How to find a cheap sunny holiday
The best travel websites
Looking for a great package bargain for the family holiday? The power of the internet has opened up a world of opportunities for the amateur travel agent. Here is our pick of the best travel websites.
Not so long ago, the process of researching and booking our travel was a decidedly uninspiring affair. There we sat, staring at the wrong side of a monitor, carefully scanning our travel agents face for any tell-tale expression forewarning us of price, availability and even location. Information was drip-fed, with the agent as guardian of an impenetrably complex system of alpha-numeric code, which essentially amounted to our two weeks in the sun.
Then the Internet arrived. A revolution and revelation in one. Empowering the consumer forever more, the shift to DIY holidaying and the search for the ‘bargain break’ has resulted in a proliferation of websites to assist us. Below are a few websites to peruse and some traveller tips to consider before booking.
- on Facebook!
A useful website for flight searches, choose to search a whole month and the site will graph daily price fluctuations which can often result in huge savings if you’re flexible with dates of travel.
More on Skyscanner.ie.
VRBO - vacation rentals by owner - is a well established player in the holiday rental market and has a strong presence in Europe's sunnier spots. Worth a look.
More on Vrbo.com.
An all encompassing travel search engine, Kayak will trawl the net so you don’t have to, delivering results from over 100 different websites and cherry-picking the best deals.
More on Kayak.com.
With an exhaustive database of available properties on its books, this reputable operation offers global opportunities to self-cater with prices to suit most budgets.
More on Villarenters.com.
ACt fast to grab low fares
If possible, try to time your travel for the shoulder seasons, May and September. You’ll find destinations less crowded, less expensive and generally more to the liking of those with a complexion averse to the solar shenanigans of a Mediterranean mid-summer. Consider also destinations with a less established international reputation, Alentejo in Portugal or the stunning Paxos, just off Corfu.
It is worth signing up for fare alerts with Ryanair and Aer Lingus. Remarkable value can be had, even during peak season but you need to act fast to grab their lowest fares. Alerts will also inform you of new routings on their respective networks, often opening up destinations previously only accessible via the UK.
If using a price comparison site, be sure to also check the airline and hotels websites directly. It can also often be prudent to give the hotel a call to enquire about possible deals or whether they can offer a business rate.
Where possible, always try to book using your credit card to enjoy the added security and consumer protection measures this method affords you.