Tips on finding that holiday deal

Nilan Peiris

beach 300x225 Tips on finding that holiday deal

(Getty Images)

When it comes to finding a holiday deal, it’s more confusing than ever says Nilan Peiris.

Today consumers are pummeled with price comparison websites, travel guides, brochures – even high street agents  - all giving conflicting advice and options on the topic of the ideal holiday. If you’re looking for a great deal (and a great experience) then it takes a combination of solid research, word-of-mouth opinion and following your gut to find your ultimate getaway on a not-so-ultimate budget.

Here are five top tips I use when planning a trip away:

1. Choose a destination that can be reached non-stop, preferably by more than one airline.

Why are some locales so popular and others not-so-much? The answer is simple – airline traffic. In the travel industry, one of the biggest expenses that destination marketing boards make is with airlines. They use marketing funds to entice airlines to add their city or country to their route network and they spend even more to keep them flying there. Why? Well, it’s because inbound tourism numbers to a destination immediately increase as soon as it becomes easy for people to get to the place.

A good example is the Far East. Thailand welcomes huge numbers of tourists every year to its shores, yet the Philippines – a destination that is consistently selected for having more secluded and untouched stretches of beach and diving options – barely registers on the UK holiday itinerary. And that’s because you can’t fly nonstop between the UK and Manila.

Ryanair is another good case. Would you have thought to travel to some of the more obscure pockets of Europe before they flew there? Probably not. Yet, thousands do when the offer is there for 1p plus airport taxes and fees (and just a couple of hours away). When airlines fly nonstop, it gets easier to fly there and the price drops. Add another airline in the form of competition and you have the start of potential price wars that favour the consumer.

2. Avoid hotels

I may be biased here because I work for a holiday rentals company. But it’s common knowledge that hotels can take a big bite out of your budget. You pay for the room. Often, you also have to pay to make a phone call, use the Internet, eat food, order a drink, etc. By the end of your stay, you may have shelled out more for the extras than the actual room, especially in resort destinations.

Do yourself a favour and book a holiday rental next time you travel, whether it is for a city stay or a week-long beach break. Families and large groups benefit most as they can book a single home or multi-room apartment as opposed to multiple hotel rooms for their stay. As an example, the average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Paris on is €123 per night. You would never find two hotel rooms of equivalent quality anywhere in Paris for that price.

3. Cook at home or nibble from the markets

Restaurant meals are great as a treat but eat out every night and you’re looking at an empty wallet. Why not try cooking at home, if you took my advice and rented a holiday apartment. Alternatively, nibble your way through a local market and try out the fresh produce, baked goods and treats. Not only is it less financially taxing but you’ll also be able to enjoy an authentic local experience shopping with residents and haggling with stallholders.

4. Travel late in the season

Families have a habit of booking their annual summer holiday as soon as the kids get off school. This makes booking manic for July and early August dates. Waiting until the end of the season and taking your annual holiday at the end of August, just before school starts, gives you more flexibility and cheaper prices. Not only will you find destinations a little less busy than early in the season, you may find a few late deals if you are a last-minute booker like me. In late July, airlines and accommodation companies think that the summer peak has been and gone, so they start offering late deals to try to fill seats and leftover stock. You might not get your first pick of location, but you’ll certainly bag a deal.

5. Look at cost of living indexes

If you really want to know how much it’s going to cost when you reach a destination, a cost of living index is a good way to determine it. I use because it ranks both restaurant prices and local purchasing power. It looks like Norway may have to stay off my budget holiday list until next year!

For more tips from myself and The Independent’s Senior Travel Editor Simon Calder, watch the video below

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  • kawasakiman

    Ditch the travel agent. You can save a fortune by booking everything yourself.

  • greggf

    La Réunion, a veritable tropical paradise in the Indian ocean
    Air Austral and Airfrance fly there direct from Paris, non stop, on average 4 times a day, every day! Flight time is 11 hours but no more than 3 hours time difference so sleeping is not a problem.
    It’s a Dom-Tom so its just like France with all the first-world conveniences, heath-care and services. Yet there is a distinct lack of over-priced franchised outlets which can litter holiday destinations.
    Water sports, deep sea fishing, beaches, touring the volcanological sites and micro-climates and mountain climbing/walking and more…..

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