How do you plan to spend your summer? Perhaps you see yourself sipping Sangria on a balmy Spanish beach, or maybe it’s finally time for that all-inclusive cruise across the Mediterranean.
Whatever your preference, it can be difficult to find reasonably-priced holidays during the peak season. A time when airfares and hotel rates are sky-high. But it’s not impossible - you just need to know where to look.
Here we’ve compiled some of the best ways to find summer travel deals.
Date, destination, duration
Before you check the exchange rates or splash out on a new swimsuit, you need to think about what you really need – and not just what you want - from a great value summer holiday.
To keep your requirements in check, we recommend following the three Ds: date, destination and duration.
When hunting for summer travel deals, the right date could save you hundreds of pounds. To snare the biggest discounts, you will want to focus on the quiet times of the year, when travel operators are scrambling to fill hotel rooms.
For those travelling without children, the best month to get a good deal is June. This is because it is just before the school holidays, so prices drop. You’ll also find lots of offers on package holidays towards the end of August and early September, as this is when children usually start back at school.
If you are planning a trip with the grandchildren, however, it is worth booking during the middle weeks of the school holidays (usually the early weeks of August). Airfares are often cheaper during this time because the allure of sun, sea and sand peaks in popularity at the beginning and end of the season.
Likewise, weekend departures are more desirable than mid-week options. As a result, they’re often costlier. To keep those purse-strings tight, try booking a Tuesday or Wednesday departure.
During the peak summer months, traditional ‘tourist’ destinations are in high demand. This means you could be forced to turn your attention to other countries to find a bargain.
Hotels in the Caribbean and Mexico, for instance, usually offer discounted accommodation between May-November, as this is their off-peak season. You will also find great deals from up-and-coming holiday hotspots, like Bulgaria and Jordan. Prices here are likely to be significantly cheaper than more obvious holiday choices.
Similarly, city breaks are also often overlooked in favour of sunny beach holidays. As such, you could enjoy a long weekend shopping in New York or several days of in Paris for the snip of the price.
While we know that being flexible with dates and destinations can bag you a good deal, the opposite is true when it comes to the length of your stay.
Typically, travel operators offer a handful of “off the peg” duration options; these are usually split into three tiers of seven, 10 or 14 days. If you book within these tiers, you are likely to find a cheaper deal as hoteliers often require customers to check-in and check-out on specific days. If you do choose to book six or 11 days away, for instance, you will likely be charged for each individual day, which could cause prices to ramp up.
Thanks to fantastic last-minute deals on online travel sites, you can now secure a cut-price summer holiday a mere few weeks before you’re due to jet off.
This is especially true if you are booking a package holiday. That is because the tour operators will have already chartered their planes and reserved hotel rooms, so they will be eager to fill every seat before departure day.
To make sure you don’t miss the best of these deals, sign up to email newsletters from all the big travel operators. This way, you will be first to know when the late summer bargains roll in.
Early bird discounts
Booking last-minute is not your only ticket to a cheap getaway. In fact, if you have specific dates and destinations in mind, you will need to book months in advance to secure your stay.
For instance, if you plan to go away with grandchildren and family, you should book your space no later than the end of February. At this time of year, tour operators know they are due to have an influx of customers, so they book plenty of seats in preparation. However, as they can’t accurately guarantee demand, they offer early discounts as insurance against potential empty seats. It’s during this time that free child places, early booking discounts and low deposits abound.
To give yourself the best chance of finding a fantastic summer deal, scan travel comparison websites for holiday discounts. TravelSupermarket and TravelZoo are among the most popular, but there are lots to choose from.
To find out how equity release could help turn your dream holiday into a reality, please contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 802 1051, or email [email protected], for a free consultation.