Budget Holidays - How I do it

123
Found 16th Apr 2013
Budget Holidays as I see it

I’m being asked many questions and want to try and answer them all as much as I can, feel free to add your own thoughts and opinions to this thread and together we can all have Happy Holidays 

Its been so long now that I have been putting together my own holidays that I can’t actually remember the last time I used a Travel Agent! With the joy of the internet, holidays have become not only “affordable” but a luxury that more people can afford. For the same cost as a week in Pontins you can get yourself a little family break in the Mainland Spain. Ok ok there are many gripes about these budget airlines and cheap hotels but if your booking a budget Caravan at Haven take a look at what your getting!

I work, my husband works and as a family we lead really busy lifestyles so its important to us to snap the odd week away (even if that does mean taking the kids out of school for a few days) as a family. Very soon my kids are going to be reaching an age when they want me to find them cheap deals to Ibiza as opposed to coming to the water parks with me and Dad and I fully intend to make the most of that. That said I have always in the past tried to make our holidays co-ordinate with the school holidays… we travel for 9 or 10 days, a few days before half term, returning a few days after this means we save a packet on flights and only 2-3 days holiday need to be taken from school.

I know that a lot of you out there already know how to work the system, but there are many of you who do not and I’m hoping that by sharing what I know more of you can take advantage. If you are someone in the know and reading this, feel free to share anything else you feel may be helpful 

Always look for your flight first, this is the key as more often than not this is the bulk of your holiday price. It can also be swings and roundabouts with flights and accommodation, for example, flights to Reus (Costa Dorada, Salou, cambrils etc) come up as one of the cheapest options, however the accommodation costs a bit more than it would in say Majorca. It seems to be the more you pay for your flight the cheaper the accommodation. But this is not always the case. Be careful with Barcelona flights by the way, sometimes you can be defaulted to a flight to Barcelona for holidays to Costa Dorada or Costa Brava as the flights are cheaper, this doesn’t usually work out beneficial though as the transfers cost a lot more and boost the holiday cost.

Flights to Girona (Costa Brava) are also one of the cheapest flights that come up. The accommodation is also cheap out here in resorts such as Lloret de Mar, Tossa de Mar, Malgrat, Callella and Santa Susana especially good for all inclusive deals. You will probably find that the hotels are rated much lower in these resorts though. Ive been many a time and had a lovely family holiday there… but if I’d booked through a travel agent paying £1,500 plus. I’d probably complain too – get my point? Same flight, same hotel etc we pay £150pp all inc, someone else comes along having booked through a travel agent £300.. your gonna grumble right?

Good options for larger families (3 kids plus) would be Ibiza or Majorca, the reason being there seems to be more Apartment style hotels on offer to accommodate you, you can still go all inclusive but you get more space. It seems to be more hotels on the mainland which means anything over 4 persons traveling and your looking at adjoining room making the cost escalate.

I’m a big Ryanair fan, I have flown with them more times than I care to remember and chose them every time as my preferred airline, why because they are CHEAP, they are reliable, they run quickly and swiftly, the booking process and checking-in process is incredibly easy and the staff are pleasant so why pay more? Go direct to their website and check out prices from your preferred airports. Never go by the sales figure stated on their home page, it rarely comes up with that, sometimes its even less! Be sure to also click the “flexible” option as more often than not flights for 8, 9, 10 days etc come in at a lot less than flying for 7 days.

The first rule is to be as flexible as possible. Its no good saying “I want to go on the 1st – 7th” you will go bananas trying to find an exact deal at rock bottom prices.

Also check out the Easyjet website for cheap flights sometimes (albeit rarely) they do come in slightly cheaper than Ryanair and whilst we are on Easyjet, make sure you make yourself familiar with their holiday website “easyjet holidays”. I would warn you to be careful with this though as sometimes they put together hotels and flights and that hundreds of miles apart!

Compare flight prices using flight comparison sites such as skyscanner to see where the cheapest flights are going to around the dates you want to travel.

Once you have that all important flight you now need to start looking at accommodation. You need to think ahead at this point to transfer time, remember the further away from the airport you are the more expensive that transfer will be.. for example, if you are flying to Palma, Gran Canaria, you will probably see that the accommodation comes up cheaper for Porto Rico, but when you go to complete your booking at the end the Transfer costs more as its further away from the airport. By paying a little more for a hotel in Playa del Ingles you will be making savings on your transfer making the total price lower. How I do this is by google mapping the airport an then looking to see which resorts are closest 

Ok so now we have our flight and preferred resort I would then pop over to Travel Republic, the reason for this is its quick and easy to use. Put in the dates etc and browse through the hotels that come up on offer, note that when you get to the accommodation section it will default like many of the sites to “our recommendations”, drop down the sort menu to “cheapest first”. Choose a hotel and then add on your luggage and transfers. This gives you your total price. Now at this point I’m still not happy… oh no!! now its time to price compare, get googling, price compare, try other sites such as Alpharooms (used in the past with no problem, in fact my hotel last year came up hundreds cheaper than Travel Republic so it can pay enormously to shop around!). Check out other transfer companies too, I always go via quidco for this to earn a bit of cashback and more often than not end up using Resort Hoppa.

