TWENTY million of us planning holidays abroad can beat rip-offs and slash costs by avoiding flying at weekends, swapping hotels for Airbnbs and dodging summer’s priciest weeks.
With international travel reopening tomorrow and more green-list countries due in the coming weeks, holiday costs are rising ahead of a half-term dash to Portugal, a summer stampede to Spain and an autumn influx to Greece.
But sunseekers can cut airline fares by 20 per cent or more by flying on a Friday or from different airports, and halve accommodation bills by staying in locals’ properties.
Steering clear of the popular first fortnight of the school holidays from late July will slash costs – and avoiding traditional tourist hotspots could save more.
Sky-high in-resort car hire costs can be hammered down to just £10 a day by booking online.
And if you check in early for your flight and wear those extra jumpers, you can sidestep airline seat and baggage charges.
Follow the Sun Money guide to make your lockdown lolly go further.
WHICH DAY TO FLY – AND WHERE FROM
DITCH pricey weekend departures and fly on Friday instead, which saves up to 20 per cent, Skyscanner said.
Remember to check if flights are cheaper from nearby airports and deals can be cheaper from Glasgow in August – as the kids in Scotland are already back in school.
ANNUAL cover – covering you for multiple holidays – can be cheaper than single-trip policies. Prices start from around £50 a year for an annual policy for a family and choosing a high excess can also keep prices low.
DIY OR PACKAGE
PACKAGE hols are often cheapest for a week or more in the most popular sunspots, such as Benidorm, says MoneySavingExpert.
But shorter trips or breaks in quieter resorts have lower prices if you book flights and accommodation yourself.
But remember to factor in food – as package prices can be self-catering, bed-and-breakfast or all-inclusive.
WHERE TO GO
CHOOSING less-popular destinations can cut flight and hotel costs.
Both Malta and Spain’s Balearic Islands are poised to go on the green list next month, but Malta will save you mountains compared to Majorca. And, with most of Europe set to go green by August, picking Albania over Greece will still give you great beaches, but at lower prices.
BOOKING car hire direct from your hotel or a resort hire firm often costs £40 per day. Booking online via a comparison site such as Kayak or TravelSupermarket can slash it to £10 a day.
It means a car for a week can be cheaper than taxis from the airport to your hotel.
Check the car rate includes insurance and a “full-to-full” petrol tank policy.
SAVE: £210 for a week
AIRBNB costs less than hotels across most of Europe, price analysis by Vouchercloud showed.
The difference is biggest in Portugal, where Airbnb averages half the price of formal accommodation.
Small hotels away from resort centres are usually cheaper than big central alternatives.
SAVE: Up to £300 over a week
WHEN TO GO
LATE August and early September breaks come with lower prices than those in late July or early August.
Whitsun half-term from May 29 is cheaper still, and October half-term is even more of a bargain.
But the best prices are during school terms, especially in late June and late September.
DODGE paying more to sit together by bagging adjacent seats if you check in online as soon as it opens.
Paying for hold suitcases can add £240 to the cost of a trip for a family of four.
Use most airlines’ free 10kg cabin bag allowance, wear rather than pack your jumpers, buy toiletries when you get there and visit a launderette to wash clothes.
SAVE: Up to £240
REMEMBER COVID COSTS
PRICES have been cut to £60 for pre-departure tests booked via airlines and tour operators, and £20 for pre- and post-return tests.
Tests still cost up to £320 for a family of four – but until recently that was the price per person.
Most airlines and package hol operators offer flexible booking – so you can change your travel dates or get a voucher, but not a refund.
AIRPORT CHANGE SAVED US £1,500
JO and Andy Raw will save £1,500 on their delayed Florida family holiday in August – by flying from a different airport.
The couple, who have two kids, had to switch dates from last summer so changed their departure from Manchester to Glasgow and chose a bargain Tui midweek flight.
The US is expected to be on the green list in time for their trip to Orlando, where children Harry, seven, and five-year-old Emmy will hit Disney World and Universal Studios.
The family live in Whitby, North Yorks, and teacher Jo, 38, said: “Glasgow is only an hour’s drive further for us than Manchester, but will cost so much less, especially avoiding weekend flights.”
The couple have saved on previous breaks by avoiding summer holidays.
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Andy, 37, also a teacher, said: “We’ve used Easter to go to Lanzarote, and May half-term to visit Portugal. Prices were lower but the weather was still great.”
Jo also cashed in by staying in an Airbnb on an Edinburgh girls’ weekend.
She said: “It was cheaper than a hotel and we got a whole flat to ourselves.”