Thank you to our friends at SmartShoping.com for this conversation.
With more and more people feeling the financial squeeze, the prospect of going on holiday may seem like a luxury. However, it’s still possible to enjoy great getaways with a few insider tips and tricks. The key thing to remember is to be flexible; being less dogmatic on times, destinations – even the origin of where you start your holiday from – can open you and your family up to a world of possibilities. Obviously if you have children of school age, then when you take your holidays are more limited, but even so, with a bit of digging around you might find yourself building sandcastles on a holiday that cost you much less than originally thought.
Firstly, decide on where you want to go, then use a variety of sources to check and compare availability and prices as regards accommodation. Searching online is usually the best route these days with comparison sites, social media, and hotel discount sites are competing to give you the best holiday deal. Some hotels are not included in comparisons, so it’s always worth contacting a particular establishment directly, and even haggle over the phone to see if they will price match.
Secondly, check out the cost of food and drink of the place you wish to go beforehand. If eating out looks expensive, then consider an all-inclusive holiday. These have come down in price significantly in recent years as holiday operators try to capitalise on people feeling the pinch back home. Therefore, an all-inclusive holiday may represent better value for money overall then a standard holiday whereby additional cost for eating, drinking and entertainment needs to be factored in.
Thirdly, depending on where you want to go – and if you like the idea of taking a (small) risk – it may actually work out cheaper to fly somewhere and sort accommodation out once you get there. Many European cities and most countries in Asia, for example, have a great range of ‘pensions’, B&B’s and guesthouses to choose from. Asking at the tourist office on arrival may open up local deals that wouldn’t have known about otherwise.
Finally, once you’ve got to your destination and settled into your accommodation, get the lowdown from hotel concierges, waiters and locals to discover where are the best places to go, see, eat, drink and be entertained. The people who live there will have more knowledge of where to find those hidden holiday gems than travel operators ever could!