Top family travel tips for 2013
How to bag a family holiday bargain and other tips
In the January issue of Candis we travel to Turkey’s Lycian coast, and if it’s inspired you to book your family holidays for this summer, this advice on bagging a bargain will be invaluable.
- Read the reviews. There are plenty of websites that have reviews from genuine verified holidaymakers, including TripAdvisor and Expedia. These can often reveal small details that you wouldn’t necessarily find out elsewhere, like how dark the room is your little ones need help getting to sleep, which rooms are near the disco, whether you can open the windows for fresh air, how well the wifi works or how willing the staff are to go the extra mile for you.
- Think about what you need from your hotel. It’s too easy to end up paying extra for facilities you won’t actually use – some excellent three-star hotels provide the service quality of a four-star but without some of the facilities. If you plan to eat out and explore local cafes, consider a room-only rate as including breakfast can often increase the price significantly.
- Consider what you want from your destination. Sun, sea and sand are only a few hours away in Greece and Spain, so you don’t have to spend the earth or keep youngsters entertained for longer than necessary.
- Holiday rentals are increasingly popular with families. Choose from city centre apartments, beach villas and country houses, and TripAdvisor even offer treehouses and private islands! It can prove especially cost-effective for groups of four or more travelling for at least a week.
- Consider going all-inclusive. It’s becoming more popular with Brits concerned about overspending while on holiday, largely because of evening meals, daytime snacks and drinks and evening drinks at the bar. According to First Choice 57% of holidaymakers overspent while on holiday last year and it reckons a family of four could save £511 a week on an all-inclusive holiday versus a similar B&B-only trip.
- Check luggage regulations. Don’t take more than you need or you can end up paying huge extra charges. Adding luggage when you book can be cheaper than adding it at the airport. Airline luggage regulations vary, so check whether they only allow one bag (including handbags and duty free) and whether they have a weight and /or size restriction.
- Don’t wait till the last minute. In the vast majority of cases flights go up rather than down. Package holidays may get cheaper as tour operators need to sell their pre-booked allocation, but if you have a specific location in mind you will have more choice by booking in advance.
- Get in first. To be the first to hear about the latest deals and special offers, subscribe to company emails and like or ‘fan’ their Facebook deals.
- Book your flight and hotel together to save. Travel specialist expedia.co.uk reckons their customers save more than £200 on average by doing this. Plus, booking two significant parts of your trip together also means that you are covered by EU package regulations, so the travel agent has an obligation to offer added support and protection in cases such as airline bankruptcy.
- Save money by flying early. The first flights of the day are often cheaper and there are fewer chances of delays. However, it might not be worth it if it means you and the family arrive exhausted and fractious, so consider staying in an airport hotel the night before. If you use airport parking with hotel at candis.co.uk/benefits, you could still save money by doing this.
- Make sure you’re covered. Read policies and terms and conditions carefully – if you think there is a chance you may need to cancel or rearrange your trip, make sure you book a refundable flight and/or hotel. It may cost slightly more initially, but it could cost a lot more if you do need to change your plans.
- Make sure you have travel insurance. Schemes like ATOL will offer protection if the supplier you booked with goes bankrupt, but they won’t necessarily cover you for adverse weather conditions or ash clouds or personal injury abroad, and overseas medical costs can be considerable – especially in the US. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a very useful checklist for travellers. Don’t forget your candis.co.uk/benefits to see what Candis travel insurance can do for you.
- Check a wide variety of airports for the best deals. Travelling that little bit further might make all the difference in price.