Everyone wants a holiday after Christmas is over, but given the massive cost usually associated with the festive season, it can be hard to justify a break – even if the deals are coming thick and fast. So what can you do to ensure that you’re able to make the most of a trip at the start of 2016? Here are a few tips to get you started when you’re in the initial booking stages, which could save you money along the way!
If you’re flying, don’t book as soon as flights are released
This one kind of goes against common sense, but it’s true. Flights tend to be released between nine and 12 months before they depart the terminal, and while you’d expect them to be low-priced once they’re made available, the opposite is often true. You see, companies expect people to be lying in wait for them to become available to ensure they can book the dates they want. As such, they tend to keep the prices at their usual tariff.
However, if you wait a couple of months, you could find flight deals through the likes of Skyscanner – which aggregates data from countless other search tools – for 25% or more less. It pays to wait and, if the worst comes to the worst, there are plenty of last-minute flight deals you could take advantage of instead.
Keep a look out for discount codes – and newsletters
Sometimes, it only takes a cursory search of “<website> voucher codes” to unearth a deal that could shave a few percent off a booking. Searching early is usually best, as it could inform your decision on where to head off to (for example, deals may be better for one country than another).
And while most people don’t like spamming their inbox, it’s much easier to get the deals you want by signing up to a newsletter or two. For example, Booking.com and Hotels.com send out codes and “secret deals” regularly. Keep yourself in the loop.
Remember site offers
Speaking of Hotels.com – but not limiting this to that website – some dealers offer incentives. For every ten hotel nights booked with Hotels.com (and if you book two rooms for one night, it counts for two nights), the website gives the member one “free” night at an eligible location – effectively the average cost of the ten nights as a discount. Loyalty, as usual, is worth it.
Spread the cost – reserve now, pay later
While reserving a hotel room usually costs a little more than paying for it there and then outright, it’s usually the best way to postpone the cost until it’s more affordable, especially if the difference is only £10 or £15. Furthermore, reserving means you can cancel it if another deal is even better closer to the time – the best of both worlds!
Go to the source – the deal may be much better
Finally, but just as important a point as any other, it’s important to go to the “source” of the deal before you confirm it elsewhere. While aggregators like the aforementioned Skyscanner or Hotels.com may make the job easier, it’s worth checking the provider of the deal (e.g. British Airways or Holiday Inn) to see if it’s cheaper on their own sites. And if it’s the same, they may be running a promotion alongside it, such as a free breakfast. Don’t be afraid to spend another five minutes chasing those deals!