Does the thought of seeing members of your family, those you like, and those perhaps you are not so keen on, gathered around the Christmas table asking inquisitive questions about what it is you are exactly doing with your life get you immediately tapping away on your laptop? Figuring out the cheapest destination you can afford that means you will be on the other side of the Atlantic come Christmas morning?
Well, you aren’t alone in sharing that sentiment, but you might also find your plans to hop on a plane ever so slightly scuppered if you are counting the pennies if the following statistics are anything to go by. Indeed, according to the Office of National Statistics, the cost of overseas package holidays has risen this year to the highest level it has been since June 2013.
Not wonderful news it has to be said, but also not the end of the world. Because, my friends, it IS still possible that you can run off into the sunset, luggage in hand and go on that much yearned for holiday. However, you may have to cut some costs along the way. But anything to get away from nagging relatives on Christmas Day, right? Thought so. We’ve put together the best possible tips around so you can make this happen.
Remember to book using a private browsing window
You may feel slightly inconspicuous using incognito mode just to browse a trip to the Bahamas, but there is actually a very good reason why you should. Whilst private browsing has often been synonymous to perusing for…other reasons, using incognito mode for travel purposes can make flights and accommodation much cheaper. Why? Travel websites have a way of knowing what you’ve previously been quoted, so each time you click on their website anew, you may see a price hike. Sneaky. So, be sure to clear your browser cookies and use a private window when booking!
Check flight search tools to save money
The more flexible you can be with the times and dates you can fly, the more money you will be able to spend on a few margaritas once you arrive at your destination. How do I do find this out you may ask? Well, try Skyscanner’s excellent search tool. On here you have the option to fly out and back to completely different airlines or airports. The tool also shows you the cheapest hours to fly according to the month you wish to travel.
Bring your own food on board
Okay, it isn’t exactly the glamorous version of travelling you’ve always envisioned by bringing along some Tupperware with you on your journey, but if getting a holiday on a budget is your priority, bring those sandwiches! Anything goes as long as it isn’t liquids (this includes things like houmous) and whilst not forbidden, it is probably recommended you don’t take anything on board extremely smelly. For everyone’s sake really.
Be savvy with dates
Whilst it will come as no surprise, we thought we would just reiterate the point that it is going to be a bit of a struggle to find bargains if you choose to travel at the peak of the summer school holidays. If you can, avoid at all costs. Generally speaking, the last week in August and the first week of September tend to be a lot cheaper than the rest of summertime.
Consider an indirect flight
It isn’t likely to be anyone’s favourite option when trying to think of ways to cut costs, but if you are on a very tight budget, indirect flights might just be worth considering. Yes, waiting for hours on end for that flight in a packed airport can be akin to a form of mental torture at times, but you could save up to half on flights if you choose a little detour on your way home, which kind of makes up for it.
Weigh your luggage before you go on holiday
Don’t make the mistake of not weighing your bag before you travel. It is a simple way to avoid spending an extortionate amount on extra bagging charges, which is going to be a particular painful experience for you if you are trying to cut costs and you end up forking out because you can’t fit in that unnecessary extra towel you decided last minute that it was essential to bring. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Travel by coach
It may take longer than getting a flight or train but if you are super serious about travelling on a budget, then travelling by coach to destinations in Europe could be just the ticket for you. It’s possible to travel by Megabus or National to places like Amsterdam, Paris and Brussels for often half the price of flights if booked early enough.
Private rooms instead of a hotel
Whilst hotels used to be the go-to option when opting for accommodation on holiday, these days, it is definitely du jour to go for a private room instead. Sites like Airbnb tend to be considerably cheaper than hotels as locals rent of their spare rooms, apartments or even entire houses to travellers. You also might end up with a really quirky place to say with a bit more character than say, staying at your typical chain hotel, and staying with a local may help you to experience what living in the city is really like!