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Article by David Leck | 15th August 2018

Bargain Hunters

The cheap holiday may not be entirely gone but finding a bargain is no longer a given. INDEX went in search of some ideas as well as tips for making your travel budget go further…

It’s a fact: travel has become more expensive for us Brits and it’s now about careful research and identifying value rather than sitting back waiting for a deal. The reality is you’ll be one lucky camper (now, there’s a bargain option!) if you can bag an offer right now. Throw in a beleaguered pound and industry consolidation and you may need a holiday before you’ve even dragged the suitcase out of the attic.

It isn’t all doom and gloom though and, given we are known to fiercely guard the non-negotiable trip away even when times are taxing, what are the options if you’re still trying to get away before summer’s out?

Most tour operator websites have a “late deals” section. This is not only the best place to start if you have a destination in mind but it could also generate inspiration for somewhere you’ve not considered. If you’re booking last minute, remember the mantra “buyer beware” – don’t jump in just because it looks cheap; check what’s included and, more importantly, what’s not.

Turkey remains a good option and you should still find availability. However, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) says bookings for Portugal, Greece and Cyprus have been strong and choice is likely to be limited. It’s worth noting though that certain long-haul destinations are now better value than they’ve been for a while.

It’s never an exact science but operators report the last two weeks of the holidays (which more often than not coincide with exam results) tend to offer better availability.

Check out our pick of the best...

Norway

A six-night trip to the Norwegian Fjords is designed to highlight the best of this breath-taking area whilst taking part in some great activities. Sail on a small ship into the heart of stunning scenery and kayak in the tranquil and wildlife-rich waters that surround Ålesund – a lovely town filled with Art Nouveau buildings and fine restaurants. The cost is from £1,025 excluding flights and departures are until 20th August with Artisan Travel (www.artisantravel.co.uk). Also in Norway, Rail Discoveries (www.raildiscoveries.com*) has availability on its Essential Norway seven-day tour from £1,185 including flights.

* To book locally, call 01732 351223 or visit www.baldwinstravel.co.uk 

South Africa

In September from Trailfinders (www.trailfinders.com) comes a week in South Africa split between Cape Town and the wine lands of Stellenbosch. The price (from £899) includes flights and three days’ car hire at a saving of more than £200 per couple, which, together with one of the best value currencies against the pound, make this long-haul option a bit of a bargain.

Thailand

Fourteen nights for the price of seven at the Best Western Premier Bangtao Beach Resort and Spa in Phuket from £799 including flights is offered by Trailfinders (www.trailfinders.com) in September. The deal incorporates an impressive seven free nights – a saving of around £580 per couple.

Florida

Trailfinders (www.trailfinders.com) has a number of great offers if you can travel in September. The US is pricey at the moment given a strong dollar but with seven nights in Miami staying at the Four Points By Sheraton Miami Beach from £799, including flights and one free night, at least there’s more of the budget left to enjoy one of the Sunshine State’s most stylish corners.

Greece

The Anastasia Apartments in Samos feature a freshwater pool surrounded by olive trees. The long beach in tranquil Votsalakia is only a three-minute walk away and there’s a good choice of tavernas and shops within a short stroll. Departing 10th August, a seven-night self-catering holiday costs £716 based on two adults and two children sharing a one-bedroom apartment including flights and transfers with Sunvil (www.sunvil.co.uk). For the single traveller, Solos (www.solosholidays.co.uk*) has August availability in Crete and Corfu with prices starting from £869 including flights.

* To book locally, call 01732 351223 or visit www.baldwinstravel.co.uk

Taking your pound further

Some of the better value destinations when it comes to sterling are long-haul but they’re worth considering if you’re flexible on dates and there’s a place that’s long been on the bucket list.

Canada

The Canadian dollar is now some 7% weaker against sterling than it was four years ago and, with some good flight prices, it’s certainly a better bet than the US for value.

Argentina

Okay, it’s a long way but if this vast, frequently stunning South American giant is on your list now may be the time – the pound goes a whopping 46% further than it did two years ago.

Egypt

Not all of Egypt remains off-limits on Foreign Office advice and areas such as those along the Nile are open for business. The Egyptian pound is 45% better value than last year.

Turkey

Despite political turbulence, most of Turkey gets the green light for travel. The Lira is down 6% against the pound in the past year.

Brazil

Oh how times change! A few years ago Brazil was being proudly cited as one of the new tiger economies. Your pound now goes almost 10% further there than it did in 2014.

South Africa

Yes, it’s long-haul and, yes, it’s not summer in the southern hemisphere but South Africa remains incredibly good value.

Images: Solos Holiday, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Sunvil Holidays, Artisan Travel, Visit Norway, Per Eide

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