Bargain Holidays

With so many cheap holiday deals available on the internet, over the phone and even on our TVs, the days of walking into travel agents to book our annual getaway are a distant memory for many. Bucket loads of holidaymakers each year are choosing to leave their bookings until the last minute so they can get the most for their money. However, even the seasoned holiday bargain hunter can do with some fresh ideas from time to time, so here are some tips for getting the very best last minute holiday this year.

The first decision to be made is whether to book a package holiday or DIY. Whilst it might seem like the easy option, for those looking for a straightforward, inexpensive week away, a package holiday can be the perfect solution. Your tour operator arranges flights, transfers and accommodation and with their huge buying power can often secure better rates than an individual would be able to.

Another bonus with choosing package deals is that the holiday is usually covered by ABTA and ATOL consumer protection and if any leg of your journey hits a snag you may be entitled to assistance, a refund or alternative transport/accommodation options. It is worth remembering that the best deals on package holidays are usually found for the most popular destinations and for standard durations (usually seven, ten or fourteen nights) so if you are looking for a break in an unusual location you would do well to investigate the DIY options too.

When you are trying to secure a bargain holiday, it is all about when you book. The later you can leave your booking, the cheaper the holiday is likely to be but of course this means you could end up going to a destination you would not have chosen or staying in a hotel that is not your cup of tea. If you have specific dates you can travel or specific needs such as a kids club or crèche, be wary leaving it too late as you might find it hard to match a deal to your needs. If you are flexible on when you go and just want somewhere warm and cheap, then there is no doubt you will be able to find something to accommodate you at an enviable price!

Once you find your perfect holiday, it is up to you to drive down the price. Tour operators create the holidays then often give it to a number of agents to sell on their behalf. There will be a bottom price and it is your challenge to find it! Once you know which holiday you want, make a note of all the inclusions and the web price you have found. Use online comparison sites or Teletext to find all the agents selling this package, then take a deep breath and give them a call.

Once you have an offer from one agent, call the next agent and ask if they can beat it. Repeat until you run out of options! Confident negotiators can often knock £100s off the price of their holiday with just a little effort. You could be enjoying one of the bargain activity weekends or beach holidays before you know it and for much, much less than you thought.

Most tour operators will try and sell travel insurance whilst you purchase your package holiday. This can, more often than not, be more expensive and have less cover than if you were to shop around. Think twice before saying yes to the easy option and save some money. Get a single trip travel insurance quote from 24/7 travel insurance from £8.64* for 7 days in Europe from one adult.

*Premium £8.64 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an Individual aged 18-54 taking out a ‘Last Minute’ Single Trip 24/7 travel insurance policy excluding personal possessions cover for 7 days in Europe. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (6th March 2012) and are subject to change. You must read the policy wording to ensure you are familiar with your cover.