20 Jul

Written by Tracy on July 20, 2011

You wanted to book a holiday. You told yourself to get around to it several times. Back in March you had every intention of getting started early. In April. In June. Last week. But still you have nothing booked.

Your whole family is desperate to get away, but now you’re concerned about the cost. That is understandable, but travelling during the peak of the high season doesn’t need to break the bank.

There are many ways to enjoy your holiday on a budget this summer, and those options include everything from choosing less expensive flights to finding free activities for children closer to home.

Here are some top tips for saving and enjoying your summer holiday:

Take advantage of last-minute offers

The prices that were so high for July and August travel a few months ago are now coming down. Great deals can be found on flights and accommodation that are still available. Tour operators and airlines are starting to panic that not all the tickets/rooms will be sold/rented, and that is resulting in some great last-minute offers. The key to finding something is to be flexible about when and where you travel.

Go by boat instead

Ferry lines are trying to stay competitive with the airlines and have reduced their rates, sometimes to surprisingly cheap fares.

Don’t be too picky about location

At this late date, you need to be a bit flexible about where you’re willing to go. Search both near and far destinations to find the best price. Being fixated on one destination will mean paying more, but if you’re just as willing to visit Italy as you are France, for example, your low-cost options will increase.

Combine efforts

You don’t have to go it alone. Instead of renting a villa or house to yourself, ask some friends to join you and share the cost of lodging and food. It can make for a nicer holiday, with lots of shared memories, as well as save you from emptying your pocketbook.

Know exactly what you’re getting

If you’re booking a tour, check to make sure airline meals, breakfast and/or half-board are included. You don’t want to end up paying several hundred pounds more than expected because you forgot to ask basic questions about what is covered. Also be wary of any operators that can’t tell you exactly where you’ll be staying on arrival. Demand full disclosure up front.

Take a bus

Some people cringe at the very thought of a coach trip, but these journeys can be very pleasant ways of seeing destinations, meeting people and having knowledgeable guides.

Stay closer to home

Sandy warm beaches can be found right here at home too. If you want something slightly further afield, you could try the coasts on a British Island, such as Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Wight or the Scilly Isles.

If you like resort settings, try taking your loved ones to a family centre.

Camping and/or caravanning is always a cheaper option than hotels. You can pitch a tent near or far, or even in your own garden. Camping is an adventure all on its own, and it’s a wonderfully cheap alternative for finding accommodation wherever you want to travel.

House swap

Go on holiday without having to pay for accommodation at all by simply switching keys with another family. There are services available to help you swap homes for a week or two at a time with another family in order to visit another part of the UK or world. If you feel funny about handing over your keys, just remember that the other family is in the same boat. For more information see the following links:

So whatever holiday you want to plan for this summer, whether it’s a simple camping holiday along the coast or a last-minute tour of Greece, you still have time and you can do it on budget – there’s always a way.

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