How to get the best travel deals during the school holidays

The kids have just gone back to school and I’m already dreaming about our next holiday. If you’ve got kids you know that that has to be done during the school holidays, which is typically when industry prices are at their highest.

Why? It’s fairly simple: more people want to travel at this time, and as a result of an increase in demand, there is also an increase in related costs. It basically comes down to demand and supply. But don’t worry, I have some great tips for finding cheaper holidays during peak times.

Create a suitable budget

Before you plan or spend anything, it’s crucial to work out a holiday budget. Just how much are you willing to pay for the entire trip? Weigh all the costs that it will incur against your current balance, and you’ll be able to benchmark an affordable price.

Don’t forget to take the time of year into account, though. People that travel during the summer holidays often face heightened flight and accommodation costs. In particular, popular tourist sites tend to be pricier to visit during peak season. For cheaper lodgings, you may want to stay somewhere off the beaten track. If you do, just remember that air prices will likely still be higher, given the time of year.

Very often, all you need to do to make the most of our money is a touch of financial planning.

Compare DIY with package holidays

You may be tempted to book a package deal right away — but it’s often worth comparing the prices available with the cost of a holiday that you organise yourself.

So, just when is an all-inclusive trip the best option? According to leading experts, you’re more likely to save on a package holiday if you choose to stay in just one place during your holiday, for a standard length of time (typically up to two weeks). That’s because holiday companies normally specialise in traditional — or rather peak — holiday times and destinations.

If you’re planning to visit different cities or countries, you’d be better off planning a DIY trip, as affordable package deals for this kind of trip are often hard to come by.

Try haggling with travel agents

Haggling may sound scary — but really, it isn’t, especially when it comes to package deals. So, just what’s the best way to do it? Well, firstly, you’ll need to pinpoint your ideal holiday, and then compare this with the going rate.

As tour operators sell — rather than design — package deals, you stand to find the same holiday at a cheaper price with another company. That’s where haggling comes in!  

Once you’ve found your preferred quote, it’s time to ring up travel agents that are offering the same deal and ask if they can beat it. Given that you’ll be travelling during peak season, securing a discounted deal could help you to stay well within your holiday budget.

Time your trip wisely

You might want to rush off on holiday as soon as the term’s finished, but be warned: this is often the priciest time to fly, as is the last week of the summer holiday. With this in mind, you could consider travelling in the middle of the holiday.

While package deal costs tend to stay fixed (unless you haggle effectively), avoiding flights at either end of the season could be particularly cost-effective if you’re planning a DIY trip. Likewise, flying mid-week tends to be cheaper, too.

If you plan to tour Europe, you could secure your travel between countries with an Interrail Pass. With the ability to hop on and off most European trains for free (once you’ve bought separate passes), you and your family will be able to enjoy an unforgettable summer holiday for less.

The school holidays may only last a matter of weeks, but that shouldn’t stop you and your kids from getting the most out of this time off. Follow these tips, and you’ll all benefit from a fun, cost-effective trip away.