Get the best value holiday in 2012

Research from TravelSupermarket has found that price will be the number one consideration for British holidaymakers in 2012 – beating factors such as accommodation and even weather. So, make sure that you are one of the growing number of savvy travel shoppers this year.

Despite household budgets being squeezed, Brits are prioritising holidays in 2012 with 96% planning on taking at least one break. However, according to research by TravelSupermarket, British holidaymakers are expecting to get more for their travel budget.

In 2011, Brits spent an average of £829 on their main holiday (flights and accommodation) but in 2012 they plan to spend just £642. This doesn’t mean that holidaymakers are necessarily compromising though, and 26% of the Brits TravelSupermarket asked actually wanted to take a longer break in 2012 than they managed in 2011.

Bob Atkinson, travel expert at TravelSupermarket, said: “Brits are clearly looking to get their holiday budgets to work harder for them this year, aiming to get away on a longer break than they did in 2011. It’s a typical case of wanting more for less.

“This may seem unrealistic, but there are set to be some real bargains out there for 2012, so many may well achieve this, particularly if they are flexible about where they go and when.”

Here we offer advice on getting the best value holiday this year…

Value for money destinations

Choosing the right destination can shave hundreds off the price of a holiday so, if you are looking to make your money go further, do your research before you set your heart on a certain resort.

Holidays to Spain will offer excellent value for money in 2012. From resorts such as Benidorm to the Costa del Sol’s Marbella, beach breaks galore will be up for grabs. And for year-round sunshine and duty free shopping there’s the Canary Islands where a huge choice of accommodation – from all-inclusive five-star hotels to basic budget hotels - means that you’ll be able to find a deal to suit you.

Affordable long-haul options in 2012 will include the Spanish Caribbean destinations of Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, and the Mexican coast around Cancun. If you opt for an all-inclusive break in these destinations and shop around for the best price, you should be able to bag an exotic holiday for less than £1,000.

Read a full list of destinations to visit for less in 2012 by TravelSupermarket’s travel expert, Bob Atkinson.


Maximise your spending money

When planning your holiday, don’t forget about spending money and include this as part of your overall holiday budget. According to TravelSupermarket’s research, the average Brit plans to take £450 per person with them on their main holiday this year – just over £47 a day. So, to make your spending money go further, do your homework and find out how expensive the resort is you are visiting.

The Post Office have compiled a Worldwide Holiday Costs Barometer which shows that Sri Lanka is the cheapest of 40 holiday destinations when it comes to buying eight popular tourist items (including a three-course evening meal for two with a bottle of wine, a cup of coffee, a bottle of local beer, a bottle/can of Coca-Cola and 1.5 litres of mineral water from a supermarket). The total cost in Bentota, Sri Lanka for the eight items came to £27.95.

Closer to home, Spain is Europe’s cheapest holiday destination when it comes to spending money, according to the Post Office, with the eight items on the Post Office’s list costing £37.72 in total. This just beat the Czech Republic’s £39.57 and Bulgaria’s £39.65.

The Post Office Travel Money research also found that resort prices in the Costa del Sol are currently 40% lower than they were five years ago, and this coupled with the cheaper cost of travel to Spain plus the rising value of the UK pound make holidaying in the country extremely good value this year.

How to find the best deal

When you have decided where you want to go, when you can travel and have set your budget, don’t rush and book the first “deal” that you see. Shop around using a price-comparison site such as TravelSupermarket and look carefully at holidays from different companies side by side. Data from searches on TravelSupermarket in December revealed that customers on the site will save, on average, £150 per holiday. Based on the Post Office’s prices, this saving will buy 82 bottles of beer in the Costa del Sol and six three-course meals for two with wine.

Paying for your holiday

If you’ve shopped around and managed to find a brilliant deal, don’t waste all of your hard work when it comes to paying for your holiday.

TravelSupermarket’s research found that 19% of British holidaymakers are relying on a credit card to pay for their main break this year. If this is your plan, make sure that you use a credit card that charges 0% interest on purchases so you can split your monthly payments without incurring any charges. And don’t forget when the interest-free period ends or you could start to be charged unwelcome interest.

Good 0% options include the Marks & Spencer Credit card which offers a 15-month introductory interest-free period, and the Nationwide Building Society Select Card which offers an 18-month introductory interest-free period (but is only available to existing Nationwide customers).

Don’t blow your budget on the extras

To really make sure that your travel budget goes further in 2012, don’t waste unnecessary money by buying all of your extras such as travel insurance and travel money in a rush at the last minute. Significant savings can be made if you shop around and book any extras in advance. For example, we found that the difference between buying travel money online in advance and at the airport last minute can be as high as 12.95%. This is a difference of £185.23 when buying €1,500.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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