Wednesday, 28 September 2016

When school holiday comes



Another school holiday soon so we can guess the cost of going away will rocket again as well as it will be more crowded in the airports and on the roads. Let's think what we can do to make our trips easier and maybe less expensive.

Avoid first day of holiday if you don't have to go that day. The best option could be to go few days earlier before school holidays officially start, but it is theoretically illegal...
Of course we have to think about it bit earlier during our booking process. And this one is absolutely crucial. Book everything well in advance. It is not definitely decided when is the best time to book. Some say 30 days before, some others are even more specific – it can be for example 57 days. Well, it depends of the airline or providers of other services.
However we know that when they're released, they're usually priced cheaply, then this can change quickly depending on how many are booking. So one can bet that day of launching them will be cheaper than last days before flight. Accommodation can be double the price during peak seasons, flights – can cost even more. And of course it is advisable to book online. Even admissions, car parking and meal deals - everything should be better priced.

To find cheapest flights find go to Kayak, Skyscanner, TravelSup, Booking Buddy. We also heard about Easyjet's Flexifares. They let you switch dates by a few weeks without paying extra.  The original idea of saving was to book a Flexifare on the same route at a less busy time when flights are cheaper. Unfortunately we've noticed it costs much more than a standard flight (like £230 instead of £60) and it is probably not worth trying anymore.
It is possible that you will pay less for the same flight purchased via partner airlines. Yes, they can be cheaper then original airline who actually provide the planes. It may be also worth to consider indirect flights.

When it is finally your travel day, always arrive early enough to the airport. During the peak season everything will be busier, queues will be longer, and check-ins will be slower. You will notice even more intensive traffic before the airports.We reserve at least 3 hours of time before our flight.

If you drive
There is also completely different option - a self drive holiday. You will leave all that problem with abnormally priced airline tickets and crowd in airport for others. You will save a lot, for the cost of longer travel.
But don't forget about booking Eurotunnel or a ferry, but there are promotions and Flexifare tickets too. Maybe it is worth to sign up to their newsletters to be informed about such offers early enough.
Just bear in mind that as schools break up for holidays the UK's major roads will be seriously crowded. the first Friday of the school holidays - probably the worst day of the year for traffic Same when you drive back. So again avoid first and last day of school holiday and start your travel early.
When you don't go by your car but want to use one at your destination book your vehicle hire ASAP after finding your holiday. Few months before you can get it for under £10/day. Later it can be 3 times more – if you find a car at all... And in this case it is convenient to use comparison sites.

Accommodation
Common sense suggests searching multiple websites when booking your accommodation. So we use travel agents websites, DIY holidays websites and first of all comparison sites. Not only because they deliver so many results you can compare, but for their tools and functionalities to improve your search and find best possible deals. And by the way – do not forget about hotels' own websites. They may be still the cheapest.
And there is always an option of completely independent holidays, especially when you go with a family or group. Apartments, bungalows or villas from private owners should be better priced than hotels. It is easy to find an holiday accommodation for under £500 per week even in high season in southern Europe. Consider taking a house little bit further from a sea front. Probably you will rent a car anyway, so why not to drive for 5 minutes, instead of walking for 10?

When you stick to the hotel option and buying from a travel company, try secret hotels. They should offer serious discounts. You don't know where you will actually stay, it is little bit tricky, but you still have guaranteed certain level like 3-5 star hotels and you are still at the destination you have chosen.
One more tip about a place where you will holiday - forget about visiting the most popular places, and try to find some new location which is lesser-known and should be less crowded during peak times.
When school holiday comes

Another school holiday soon so we can guess the cost of going away will rocket again as well as it will be more crowded in the airports and on the roads. Let's think what we can do to make our trips easier and maybe less expensive.

Avoid first day of holiday if you don't have to go that day. The best option could be to go few days earlier before school holidays officially start, but it is theoretically illegal...
Of course we have to think about it bit earlier during our booking process. And this one is absolutely crucial. Book everything well in advance. It is not definitely decided when is the best time to book. Some say 30 days before, some others are even more specific – it can be for example 57 days. Well, it depends of the airline or providers of other services.
However we know that when they're released, they're usually priced cheaply, then this can change quickly depending on how many are booking. So one can bet that day of launching them will be cheaper than last days before flight. Accommodation can be double the price during peak seasons, flights – can cost even more. And of course it is advisable to book online. Even admissions, car parking and meal deals - everything should be better priced.

To find cheapest flights find go to Kayak, Skyscanner, TravelSup, Booking Buddy. We also heard about Easyjet's Flexifares. They let you switch dates by a few weeks without paying extra.  The original idea of saving was to book a Flexifare on the same route at a less busy time when flights are cheaper. Unfortunately we've noticed it costs much more than a standard flight (like £230 instead of £60) and it is probably not worth trying anymore.
It is possible that you will pay less for the same flight purchased via partner airlines. Yes, they can be cheaper then original airline who actually provide the planes. It may be also worth to consider indirect flights.

When it is finally your travel day, always arrive early enough to the airport. During the peak season everything will be busier, queues will be longer, and check-ins will be slower. You will notice even more intensive traffic before the airports.We reserve at least 3 hours of time before our flight.