Luggage
Great savings can be made on your luggage, think about what you really need to take on holiday. When traveling as a family of four we rarely pay for more than 1 case (we paid for 2 when we went to Tenerife for 2 weeks). Every traveller gets 10kg take on bag.. why pay £30-£70 for an extra 5kg? (checked in bags vary in weight 15kg with Ryanair and 20kg with Easyjet) make the most of the 10kg hand luggage. This is a small trolley case and you will be surprised at what you can fit in. Its always worth having at least one checked in case so you can put in your liquids, such as shampoo and sun creams and heavier items like shoes and hair straighteners (essentials of course)… your lotions and potions will be used whilst your away making room for presents or tobacco that your bringing back  Remember you cant take your liquids on the plane too, if you are only taking hand luggage an option is to buy it in the terminal once you have gone through security from boots or just buy it when your out there 

Buy the perfect suitcases for budget holidays. I got a great four piece set off ebay for around £60, its lightweight and consists of one suitcase perfect for 15kg packing and 3 smaller cases that meet the checked in bags requirements.

Airport Parking
Make sure you check out cashback sites for aiport parking, they are a great way to do price comparisons and the prices aren’t as high as you might think they would be, we used to pay someone £20 to drop us off and pick us up, nowadays that seems offensive as it would cost more than that in petrol for them to do the four trips backwards and forwards and the airport parking doesn’t cost much more, plus its quick, easy and lovely to have your car waiting for you with your coats sitting it the boot 

and there we go for all your troubles you should come out with a nice cheap break like this:

hotukdeals.com/tag/dea…818


May Holidays:

hotukdeals.com/tag/dea…743

June Holidays:

hotukdeals.com/tag/dea…722

July/August Holidays:

hotukdeals.com/tag/dea…e=3

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123 Comments

Banned

great info although i would add that it can be cheaper to rent a private villa with its own pool than hotel accommodation

same applies to car hire vs transfer costs

Original Poster

csiman

great info although i would add that it can be cheaper to rent a private … great info although i would add that it can be cheaper to rent a private villa with its own pool than hotel accommodationsame applies to car hire vs transfer costs



Ive had people asking me about private villa rental but as ive never done this before i have not really known any, do you have any recommend? xx

great info there but ive often wondered what sort of holiday was the strongest?

Original Poster

brilly

great info there but ive often wondered what sort of holiday was the … great info there but ive often wondered what sort of holiday was the strongest?



think that depends really if water were stronger it may be a surfing holiday if fire is stronger it could be somewhere like the canaries?

Agree with the luggage comments. Last holiday we had in October, it's much better to have the optimum size for a carry on bag and get most of your clothes in there. Then we had one large suitcase between the three of us, and chucked all our other stuff in there like toiletries, shoes, charger leads, adaptors, costmetics, hairdryer, straighteners etc etc.
Obviously, there was the initial outlay for the right size carry-on cases, but at least now we will have them for future trips - rather than paying for a larger suitcase each when checking in.

The dilemma I always have is do I book a package deal early when launched (25th April for Thomson 2014 holidays) or do I wait for the budget airlines to release flights and miss the low package deals. Waited for ryanair to release may half term flights to alicante or reus and they were ridiculously expensive. I reckon easyjet might release their may 2014 flights around July I think but no idea how much they will be. Tricky. Anyone got an opinion?

tbh i am not sure about the luggage thing, i prefer the idea of spreading the stuff about where possible incase of losses.
is it easier to replace clothes or to replace 'everything else' ?

Just wondering what years your children are in? We used to be able to take our eldest out of school in primary no problem (my oh's shifts give us special reason) but its completely different in high school. Some high schools wont allow it plus once they get to particular years they have so much going on there isnt available time to take them out. Our eldest is in yr10 and it would be impossible.
Also, weve always booked acc and flights separately to get the best prices but this year have noticed a massive increase in prices (acc) for the Balearics compared to last year. We've decided to go to France instead!

