep your eyes peeled for some of these new routes and destinations that are often discounted or on sale to generate interest and exposure on the route itself.
3.) Holiday off-season
Now, this isn’t just about travelling to NYC in Summer and hoping it’ll snow. Though, there are ways to holiday off-season whilst still getting the best weather you want and with some added perks.
For instance, we chose to travel to Santorini, Greece at the end of September. Prices are much more reasonable than the height of summer so your money will stretch further. The added bonus is also that there are far fewer visitors, especially in popular places.
Remember: Look for the best holiday deals at the start or end of the season in the destination you want to visit.
4.) Travel on early or late flights
Now, this is a double-edged sword in some ways. A 6 am takeoff always seems manageable when you’re booking but the reality can be quite a different experience when you have to do it.
Saying that though, these, more unsociable, take-off times are usually quite a bit cheaper than peak times. They’re also great if you choose to fly at 9 pm, meaning there’s no need to book an additional day off work.
Remember: Weigh up the benefits and savings when looking at flight times and work out what’s best for you.
5.) Travel close to main destinations
Now, this might sound counter-intuitive but you grab some of the best holiday deals by choosing a destination that’s close by some main-hubs. For instance, flying to Oakland City is only about 25-minute drive from the centre of San Francisco and the flights tend to be much cheaper.
The same goes for cities like London. From 2018, Emirates Airline will be flying from Stansted in London and although prices haven’t been announced, it’s likely they will be cheaper than travelling from Heathrow.
Remember: Make sure to check transfer costs between the airport and your final destination too.
6.) Travel to out-of-favour places
Just like clothes, destinations seem to go in and out of fashion. That’s not to say it’s right but it happens. For instance, some places that were popular in the 1990’s have lost favour with travellers today, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad place to go.
To grab some of the best holiday deals, think about travelling to places that have lots of hotel and flight capacity. Maybe, they were once popular holiday spots that have been somewhat forgotten.
Remember: By doing this, you’ll be able to take advantage of the best deals as hotels and flights always want to make as much money as possible.
7.) Look for ‘soft-openings’
This is one of the best ways to get a cheaper hotel without compromising on the type of holiday you want. Usually, with some of the larger hotels, they will offer a discounted soft-opening rate. These rates are usually significantly cheaper than the regular rate and it’s a way for a new hotel to identify any snagging issues before an official launch.
Remember: It’s a perfect way to make your budget stretch and experience a new hotel.
8.) Exploit the package holiday business model
Now, what I mean by a package is the hotel and flight included in one package. Companies like TUI, Virgin Holidays and Thomas Cook all do this.
When these companies open new destinations to book, they usually commit to ‘buying’ a quota of rooms from various hotels. This means they have to get them filled – one way or another. The good thing for us travellers is that if they don’t fill up as fast as the companies would like, the prices often get slashed sometimes to very low rates. For the companies, it’s all about limiting financial loss.
Remember: Look for their new destination offerings and be patient to see what seems to be going on sale.
9.) Skip add-ons
Most airlines, hotels and holiday companies all focus on add-ons when you buy a holiday. Whether that’s priority boarding, transfers, sea-view rooms, or upgrades – there will always be something extra you can buy.
By skipping lots of these add-ons, you can actually find some of the best holiday deals without any of the fluff you might not want.
Remember: Holiday brands want you to part with as much money as possible. Think about what you really want and if it’s something you really need.
10.) Use loyalty schemes
Now, I can’t say I’m a massive advocate of loyalty cards (except for ‘free’ upgrades on flights). That being said, there are a number of cards that will offer you preferential offers and points accumulation to spend on holidays.
I use the Amex Platinum Card which you can collect points on and spend on travel vouchers. This way, I’m spending what I’d normally do but getting the added benefit of a discounted holiday.
Remember: Shop around for the best card for what perks you like.