Families who want to holiday over the half term will be forced to fork out up to 50 per cent more than they would the week before the school holidays, says Holiday Extras’ travel expert Lindsay Garvey-Jones.
A rise in demand will raise prices unless accompanied by increased supply, which explains why the price of some packages have soared during the half term. Families have no choice but to travel during the school holidays, so it’s important to make savings where they can.
Parents shouldn’t be discouraged by the half-term price hike, because the family holiday can be made more affordable. Here are some of my money-saving tips.
- Book airport parking in advance. Meet and Greet parking is the most stress-free service for families – and with savings of up to 60 per cent with Holiday Extras, it’s inexpensive too. A chauffeur will be waiting to whisk the car away at departures, and have it ready at arrivals for the return. Eight days’ Meet and Greet parking at Gatwick starts from £64.99.Spread the cost.
- Many tour operators and travel agents offer the option to spread the cost of a holiday through monthly or a set number of payments. It will make paying for the holiday manageable.
- Use an agent to search out the best deal for you. Agents on the high street and online can give you expert advice and thorough aftercare. They will search for the best deal to suit your budget and needs, and pass on any savings. They can add value to your experience, especially as they sometimes promote special 2 for 1 deals, seat sales or know the best way to save money.
- Holiday insurance with free cover for kids. Under-18s go free on all of Holiday Extras’ award-winning travel insurance policies. A week’s European cover for a family of four starts from just £22.26.
- All-inclusive could cost less. The upfront cost of an all-inclusive holiday can be off-putting, and a cheaper self-catering or half-board option often takes precedence. However, when the cost of food, drinks and treats for the kids are added up, an all-inclusive package can work out a whole lot less.
- Don’t rely on last-minute money. Buying foreign currency at the airport is a sure-fire way to a bad exchange rate. Order travel money online or opt for a pre-paid currency card – like FairFX – which is safer and can offer some of the best exchange rates on the market.
- Do destination research. Knowledge is power, and a little planning could save pounds. Booking tours and activities with a UK travel agent will often be more expensive, so arrange day trips with a local guide or tour operator. Be aware of the going rate and use this as a haggling tool.
- Buy before you fly. Stock up on essentials like sun cream – they cost more overseas. A family of four can go through a bottle each during a week’s holiday, so take advantage of offers and 3-for-2 deals when you see them. And don’t forget to pop them in your case!
- Choose a hotel with a kids’ club. Parents can save forking out on activities for the children – most kids’ clubs offer free all-day-long entertainment.
Notes to editors
*Holiday price-hike figure is based on three similar packages – the week before and the week of half-term – for a family of four, sold by Thomas Cook, Thomson and First Choice.