Friday, 26 May 2017

How to save money when booking a holiday

We are lucky enough to travel a lot as a family, and one of the reasons that we are able to afford it is because my husband is very good at finding the best deals and ways of saving money when we come to book. So I thought that I'd share some tips for making your money go as far as it possibly can when you are booking a trip.

If you have pre-school children then the most obvious way to save money is to travel out of season. Before having children we always travelled at quiet times and never went away during the summer, then with small children we always avoided school holiday times. You can find some very reasonably priced package holidays at quieter times of the year, often in places like the Canary Islands where the weather is still very warm even during winter. We had a couple of lovely holidays to Lanzarote out of season, and UK breaks can also be very cheap outside peak times.

We are a bit more limited now the children are older as we have to work around school holidays, but there are some types of holiday where the prices don't increase too much, for example city breaks away from the beaches can remain consistently priced throughout the year.

Even better if you can travel somewhere that has school holidays at a different time to the UK. For example, Center Parcs in the UK is well known for increasing the cost of breaks massively during school holidays. But if you look at the cost of a visit to a Center Parcs on the continent, even once you've added in the extra cost of travel to get there, you can still make huge savings if you check your dates carefully. We've visited Center Parcs in Belgium a few times over the last few years, most recently Center Parcs De Vossemeren, and have enjoyed a very reasonably priced break during the school holiday, the half term holidays are best for this.

You need to keep a close eye on the special offers from various travel agencies. Many will have promotions if you book a long time in advance, for example kids stay for free. If you are booking a cruise, by booking early you can often receive free parking at the terminal or some on board credit. However there is also something to be said for waiting until the last minute, I'm not always a very spontaneous person, but if you are signed up to mailing lists from holiday companies there are quite often some excellent deals that come through if you have a bit of flexibility!

Family on the beach

It's always worth having an account with a cashback site for all sorts of purchases. We've been using Quidco for several years and have made a fair amount of money. For example, when booking with Expedia you can receive 12% cashback, as well as many other deals with hotel chains like Travelodge and airport parking.

If you are a regular supermarket shopper you can collect reward points, like the Tesco Clubcard scheme. We've always used Tesco Clubcard points to pay for travelling on the Eurotunnel which is a significant saving on the cost of the holiday, and they are also brilliant for days out from home or while you are away.

Finally, if you need to pay for the holiday upfront, particularly if you are booking last minute, once you've found the best deal and are ready to book another way to save money when booking is to consider taking out a cheap personal loan to cover the cost of the holiday.

Do you have any more money saving holiday ideas? I'd love to hear them!

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