How to beat the falling pound: 10 simple ways to save money on your holiday.
If you haven't booked yet:
Negotiation is the lifeblood of the travel industry. Its products are time-sensitive: a room left empty one night or an airline seat that isn’t filled can’t be resold the next day. So, particularly if you are booking at the last minute, bargain - especially when dealing with tour operators, travel agents and hotels.
2. Pick your times
If you are booking your travel independently, rather than as a pre-packaged holiday, make sure you get an overview using a website such as Skyscanner.net , which shows all the fares available on or around your chosen dates. To illustrate just how much fares can vary, I did a quick search for flights from London to Malaga, flying from August 24-31. The cheapest direct return was £149; the dearest, £589. Be sure to check what is included in the fare quoted (see below).
Save: up to 300 per cent on flights
3. Consider an indirect flight
Hanging around an airport departure hall when you could be on the beach might sound ridiculous but if you're really pinching the pennies, it's something to consider. A flight to Malaga on the same dates listed above can be found for more than £50 less (£96), if you're willing to spend a couple of hours in Copenhagen on the way home.
Save: up to 50 per cent on flights
4. Pick your dates
If you have to travel in the school summer holidays, go for the latest possible dates. The last week in August and the first in September are normally significantly cheaper than the rest of the holiday period.
Save: 10-15 per cent over peak-season prices
5. Travel during October half term
The alternative to taking a family summer holiday is to travel in October instead. It’s a tricky time of year for weather in the Mediterranean - think about the Canaries, Morocco, or (if you can afford the flights) Florida instead - and book now to be sure of the lowest fares.
Save: 25-40 per cent over peak summer prices
6. Use price comparison websites – with care
Price comparison websites seemingly offer nothing but benefits to consumers looking for the best rates on car hire, travel insurance and package holidays. They can certainly save you money. But comparisons can be distorted by companies striving to offer the cheapest headline prices by stripping away as many extras (such as levels of insurance cover) as possible, just as the no-frills airlines do. The sites are getting better at reflecting pricing complexities (Skyscanner.net in particular), but be very wary of buying on price alone.
7. Check IT fares
IT stands for “inclusive tour”, the arrangement by which long-haul flights are sold as a package in combination with hotel accommodation or a hire car. Depending when and where you book, it can be cheaper to book this whole package, including the hotel, than buying the flight alone.
9. Weigh and measure your luggage
Whether you are travelling with hand baggage only or checking bags into the hold, be absolutely sure that they are below the size and weight restrictions imposed by the airline before you leave for the airport. Excess charges are swingeing.
10. Monitor the internet
Many travel companies, including airlines, hotel chains and car-hire brokers, circulate special offers and price reductions by email, for which you have to sign up. No-frills airlines and railway companies announce the opening of booking periods in the same way.
If you can commit yourself a long time in advance you will usually get the best fares, especially for peak periods. It may be annoying to get emails you don’t want, but, if you act quickly when an offer arrives, you can make significant savings - British Airways’ regular rounds of “world offers” are particularly worth following on Skyscanner.net .