With tons of special offers available and a desire to have something to look forward to, January is the best time to book a holiday. Check out my top tips and deals for booking Summer holidays that I discussed with Ivan Yates on Newstalk.
Compare like with like.
I say this time and time again as this is the biggest mistake people make when booking holidays online. When comparing package holidays with holidays you design yourself, make sure you include baggage charges, airport transfers and local taxes. Tour Operators like Sunway , Topflight and TUI Holidays will offer packages with no hidden extras, so make sure the ‘deal’ you think you have found online is really as good as it seems.
A 20kg checked bag costs €110 to Lanzarote in the Summer with Aer Lingus and airport transfer costs to some resorts in the Algarve and Majorca can also be extremely high, so make sure you add these to the cost of the basic flight and accommodation before you compare with a package holiday.
The same applies to long haul holidays. Sometimes specialists like Tropical Sky will be able to offer cheaper packages than if you bought a flight and hotel separately. Some low cost carriers charge high amounts for baggage, allocated seating, even meals, on long haul flights. Compare these with airlines such as Turkish Airlines who include a generous baggage allowance, all meals and even drinks on board.
Check the total flight duration.
You may find a special offer on a particular website to Los Angeles or Thailand but when you book it you will find that it takes you 24 hours to get there! Sometimes the lowest airfares have many stopovers and can take double the time of a direct flight – make sure you read the times!
Check one way and return airfares.
When booking a flight make sure you check both one way and return airfares. With Aer Lingus and Ryanair for instance, you may find it is cheaper to fly out with one airline and home with another. This can also be useful for good flight times, one airline may have better times on the outward journey and another on the return.
Skycanner will combine all airlines so you can automatically find the best airfares and quite often the lowest priced journey will be with two different carriers. Skyscanner will also show you carriers that you may not have thought of, i.e Vueling who fly direct to Barcelona from Dublin or Iberian Express who fly to Madrid.
Some of the best sales / deals available.
Aer Lingus annual seat sale is on until the 16th of January offering up to 50% off selected European airfares and flights to the USA from €209 one way, if sold as part of a return ticket. Apparently they have reductions on 3 million seats!
Attraction Tickets Direct have a Win Win promotion. If you pay a €25 deposit on theme park tickets to Florida and the price reduces when you are due to pay your balance, you will be charged the lower price. If the price increases ( due to currency fluctuations or general price increases ) they wont charge you any more. Hence the term win win – you can’t loose!
Click&GO.com is offering €1 deposits on holidays booked with Aer Lingus, departing 10 or more weeks from the booking date. A further €150 deposit is due 4 weeks after booking and the balance is payable 10 weeks before departure.
Royal Caribbean Cruises is offering buy one get one half price, plus free deluxe drinks packages on selected sailings. They are also offering 25% discount on the 3rd and 4th passengers, which is ideal for families.
My Top 3 Top Long Haul Picks:
Sunway is offering a seven night all-inclusive stay in the Dominican Republic from €875 in May. Price includes flights and hotel for 1 week, with all meals and drinks included. Upgrade to the 5* Dreams Punta Cana for €1189. Click here for more details:
Tropical Sky is offering a seven night all-inclusive stay in the Maldives from €1499 including flights and speed boat transfers. Click here for more details:
Travalue has a 12 night holiday to South Africa with accommodation in Cape Town, the wine lands and the Garden Route, with 9 days car hire, and a safari for 2 nights on a full board basis, from €1695 in May or June. Click here for more details: