It’s Britain’s most expensive vacation month – but you can still squeeze amazing deals from your travel agent
Go for the package
“By bundling the elements together,” says Kari Swartz, spokesperson for online travel experts Expedia, “the tour providers can give bigger discounts.” Research by Expedia shows that buying air-and-hotel packages rather than purchasing air and hotel separately saves the buyer, on average, £97 per booking.
Alternatively, visit somewhere out of grace, such as Eilat in Israel or Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh. Despite the Foreign Office deeming them completely safe for tourists, many British still avoid anywhere they think a local meal out could end with a suicide bomber ruining the dessert.
Says Swartz: “Come back a day later or earlier than the masses and you’ll definitely get a better deal.”
Peter Kay was right – t’internet may have the bigger range, but it’s TV’s archaic text service that has the best deals, due to the intense competition. Start at Teletext p200, scan the destination lists and note down numbers of good deals – though they go quickly, so don’t hang about.
Beware of extras
New legislation means Easyjet, Ryanair et al will be forced to quote the full price, including local taxes and luggage surcharges. But not yet. And watch late bookings, as extras are almost always split out.
Barter like a Moroccan
Never accept the first price – tour operators set the price, but travel agents add large booking fees on top. So shop around – go to at least four, making the most of pledges to “beat any price”. Be sure to negotiate in price-per-person, not total cost – then any discount seems less significant to them. And don’t get insurance through the agent: most make more profit here than the holiday itself. Specific insurers are much cheaper.
Don’t bother with the in-flight meal. It’ll cost you on average another £15 for two people, and it’s really just a posh excuse for something to do while you’re bored.
Leave it a while
Ultimately, though, only idiots – or possibly parents – go to the most sought-after destinations during August, when agents can largely charge what they like. But leave it until September, and even family destinations like Florida will drop like a stone.
Where best to shave cash off your holiday: