How to find the best holiday deal

January sales
The good news for travellers at this time of year is that, if you are free to travel, you will find some of the cheapest prices of the year. Having spent heavily at Christmas, most people aren’t inclined to splash out on travel during January. Many will book ahead for their summer holidays, but they won’t indulge themselves with more time off. So demand falls and prices with it. For the next three weeks, the cost of skiing, winter-sun and city breaks will be at the absolute lowest. Book late and bargain hard; you won’t only get the best prices, you will find pistes almost empty, museums quiet and beaches peaceful.

School holidays
If you have school-age children, book as soon as possible. Particularly if you need to book flights, package holidays or holiday cottages in the best locations in popular destinations. It is less crucial if you are planning a ferry-based holiday, on which you can nearly always pick up a good-value fare, as long as you are prepared to travel via the Dover-Calais crossing. For the best-value Mediterranean sun, consider travelling during May half term rather than July or August.

Special tours and dates
Tours based around particular events, whether it’s Caravaggio’s 400th anniversary exhibition in Rome or the World Cup in South Africa, also need to be booked at the earliest opportunity. It is worth booking well in advance if you know you have to be somewhere at a specific time.

Travel outside school holidays
On most types of holidays, prices are more likely to be reduced nearer the point of departure. So, if you have any flexibility at all, it is worth waiting until six weeks before you wish to travel, when most last-minute offers are applied.

Don’t forget your cheap holiday insurance!
You can purchase great value holiday insurance direct at 24/7 travel insurance. For a 3-day break in Europe, it will cost you only £5.32* – a small price to pay so you can enjoy your holiday all the more!

*Premium £5.32 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an adult aged under 55 taking out a “Standard” Single-trip 24/7 travel insurance policy for 3-days in Europe excluding personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (January 2010) and are subject to change.