Banned

SunshineStacey

Ive had people asking me about private villa rental but as ive never done … Ive had people asking me about private villa rental but as ive never done this before i have not really known any, do you have any recommend? xx


I would never go back to hotel accommodation after staying in a villa.

e.g me & GF are staying here in may (total cost for flights (with hold luggage), accommodation & car hire = £290 per person

Frigiliana near Nerja was voted the prettiest village in Spain.

would be £190 per person if 4 sharing

holidaylettings.co.uk/ren…608

We use these for villa searches:-

villarenters.com/

holidaylettings.co.uk/sea…asp

ownersdirect.co.uk/sea…asp

homeaway.co.uk/

Original Poster

redhot999

The dilemma I always have is do I book a package deal early when launched … The dilemma I always have is do I book a package deal early when launched (25th April for Thomson 2014 holidays) or do I wait for the budget airlines to release flights and miss the low package deals. Waited for ryanair to release may half term flights to alicante or reus and they were ridiculously expensive. I reckon easyjet might release their may 2014 flights around July I think but no idea how much they will be. Tricky. Anyone got an opinion?



thats a the gamble see, hence why i have already started my Summer holiday thread for those that dont want to take the risk. Ryanair rarely reduce their prices hugely during holidays anyway, but ive waited for the simple points that a)im not paying the huge prices and b) i cant afford the huge prices.... something will come up im sure of it (or we get a new car instead lol)

Original Poster

brilly

tbh i am not sure about the luggage thing, i prefer the idea of spreading … tbh i am not sure about the luggage thing, i prefer the idea of spreading the stuff about where possible incase of losses.is it easier to replace clothes or to replace 'everything else' ?



well then it makes more sense not to pay for checked in luggage? you keep your travel bags with you at all times x

Original Poster

galareho

Just wondering what years your children are in? We used to be able to … Just wondering what years your children are in? We used to be able to take our eldest out of school in primary no problem (my oh's shifts give us special reason) but its completely different in high school. Some high schools wont allow it plus once they get to particular years they have so much going on there isnt available time to take them out. Our eldest is in yr10 and it would be impossible.Also, weve always booked acc and flights separately to get the best prices but this year have noticed a massive increase in prices (acc) for the Balearics compared to last year. We've decided to go to France instead!



yes my daughter is 14 now and just taken her options so we have decided not to take her out of school this year, we usually go around october time over half term for a couple of weeks so we do take about 5 days off. This year we have booked time off together in the summer we had to book the days back in january and we only have one week when both of us have to be back for work so we have no flexibility and the price hike to deal with!! if the prices dont come down so we can find something in our budget then its going to be very diffcult for me to resist a break in october.

If you approach the school and speak to them they are usually quite good, they can set extra work for the days missing, im lucky my daughter is really good keeps her work very up to date so they are great with us.

Original Poster

csiman

I would never go back to hotel accommodation after staying in a villa. … I would never go back to hotel accommodation after staying in a villa. e.g me & GF are staying here in may (total cost for flights (with hold luggage), accommodation & car hire = £290 per personFrigiliana near Nerja was voted the prettiest village in Spain. would be £190 per person if 4 sharinghttp://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/rentals/frigiliana/209608 We use these for villa searches:-http://www.villarenters.com/http://www.holidaylettings.co.uk/search_easy.asphttp://www.ownersdirect.co.uk/search_advanced.asphttp://www.homeaway.co.uk/



thank you for that information xx I will be sure to pass it onto anyone who asks on my threads xx

Your daughter is in yr9? You will find that, if your school is like ours, throughout yr10 they have continuous assessments ranging from tests to exams! Plus theres 2 weeks work experience and school trips (more assessments) too. I cant think of one week where theres nothing going on! If you need to take her out this year then do it as you will probably not get another chance in subsequent years. Oh and its also very stressful!!

Original Poster

galareho

Your daughter is in yr9? You will find that, if your school is like ours, … Your daughter is in yr9? You will find that, if your school is like ours, throughout yr10 they have continuous assessments ranging from tests to exams! Plus theres 2 weeks work experience and school trips (more assessments) too. I cant think of one week where theres nothing going on! If you need to take her out this year then do it as you will probably not get another chance in subsequent years. Oh and its also very stressful!!



it always takes me ages to work out what year she is in, im my day it was 1st year, 2nd year 3rd year high school and so on, shes in her 3rd year of high school, so yes year 9? lol im pants. We are really trying to avoid taking her out this year, we did say last year it would be the last... she is going to Disney Land Paris with the school later on in the year, apparently its for Science???lol

All that year 9 10 11 etc is very annoying. 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year senior etc is so much easier to work out a child's age.

I find mrandmrssmith.com/ is a good place to look for accomodation.

