As every parent of school-age kids knows, travelling at Easter can be a bit pricey. But with a bit of canny planning and savvy money management, you can escape the UK without spending a small fortune.
But, there’s a huge amount of choice out there, so how do you get started? First, consider some of our tips and tricks for getting the best deals.
Tips to get the best deals
1. Find a package holiday: FairFX has been speaking to travel industry insiders to get their behind-the-scenes tips. One former Thomas Cook travel agent said: “I would always book my holidays through an agent as a package so that I have 100% financial protection and 24/7 care” while a former travel adviser for Going Places added: “Travel agents can price match online sometimes; they give great advice and can help give personal tips to make your holiday more enjoyable.”
2. Book a holiday on a Monday: This is another insider tip. “Booking a holiday on a Monday can sometimes help you get a better deal, as prices are sometimes dropped to try and entice customers who’ve had quotes at the weekend but not completed a booking” says the former Thomas Cook travel adviser, who added: “When it comes to flights, Tuesday or Wednesday is usually the cheapest day for scheduled flights and as a general rule, you’ll usually get a better price on mid-week options as prices are hiked for weekends.”
3. Search the web: Use a price comparison site such as Kayak or TravelSupermarket to compare the price of flights and accommodation before booking. Also try flash sale sites including Holiday Pirates, Travelzoo and Secret Escapes for bargains. Don’t forget to check what deals are available from traditional tour operators such as Tui and Virgin Holidays.
4. Haggle: Cast aside any reservations you might have about haggling and try your luck to push prices lower – you might just save yourself some cash. Consumer site Which? recommends you first find your dream trip, before using comparison site prices as a benchmark – preferably keeping identical flights – and then ring a few agents to see if they can beat the best quote.
5. Beware of airline add-ons: Check carefully what’s included with your flights before you book to avoid getting hit by unexpected costs. The ‘no frills’ flights offered by some of the most well-known airlines and travel operators in the UK require holidaymakers to pay for any ‘extras’ such as selecting seats on a flight to ensure they can sit by their family or travel companion and adding luggage to the hold if the included cabin luggage allowance isn’t enough.
Easter break inspiration
So, no you’re all set for finding the best deal it’s time to decide where you should consider for a getaway this Easter? Here are some wallet-friendly destinations for travelling at what can be an expensive time of year.
Hit the beach in Spain’s Costa Brava
There are plenty of last-minute deals to be had in the Costa Brava, where it’s also normally nice and mild in Spring, averaging highs of 19 degrees celsius.
Love Holidays has an Easter week in the Alba Seleqtta Hotel at Lloret de Mar for a reduced £213 per person, including flights.
There’s no great need to stray too far from the swimming pool or beach if you want to save money on kids’ activities, but for a cheap day trip you could head off to explore one of the region’s many castles or botanical gardens.
You also do get more for your pounds than you did a year ago, after a 4% rise against the euro. You can also eat cheaply on the Costa Brava by seeking out a menú del día (set-price meal).
Enjoy Turkey’s natural charms
If you really want to stretch your pounds, you could swap Spain for Turkey, where the pound has risen nearly 15% against the New Turkish lira over the past year.
You can pick up a week’s stay in the Ramada Resort Hotel in Lara Beach, Antalya, for £372 per person using Love Holidays, which gives the resort five stars. Turkey’s Turquoise Coast has plenty of natural charms, but to keep the kids amused, you could check out the highly-rated Antalya Toy Museum, which is full of toys from around the world. It’s small, but cheap to boot.
After a day of keeping the kids amused, eating out typically comes cheap in Turkey, with a three-course meal for two people, at a mid-range restaurant, costing an average of around £11.50.
A city break in Budapest, Hungary
Inject a little culture into your children’s lives and take them to beautiful Budapest. That’s not to say there isn’t loads of kid-appropriate fun on offer too: puppet theatres, folk music and dance evenings in which kids can participate are all among reasons Lonely Planet strongly suggests the Hungarian capital for a family-friendly getaway.
Also, it makes financial sense: it’s a good time to visit Hungary the as the pound has gained 11% against the Hungarian forint over the past year.
The best value hotels in the city, according to TripAdvisor, include City Hotel Palvax, Baltazar Budapest and The Three Corners Hotel Bristol. Meanwhile, a three-course meal for two people, at a mid-range restaurant, tends to cost around £26 – not bad considering it’s a European capital.
Pack your bags for an Argentine adventure
The Andes mountains, Gaucho culture and… world-famous steak. Yes, it’s Argentina.
A long-haul trip to South America never comes cheap, but if you’re after a once-in-a-lifetime family holiday, now is the time to do it: the pound has gained 61% against the Argentine peso over the last year.
Also, once you’re there, it’s easy on your pocket: on average, you can get a three-course meal for two people, at a mid-range restaurant, for less than £16.50. That’s not to mention the cheap, but delicious range of street food on offer (start with some empanadas if you’re struggling).
In fact, Buenos Aires has been recently described as the ‘best-value city break on earth’; for accommodation, try looking at AirBnB – rentals in the city’s Palermo district can be found from £15 per night. What’s more, an increasing number of low-cost airlines such as Norwegian have started serving the city.
It’s likely to be a slightly more adventurous option for a holiday with kids, but they’ll be well catered for: from the capital Buenos Aires’ museums and parks, to the beaches, wildlife and waterfalls.
How to get the most from your spending money
So, you’ve found yourself a great deal and decided where to go, now it’s time to think about getting the most from your spending money. Try following these simple tips for spending abroad: