So you were planning a staycation but the lack of sunshine is getting to you? Or has life been manic and you haven’t had a minute to book anything? You know you need to put some guaranteed sunshine between you and next winter but isn’t everything booked up by now? Not necessarily. We offer our top tips when it comes to booking a last minute holiday, including ways to bag a bargain.
1. Be open minded about where you go
We don’t mean drop your standards for accommodation and there’s no point choosing somewhere with equally unpredictable weather but the more open minded you are about destination the better chance you have of finding a holiday deal. Use a price comparison site like Skyscanner to see where the cheapest places to fly to are at the moment. Or use the Ryanair Fare Finder to do something similar with only their flights if you believe they are likely to be the least expensive. Make a list, do some Googling and pick the one that ticks most boxes for you. That’s how I discovered the very beautiful Pula in Croatia. You may end up having the holiday of a lifetime by accident!
2. Travel off peak
If you don’t have school going children and can get the leave, consider booking a holiday in September. At this point you should still be able to get last minute prices, there is likely to be more availability and the weather won’t be so hot.
3. Book self-catering accommodation
Although no one wants to spend a holiday rattling the pots and pans having access to a kitchen while you are away can save a fortune. Simple breakfasts and lunches save you eating out and mean you can treat yourself for your evening meal.
4. Take advantage of cabin baggage
In the last few years cabin baggage allowances have become more and more generous. It is easy to pack comfortably for a week using only cabin allowance, saving money on a checked bag and time at the airport waiting for your baggage to arrive. If you are a kitchen sink packer, there are loads of guides online.
Pro tip: invest in some packing cubes it’s amazing how much they hold!
5. Use a travel agent
Going to a travel agent might seem like an old fashioned way of booking a holiday but don’t discount it. Their access to charter flights and ability to bulk buy accommodation means they are likely to have packages when the direct options are sold out. This is particularly useful if you have children and have to travel during peak times. There are other advantages to booking with a travel agent including:
- Knowledge: chances are your local agent has been on many of the holidays they offer so they will have insider knowledge like no other. They can provide you with an overview of both the destination and accommodation before you book so you know you are booking the right holiday for you.
- Security: travel agents are bonded and licenced so if your flight is cancelled or some other unforeseen circumstance your sun holiday is secure.
6. Research car hire
Depending on how off the beaten track you like to go while you are away hiring a car for all or part of your holiday may be much cheaper than expensive intercity trains, especially if there are a few of you travelling together. If hiring a car is right for you don’t forget to cover the excess. This can be an unexpected cost when you arrive at your destination, especially frustrating if you got a holiday deal.
7. Don’t forget travel insurance
If everything is being planned at the last minute it’s easy to forget to check if your travel insurance still valid. Although your E11 card will cover emergency medical care in the EU, protect yourself from loss, theft and in case of illness or injury with comprehensive travel insurance policy for you and your family.