Or Airbnb

SunshineStacey

it always takes me ages to work out what year she is in, im my day it was … it always takes me ages to work out what year she is in, im my day it was 1st year, 2nd year 3rd year high school and so on, shes in her 3rd year of high school, so yes year 9? lol im pants. We are really trying to avoid taking her out this year, we did say last year it would be the last... she is going to Disney Land Paris with the school later on in the year, apparently its for Science???lol



Wow, thats good. My daughter has 1 night in Cumbria for Geography GCSE!! lol

Original Poster

galareho

Wow, thats good. My daughter has 1 night in Cumbria for Geography GCSE!! … Wow, thats good. My daughter has 1 night in Cumbria for Geography GCSE!! lol



it would be good if they let me arrange it, its costing a fortune ha ha ha ha ha

Last year she came home with a ski'ing trip letter it was £1,000, one Thousand pound for a school trip, I dont spend that on our family holiday lol. She actually said to me, im not even going to ask mum.

SunshineStacey

think that depends really if water were stronger it may be a surfing … think that depends really if water were stronger it may be a surfing holiday if fire is stronger it could be somewhere like the canaries?


hmm wind or lack of could ruin either holiday so perhaps neither is strongest.


SunshineStacey

well then it makes more sense not to pay for checked in luggage? you keep … well then it makes more sense not to pay for checked in luggage? you keep your travel bags with you at all times x


i wasn't meaning to take less luggage (thats pretty much always ideal) more to 'spread your bets'
stick more clothes in the big one and spread some of the more essential 'stuff' like chargers in hand luggage.
may be nice for everyone to hold a change of clothing for someone else too incase hand luggage is misplaced but then getting a bit paranoid by that point

..though i may be reading too much into what you said or didn't say and assuming like post #6.
Edited by: "brilly" 16th Apr 2013

We didnt do the skiing or PGL, she didnt want to thank goodness! She did want to do the German trip in yr9 though but the school cocked up and arranged it for when she was doing her statistics GCSE! She never went but were glad cos she ended up with an A*!

Original Poster

brilly

hmm wind or lack of could ruin either holiday so perhaps neither is … hmm wind or lack of could ruin either holiday so perhaps neither is strongest.i wasn't meaning to take less luggage (thats pretty much always ideal) more to 'spread your bets'stick more clothes in the big one and spread some of the more essential 'stuff' like chargers in hand luggage. may be nice for everyone to hold a change of clothing for someone else too incase hand luggage is misplaced but then getting a bit paranoid by that point :)..though i may be reading too much into what you said or didn't say and assuming like post #6.



wow i thought i was bad making 12 copies of all the paperwork and spreading them out between every bag and making everyone have copies in their pockets too

Original Poster

galareho

We didnt do the skiing or PGL, she didnt want to thank goodness! She did … We didnt do the skiing or PGL, she didnt want to thank goodness! She did want to do the German trip in yr9 though but the school cocked up and arranged it for when she was doing her statistics GCSE! She never went but were glad cos she ended up with an A*!



wow thats excellent! Congrats to your daughter

We have had many trips organised and then cancelled as not enough opt to go - the cost awful!

Mark2111

All that year 9 10 11 etc is very annoying. 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd … All that year 9 10 11 etc is very annoying. 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year senior etc is so much easier to work out a child's age.



Easy formula, get the child's age, and minus 5. That'll be the year that they'll be in. Or vice versa, child's year and plus 5 to get their age:P

Original Poster

pulsex0r

Easy formula, get the child's age, and minus 5. That'll be the year that … Easy formula, get the child's age, and minus 5. That'll be the year that they'll be in. Or vice versa, child's year and plus 5 to get their age:P



ahhhhhhhhh genius lol wish someone had told me that years ago,

ive been booking my own hoildays for years im goin alcudia end of sept for 5 days family off 4 half board great hotel ,flights,hotel and transfers and 1 case .booked with on the beach ,monarch ,and holiday taxis cost 650 .exact holiday when i asked thomson was over 1000 pound

monarch have great offer code big25

25 pound per person off your flight

why pay middle man

Thank you Stacey for this advice. Your effort is much appreciated.
I am hoping to book a Ryanair flight this week. The funds in my bank arent great, so I was hoping to buy the flights, then pay to add a case or two when I check in online the week before we go. Is there an extra charge for doing this, or am I better to pay for extra luggage at time of booking?
Thank you
X

Original Poster

natsbee

Thank you Stacey for this advice. Your effort is much appreciated. I am … Thank you Stacey for this advice. Your effort is much appreciated. I am hoping to book a Ryanair flight this week. The funds in my bank arent great, so I was hoping to buy the flights, then pay to add a case or two when I check in online the week before we go. Is there an extra charge for doing this, or am I better to pay for extra luggage at time of booking? Thank you X



I dont think so, as far as i know you can amend your booking at any time up to a few hours before you travel, i would check this out though or maybe another membe can clarify this point? xxxx

seems a very interesting thread.

any tips for places like Forest Holidays etc?

