Looking for last minute holidays? Read my top picks and tips as discussed with Matt Cooper on Today FM’s The Last Word today.
The threat of ISIS and the cancellation of flights to places like Egypt and Tunisia has meant that Spain, Portugal and Italy are the most sought after holiday destinations this year. This trend is the same across most European countries. Although the extra capacity with Ryanair and Aer Lingus has seen no shortage of flights – the problem is accommodation to go with them. Think off the beaten track and you will find accommodation to go with the cheap flights, that are available. Greece is also good value, as are city breaks across Europe.
Mid – Late July:
For people looking for Spain, the Canary Islands are the best value. Prices are available from €550 including flights and accommodation for seven nights from most travel agents. There are cheap flights available to the Algarve and the Costa del Sol, from €170 return with Ryanair but finding good accommodation at a reasonable price is the problem. If you look at towns, villages away from the beach resorts you can get much better value.
Lake Garda is good value too. Crystal Holidays are offering a week in the Miravalli Hotel for €468 on the 23rd of July for seven nights. This is a basic 2 star hotel, but very centrally located in Garda and has good reviews on tripadvisor. If you want to upgrade your accommodation, Sunway are offering the 3* Meridiana Hotel from €734. This is located in Sirmione, in my opinion, the nicest resort on the lake. All prices include transfers and checked baggage.
If you are looking for a cheap all inclusive holiday, ClickandGo.com have Fuerteventura on the 28th of July from €675 in the Globales Costa Tropical. Price for 2 adults and 2 children is €2399. Average 3* accommodation but good facilities including a gym, kids entertainment etc.
If you will go somewhere further afield Cobalt air have introduced flights to Cyprus twice weekly for July and August. These were only announced last week so prices are very low. There are plenty of resorts to choose from, lively Ayia Napa or quieter resorts like Protaras.
Long haul / Luxury:
Mexico has been one of the most popular long haul destinations from Ireland this year and there is still availability in July. Tropical Sky are offering Secrets Silversands, a luxury 5* property for €1899 for seven nights. This includes flights from Dublin, transfers, baggage, and a junior suite on an all inclusive basis – a massive saving of €720 from the brochure price.
If you are flexible on dates and are not concerned about kids going back to school, the best time to find a bargain is late August. Many people choose the 1st two weeks in September or the last two weeks of August but the middle week, 27th / 28th of August is a good weekend to pick up a bargain holiday. At the moment Rhodes is available from €351 on the 31st of August and Zakynthos from €420 on the 30th of August. Both prices include flights, accommodation, transfers and baggage with Falcon Holidays. Click here for more details.
5 Tips to find a last minute deal:
1. ClickandGo.com have a ‘dealfinder’ on their website where you can select sun holidays or city breaks within 30 days, 60 days etc and it will list all holidays that they have available.
2. Use Ryanair’s ‘fare finder’ and Skyscanner’s ‘everywhere’ searches for any destination under a specific price range. Use hotel aggregators such as Trivago & Tripadvisor to search many accommodation websites for the same hotel.
3. The Irish Travel Agents association’s website combines top travel agents offers so you don’t need to search lots of different websites. And I offer my best last minute deals in my best travel deals post which is published every Tuesday on thetravelexpert.ie 🙂
4. Compare like with like. Remember a package holiday with a Tour Operator such as Falcon Holidays or Sunway includes airport transfers and checked baggage. A 20kg checked bag to the Canary Islands with Ryanair is €100 during July and August, so that ‘cheap deal’ you thought you found, might not be so cheap after all.
5. And finally always check with your local travel agent – they are searching late offers day in, day out and will probably know immediately what is the best value at any given time.
All prices are correct at time of issue but are subject to change.