There is much to be said for the old fashioned travel agent-style package holiday, because let’s face it, there is no stress or planning involved in it – you just go with your dates, say where you want to go and you’re sorted.
Despite that, I prefer to book my holiday myself, with all facets picked out personally. Why? This way I know that every part of my break is perfect for my needs, and if anything goes wrong, well I can only blame myself!
It can be daunting to do this all for the first time, but it just literally take a little planning. I actually enjoy it, finding deals and grabbing bargains. Saving money is one of the advantages of booking a holiday this way, because you can grab deals and put them into your own personal package. For instance, I recently grabbed a bargain on Stansted parking, and tied it into my other travel plans. I then don’t need to book an expensive train or coach, and I know I won’t be stressed out when I get to the airport. If this sounds like a good idea to you, then check out Airparks for fantastic deals, and see for yourself how much you could save.
The flight is obviously the first thing you need to look into, because you don’t have that much flexibility on this score. If you can be a little flexible with your date and day of travel then you’ll find better deals. For example, flying at the weekend is always more expensive than flying mid-week, so if you’re able to leave on a Tuesday or Wednesday then you will probably find you save money that way.
I peruse Skyscanner when I’m looking for a flight, and I find a few options, before narrowing it down. I don’t jump for the first flight I see, instead I watch the price for a few days, and see if it goes down. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t, but once it’s booked, don’t look again because you’ll feel a little sick if the price dips!
Once your flight is booked, you need to start looking at somewhere to stay. This is where the fun starts, because you have endless choice. Alpha Rooms, Travel Republic, Sunshine etc, these are all good sites to find cheap deals and to compare different hotels. Again, I narrow it down to a few and then I check reviews on Trip Advisor, before deciding on my final option. Be sure to find out exactly where the hotel is in terms of proximity to the area you want to be in. For example, it’s no good choosing a cheap hotel for the price, and then finding you have to pay for a taxi to get to the centre of town, that’s just false economy.
You can easily book your transfer from the airport to the hotel on the sites I just mentioned, but if there are several of you, look into booking a private transfer and splitting the cost, because you will often find when the price is split, you’ll end up spending the same as a shuttle bus with several drop offs along the way.
Then, guess what, everything is booked.