Original Poster

EN1GMA

any tips for places like Forest Holidays etc?



is forest holidays a company or do you mean like going to stay in the forest? ha ha ha ha xxxxx

Hi Stace

yeah its a company which have cabin type props in various 'forests' around the country. lovely places but damn its dear..would love to go in the summer with the kids..just a relaxing place.

forestholidays.co.uk/?mk…APA


does not have to be with that company...any other companies offering similar stuff would be most welcome..

Original Poster

EN1GMA

Hi Staceyeah its a company which have cabin type props in various … Hi Staceyeah its a company which have cabin type props in various 'forests' around the country. lovely places but damn its dear..would love to go in the summer with the kids..just a relaxing place. http://www.forestholidays.co.uk/?mkwid=s3i34Lqio&pcrid=19183178451&kword=forest%20holidays&match=e&plid=&gclid=CJLTuZmRz7YCFdQctAodO3kAPAdoes not have to be with that company...any other companies offering similar stuff would be most welcome..



ooo im not really sure to be honest, I think the best thing to do for those type of holidays is to keep your eyes peeled for discount codes in the voucher forums and/or deals in the in the newspapers xxx

StaceyAKelly

it would be good if they let me arrange it, its costing a fortune ha ha … it would be good if they let me arrange it, its costing a fortune ha ha ha ha ha Last year she came home with a ski'ing trip letter it was £1,000, one Thousand pound for a school trip, I dont spend that on our family holiday lol. She actually said to me, im not even going to ask mum.



WOW!!!!!

how many kids actually went??

that skiing trip wouldn't have been an academic trip, just an excuse for the kids to get drunk, buy p0rn playing cards and set off bangers, i.e completely extra-curricular.

try traveling for 9 or 10 days, a few days before half term, returning a … try traveling for 9 or 10 days, a few days before half term, returning a few days after this means you save a packet on flights and only 2-3 days holiday need to be taken from school.I know that a lot of you out there already know how to work the system, but there are many of you who do not and I’m hoping that by sharing what I know more of you can take advantage



just for the avoidance of doubt, you, an official HDUK helper, are advocating that people take their children out of school so that they can have a cheaper holiday? i must say, that's rather irresponsible.

Original Poster

magicbeans

WOW!!!!!how many kids actually went??



im not sure but the trip did run as plenty of her friends went! shocking isnt it

Original Poster

upset brown pant

that skiing trip wouldn't have been an academic trip, just an excuse for … that skiing trip wouldn't have been an academic trip, just an excuse for the kids to get drunk, buy p0rn playing cards and set off bangers, i.e completely extra-curricular.just for the avoidance of doubt, you, an official HDUK helper, are advocating that people take their children out of school so that they can have a cheaper holiday? i must say, that's rather irresponsible.



im not advocating anything lol im telling you what I do.

In any event whether it not its irresponsible is a matter of opinion. I dont think its irresponsible at all. only taking your children to school 3 days a week because you cant get up would be considered irresponsible, or letting them take time of as and when they pleased would be irresponsible. Taking the children on holiday without the consent of the school would be irresponsible, for which you can be fined. Every parent is enttiled to put in a holiday request for a child its the schools discretion whether or not that holiday is approved. You will usually find that if your child has good attendance the school supports the parential choice to holiday during term time especially for working parents.

the part in bold below doesn't sound like you just saying what you do, it sounds awfully like you are recommending others to do the same. I am saying that this encouragement to "work the system" is the irresponsible part, not what you do with your own children.

try traveling for 9 or 10 days, a few days before half term, returning a … try traveling for 9 or 10 days, a few days before half term, returning a few days after this means you save a packet on flights and only 2-3 days holiday need to be taken from school.I know that a lot of you out there already know how to work the system, but there are many of you who do not and I’m hoping that by sharing what I know more of you can take advantage

Original Poster

upset brown pant

the part in bold below doesn't sound like you just saying what you do, it … the part in bold below doesn't sound like you just saying what you do, it sounds awfully like you are recommending others to do the same. I am saying that this encouragement to "work the system" is the irresponsible part, not what you do with your own children.



the "encouraging to work the system" is to cut out the middle man and get cheap holidays? if you dont want to do that i can recommend Thomas Cook, First Choice and Thompson, all of whom i have used in the past, not had a fantastic service but paid over the odds?

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