Money is tight but as temperatures dip, having a holiday to look forward to is the one treat many Brits simply won’t do without.
As a result, more than a third of getaways for this year will be booked in January, says Teletext Holidays. And more than half of people are planning to take two or more breaks this year, according to a survey by travelsupermarket.com
But you don’t have to blow the budget to guarantee a trip away, here’s how to get the holiday you want, for the best possible price.
Save on booking costs
January sales on flights and holidays are in full swing at the moment. Many operators allow customers to pay deposit to secure a booking, which means that you don’t have to take the full price hit now.
If you book before January 31 with easyJet, you can also sign up for a holiday with just £50 and have until two weeks before you leave to pay the remainder.
For a limited time, flights to Alicante and Majorca are available from £250 return during the school summer holidays with jetXtra.com. The price includes baggage, taxes and charges.
The Virgin Holiday sale is also running until January 31. The operator is offering holidays from £489 per person and includes the US and the Caribbean among destinations. Top deals currently available include seven days in Orlando from £459 per person and seven nights in Mexico from £645 per person.
If you are planning on going a little further afield, an all-inclusive holiday can help keep costs in check. Mhairi Duffin, head of holidays and travel insurance at Confused.com, said: "We predict that the travel industry could see an increase in package holidays due to their ATOL protection as well as allowing people to cover their costs up front and budget accordingly."
Following this trend, cruises are set to be a popular holiday choice this year. Virgin Holidays Cruises says it has already seen a 206% increase in bookings so far in January compared with the same point last year.
Meanwhile, more services are cropping up that allow you to search and compare the best cheap holidays so there’s no excuse not shop around for the best price.
The latest, Loveholidays.com, joins the likes of Expedia and travelsupermarket.com to help you save on costs through comparison and also offers a lowest price pledge.
Secret booking services are another way to pay the lowest price possible for hotel rooms. The sites allow you to specify the room you would like, based on factor such as location, star rating and proximity to amenities. One provider of so-called ‘opaque’ travel, hotwire.com says it has more than 30,000 hotels registered to use the site, signing up 5,000 new venues in the last 12 months alone.
Pick your destination carefully
The destination for your getaway can significantly impact how much you spend. Alternative destinations can tick all the same boxes as the most popular spots, but provide better all round value.
Spain and its islands will be the most popular overseas destination for British holidaymakers this year, according to travelsupermarket.com.
However, Brits could save money by looking only slightly further afield. Travelsupermarket’s holiday expert Bob Atkinson said: “Watch out for holidays in Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, North Africa, the Caribbean, Cape Verde Islands and Egypt, which are all fighting for the same holiday pound expenditure, and offer somewhere different for holidaymakers at prices that are affordable to many.”
Croatia is on course to be a top destination for Brits in 2013. Counting crystal clear seas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and beautiful countryside among its assets, it’s not hard to see why. However, as the country’s popularity has grown, prices have kept pace.
As with Croatia, Turkey has a craggy coastline studded with pines that are suited to sailing and boat trips. But with vibrant Istanbul featured in the opening scenes of the latest Bond film, the country is also registering on radar’s as more than a sun and sea holiday.
With its excellent value for money Turkey could be a savvier option than Croatia. Travelsupermarket’s Atkinson said: “Your money will go further in Turkey when you get out and about... and there is a far wider range of resorts, as well as flights and holiday options, to pick from than you can find in Croatia. So although it’s further to fly, there is far more to choose from to get your break.”
The US is expected to be the most popular long-haul destination for Brits, particularly Florida and New York.
But a slightly cheaper long-haul option is Cancun. With charter flights from a range of UK airports, the Mexican resort is one of the most affordable and accessible destinations, according to Confused.com. Sterling is much stronger against the Mexican peso than the dollar, so your spending money will go further too.
Year round sun
Morocco is good value and with warm temperature year round, it’s a popular destination for British travellers, particularly for long weekends.
Another option is Tunisia or Egypt, which both offer sun throughout the year, as well as similar food and a culture to Morocco. If you include these destinations in your holiday comparisons, you’re more likely to find the best value trip on your budget.