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So the long summer days are rapidly passing by and all of your friends have holidays in the pipeline. You are thinking: ‘I wish I had booked but I just can’t afford it this year.’ However, we are out to prove you wrong – a vacation can be inexpensive and you don’t have to get into debt or max your credit card in order to enjoy the season. Cheap holidays no longer mean low quality holidays either. Holiday companies are extremely competitive and there has never been a better time to get more for your money.
Begin your holiday research
Planning your low cost holiday should begin with two main factors – your budget and your destination. Start your plan with how much you can realistically afford to spend on the cost of the holiday. Spending money should be factored in separately – try to think about what you want to do and then imagine how you can reduce the cost of this. For example, if you and your friends are keen on adventurous activities, instead of booking a deep sea diving course try a walking holiday around an island where you can take your own snorkelling equipment. Care should always be taken if you choose not to use local instructors and guides.
The next step is to decide on your ideal vacation destination, plus then look at the cost and try to find cheaper alternatives that offer similar things. Flexibility is key to getting the best deals.
Shopping around does pay off
Holidays are just like any other purchase; you need to shop around to get the best prices. Consumers can easily widen their holiday search using the internet but don’t just stick to the internet. Search options include:
· Independent travel agents
· Big brand holiday companies
· Internet only holiday companies
Holiday comparison sites can be invaluable when searching for the best prices. Remember to conduct your destination search over at least a minimum of two comparison sites. Most comparison sites will only list deals by companies that have paid to advertise with them – more comparison sites means more choice. Shop around, keep your eyes open on the independent sellers’ prices and set up alerts to be notified of the lowest prices by email.
Negotiate with a travel agent
Negotiating with travel agents can pay off. If you have found a low cost holiday then it’s worth visiting a travel company to see if they will beat the price. This will usually work with the larger competitive travel businesses. For holiday companies it’s all about the commission and many sales agents will take a cut in commission to sell a holiday. Remember to ask about discounts if you are part of a large group going on holiday together, this is another good negotiating point.
Cut out the middle man
Doing it yourself will help to avoid paying the travel agent’s commission fees. Research hotels (you can find hotels in your intended destination on holiday company websites) and simply book the hotel directly. Then conduct your flight search keeping in mind factors that will affect the price such as advance or late booking and the day of the week you intend to fly. Midweek flights are cheaper and booking in advance is usually the best option. Don’t book anything until you have the perfect combination of flights and hotels, self-catering accommodation, or a hostel (there are often en suite private rooms available to make your stay just as good as a hotel stay).
If you take your time with your research you may be able to bring your holiday in under budget. Your research techniques may become second nature and you’ll never pay full price for a holiday again.