A NEW travel year is upon us, but with our budgets tighter than usual in January, how can you be sure you’re bagging the best bargain for your 2024 getaway?
Sophie Swietochowski shares some top tips.
IT’S WHEN, NOT WHERE
The big holiday question isn’t where.
It’s when you book AND when you travel, both of which could save you mega money.
According to Expedia’s 2024 Air Travel Hacks Report, if you book on a Sunday instead of a Friday, you’ll save an average of 24 per cent on international flights.
Plus, when jetting off abroad, you can save around eight per cent if you book between eight and 23 days prior to departure.
The worst booking period, in comparison, was 36 to 63 days before flying out.
For families, travel company Vrbo recommends booking by the following dates to bag the best deals: Easter, by Feb 13; summer holidays, by Jun 8; autumn half-term, by Aug 26; and Christmas, by Nov 11.
When it comes to actual departure dates, Expedia’s report shows Friday is the cheapest travel day on average, while Sundays are the priciest.
GO FOR AN ALL-IN-ONE
Four in ten of us have our sights set on a package holiday for our next big break, research from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed.
And it’s certainly one of the easiest ways to save cash when jetting off.
In many cases, traditional package holidays – which cover two elements of a getaway, like flight and accommodation – will bag you more bang for your buck than if you book both elements separately.
But make sure it’s Atol-protected, the CAA says, as this will save you a lot of money if, for example, the company goes bust while you’re on holiday.
You can check if your holiday provider is Atol protected at atol.org.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
The most sought-after holiday destinations tend not only to be pricier than lesser-known spots, but they also sell out faster.
On holiday rentals site, Vrbo, fewer than 60 per cent of holiday homes are available this summer in popular beach destinations such as Cornwall, Faro in Portugal and Alicante in Spain.
Cast the net wide and consider an alternative destination to your usual haunt.
This could save you a lot of dosh not just on flights and accommodation, but food, drink and entertainment when you’re out there.
WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
The UK saw thousands of flights (and holidays) axed at the last minute in 2023 and although you can’t always prevent this, there are some things you can do to increase the likelihood of you jetting off on time.
Expedia’s report showed that the earlier in the day you fly, the better.
Almost a fifth of British travellers try to avoid morning flights because of the added stress of getting up early, but flights that depart after 3pm have a four per cent higher chance of being cancelled.
Make sure to book travel insurance too, Atol advises, as this will offer you some financial protection when things don’t go to plan.
Read more on the Irish Sun
Your airline is obliged to put you on another flight or offer a refund when a flight is cancelled, but it’s not just this that travel insurance protects against.
It’s also missed transport, medical emergencies and lost or stolen items.