If you drive
There is also completely different option - a self drive holiday. You will leave all that problem with abnormally priced airline tickets and crowd in airport for others. You will save a lot, for the cost of longer travel.
But don't forget about booking Eurotunnel or a ferry, but there are promotions and Flexifare tickets too. Maybe it is worth to sign up to their newsletters to be informed about such offers early enough.
Just bear in mind that as schools break up for holidays the UK's major roads will be seriously crowded. the first Friday of the school holidays - probably the worst day of the year for traffic Same when you drive back. So again avoid first and last day of school holiday and start your travel early.
When you don't go by your car but want to use one at your destination book your vehicle hire ASAP after finding your holiday. Few months before you can get it for under £10/day. Later it can be 3 times more – if you find a car at all... And in this case it is convenient to use comparison sites.

Accommodation
Common sense suggests searching multiple websites when booking your accommodation. So we use travel agents websites, DIY holidays websites and first of all comparison sites. Not only because they deliver so many results you can compare, but for their tools and functionalities to improve your search and find best possible deals. And by the way – do not forget about hotels' own websites. They may be still the cheapest.
And there is always an option of completely independent holidays, especially when you go with a family or group. Apartments, bungalows or villas from private owners should be better priced than hotels. It is easy to find an holiday accommodation for under £500 per week even in high season in southern Europe. Consider taking a house little bit further from a sea front. Probably you will rent a car anyway, so why not to drive for 5 minutes, instead of walking for 10?

When you stick to the hotel option and buying from a travel company, try secret hotels. They should offer serious discounts. You don't know where you will actually stay, it is little bit tricky, but you still have guaranteed certain level like 3-5 star hotels and you are still at the destination you have chosen.
One more tip about a place where you will holiday - forget about visiting the most popular places, and try to find some new location which is lesser-known and should be less crowded during peak times.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

DIY holidays will cost you less



One of the ways of organizing affordable holiday seems to be renting accommodation directly from the owner. However it is not always possible and lacks guarantees that can be provided by institutional holiday providers. What to do then? Use some of the platforms that connect holiday home owners and holidaymakers. You can find something really cheap and still comfortable.

Mirador del Mediterraneo
Yes it is quite common opinion that tour operators buy hotel places and flights in bulk and for that reason accommodation delivered buy them should be cheaper. Unfortunately it is not always the case. One can hardly find offers as cheap as on those renting platforms. And some of them seem to be even more secure and providing higher level of security than travel companies. Tripadvisor, Booking.com, Homeaway etc. are also big international companies in good financial condition and they do not depend on so many circumstances resulting from current political or economical situation. They just connect clients to property owners and charge a commission for that.
So yes, it is not like this that you pay directly to those who let their properties. And they keep the money for some time between a moment of booking and checking in. However, we may consider that as one of security precautions.
The offer is huge, there is always something to rent. And now, after high season one can find rooms, houses or apartments in nice, warm, sunny location for incredibly low price. For example check this little cosy apartment in Costa Blanca.
Moreover, we pay for whole accommodation - what makes it even cheaper. And having whole apartment for our own disposal provides us with space we cannot have for our private usage in hotels.
We may be asked to pay additionally for cleaning but it is because the property is so cheap that the owner would not earn much if he was suppose to pay for cleaning. Other quite common fee is a small deposit, but those who do not demolish places where they stay won't have any problem with that.
Another convenient feature of this type of holidays is fact that we are able to find an accomodation for any day we choose. So for example when we find some cheap airline fares for certain dates - we may book a place to stay for exactly that time. Plus many of the owners can provide us - or advise us about an option of aiport transfer cheaper than in any bigger company.
So - time for DIY holidays!
   

Monday, 19 September 2016

Keep it as an example


It is already known people who booked holidays with bankrupt Lowcostholidays will not get back more than £7.15  from its administrators. The only way they recover some of the payments is applying to their credit or debit card issuers. Hopefully this case will work for future holidaymakers as an example of how important it is to obtain proper travel insurance and pay in the right way - by credit cards.

Lowcostholidays sign
Online travel firm Lowcosttravelgroup went into administration in July. Bosses of a bust holiday firm have blamed the UK’s ‘turbulent financial environment’ and current political situation in some countries for their problems.
Around 27,000 of their customers were in resorts while 110,000 were suppose to travel. Most were planning holidays in the sun, due to a time of a year.
Some of those in resorts were asked by hotel suppliers, transfer suppliers or even car parking suppliers to pay them locally. People waiting for their holidays could have their flight tickets paid but rather not accommodation. Some of them decided to search for new hotels and use the travel arrangements already paid.

Anyway, everybody wanted to recover what they lost. The problem is the company moved to the Balearics in 2013 and was not an ATOL protected company, so Brits were not insured against its bankruptcy.
The administrators issued an advice to Lowcostholidays clients advising them to apply to their cards providers or travel insurance providers. And some  made successful chargeback claims from their bank after paying for the holiday even with debit cards. But many still await for something to be paid by administrators.
Unfortunately they cannot count on any serious payments. It has been revealed by administrators Smith & Williamson they will only be able able to refund customers around £7.14 each... The Spanish subsidiary, Lowcostholidays Spain SL, had a bond of just £1.1 million with the authorities in Mallorca which would provide just 1 or 2% compensation – equivalent to £7.14 per customer.
According to administrators report the total estimated shortfall from the group runs into "tens of millions of pounds". Exact figure is still to be calculated. However in the meantime it had become clear that when Lowcost Travel ceased trading it owed an estimated £75 million with less than £10 million in assets.
"We have spoken to some of Lowcostholidays' customers. Many of them simply even didn't consider taking any special travel insurance. Others do not understand how important is that their holiday provider is a member of ATOL and ABTA. And there are still some who don't know if they have any travel insurance on their credit cards." - says spokesman for Best Sun Holidays, online service which cooperates with DIY holidays companies.