A bit of lateral thinking can help save money when you book a holiday. Here are a few ideas:
1. Avoid the obvious. Rather than paying nearly £3,000 a week for a villa in the South of France at the height of the season, strike out for somewhere that offers better value. Portugal is more affordable, with three-bedroom villas on the Algarve averaging just over £1,000.
2. Don’t be fooled by the name. The Hotel Luxx XL in Bangkok conjures up images of palatial suites, supersize beds, a butler on call and out-of-this-world prices. In fact it’s stylish, new and boasts an infinity pool, but costs from £49 a night. (Our favourite bad name, however, remains the Hotel Petrol in Istanbul.)
3. Look for all-inclusive deals. These are becoming available in the Indian Ocean paradise of the Maldives for the first time, and could include all your meals, wine, golf and watersports. Avoids that dilemma of ‘£20 for that cocktail is a complete rip-off, but I’m on holiday so shouldn’t I treat myself?’
4. Book at the right time. No easy answers to this one, we’re afraid. You may get a big discount for booking early, or scoop a fantastic deal for booking late. You might find cheap last-minute accommodation, only to be stung by sky-high prices for flights. Perhaps it’s best just to book when your bank balance permits and be happy with that!
5. Be imaginative. Opt for Bilbao rather than Barcelona; the Basque city might not be as hip as its Catalan counterpart, but boasts the landmark Guggenheim Museum, good surf beaches nearby, a funicular, medieval Old Town and jumping nightlife. It’s also considerably cheaper.
6. Leave the kids at home. (Only joking.)
Wherever you go, remember to buy travel insurance that will cover all your needs or your trip may end up costing far more than you’d planned.