It's that time of year again when lots of us are looking to get away for a well-earned break. And whether it's in the UK or further afield, making sure we get value for money on a cheap family holiday ranks high on our to do lists.
However, try as we might to utilise every trick in the book to save money on bookings, it seems lots of us are failing to grab the best deal when it comes to 'hurry-before-it-goes' holidays.
Which? looked at 30 adverts for such trips and then checked again when the closing date for booking had passed. It found that in 13 of the adverts the holiday could be booked later on at the same price or lower, suggesting there may have been no need for you to hurry after all.
Are you in a hurry?
The watchdog believes travel firms are doing three things that could be considered misleading:
- Extending deals beyond the advertised deadlines;
- Cutting prices after the 'hurry deal' offer has finished;
- Repeating hurry deals one after another.
So, while we might think we're getting the best deal on a holiday at the time of booking, there's a good chance we actually aren't.
Many people who have gone along with disingenuous 'hurry' deals may have with hindsight appreciated the extra time, to ensure they had selected the right destination and cheap family holiday package for them, rather than rushing their decision.
Look before you book
It may sound old hat, but always shop around before you rush into any decision. The price you pay at one travel agent will often differ at another, and the same goes for travel websites.
If you're thinking more innovatively, there are numerous sites which help families in different countries swap homes for their holidays. Simply post details of your location, pick a place you like and get it touch with the owner of the property.
Going on a cheap family holiday doesn't always have to be as hard as it sounds. For instance, see if you can swap your supermarket loyalty card points for things like ferry tickets, theme parks, flights and car hire when abroad. Points can often be worth up to four times the normal value if you don't spend them in store.
Travelling to the airport by train is another way to cut costs. A family and friends railcard will cost you £28 per year and give you a third off adult fares and 60% of child fares. Up to four adults and four children can travel on a single card.