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Why that dream holiday doesn’t have to cost the earth... if you play your cards right

With Jill Smyth, Ulster Bank

Published 12/05/2015

A dream family holiday doesn't have to break the bank
A dream family holiday doesn't have to break the bank

It's now only a few weeks into British Summer Time and the Northern Ireland weather has once again surpassed itself - who would have thought that we would have snow at the end of April?  If the thought of blue skies, sunshine and relaxing on the beach sounds like heaven but your budget won't stretch this far, don't despair - it might be more achievable than you think.

Did you know that weekend or bank holiday flights can be much more expensive, as can flights that fall the day after your kids finish school?

This is because they are the most popular times to fly. A cheaper alternative could be to travel midweek or drive to a more remote or smaller airport where flights can often be much cheaper - even with the cost of petrol and car parking you could still save money.

Booking flights directly with the airline will often be much cheaper than buying from a travel agent or tour operator - you can sign up to their mailing lists or follow them on social media to get details when flights are released.

Costs of seats increase as the plane fills up, so getting in early can save you money.

If you are booking your own holiday accommodation and the thought of trawling through the internet doesn't inspire you, why not check out Trivago which can do it all for you?

It searches more than 250 booking sites to get you the cheapest deal. If you are on a tight budget, it might work out cheaper for you to go all inclusive - check out the internet for the average costs of a meal, drinks and basic shopping in your resort beforehand to see if this could potentially save you money. If you are after a cheap package deal, and don't mind where you go, booking late is the way to go.

If you leave it eight to 10 weeks before your departure date, tour operators often reduce their prices - this is because they buy up seats and accommodation in advance.

If they don't sell them they lose money so it's in their best interests to reduce the price.

If a deal sounds too good to be true it is always a good idea to check out review sites to see what other travellers thought - there is nothing worse than wasting money on the holiday from hell.

Holidays cost a lot of money so always book with your credit card if you have one - this should provide you with cover should the travel company or airline go bust.

Even if you think you're booking with a company that is as safe as houses, it isn't worth taking a chance.

Alternatively if you prefer to pay with cash, you could lodge the money into your credit card account and then pay by card. Bear in mind though that there will be an additional cost for making payment by credit card but the peace of mind can be worth it.

MoneySense is a free, independent programme by Ulster Bank for schools and parents covering topics including banking, borrowing, budgeting and running a small business

Belfast Telegraph

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