I’m a travel expert – as package holidays rocket by nearly 50%, here’s my 7 hacks to beat the rises and save 100s

HOLIDAYMAKERS face a “perfect storm of spiralling costs” as they look to book a break.

That is according to consumer champion Which? which has found those shelling out for a summer break this year will pay nearly 20 per cent more than in 2022.

I’m a travel expert – as package holidays rocket by nearly 50%, here’s my 7 hacks to beat the rises and save 100s


Holiday prices are on the rise in 2023 with some increasing as much as 30 per centCredit: Getty
Packages in Greece have seen the biggest rise followed by Italy and Turkey


Packages in Greece have seen the biggest rise followed by Italy and Turkey

When Which? compared prices for six traditional holiday destinations, Greece had seen the steepest rise, with prices up more than 30 per cent on 2022.

Portugal saw the smallest increase, up seven per cent compared with the previous 12 months.

Which? found flight prices for this Easter up 51 per cent and European hotel prices up ten per cent.

It was inevitable that prices would go up this year.

After two years of pandemic chaos, travel companies need to replenish coffers after losing billions during the Covid lockdowns.

Add to that the energy crisis and the continued high demand and prices were only going one way.

Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, said: “Huge demand for holidays, combining with inflationary pressure, has created a perfect storm of spiralling costs.”

So how can you save money on your summer break?

Here are my top tips for making those precious holiday pounds go further . . .

Beat the peaks

HOLIDAYING outside peak school summer holiday time is obvious if you have no kids.

For most European holiday favourites, the weather in early summer and autumn can be glorious, without the fierce heat, and as well as lower prices you’ll find resorts less busy.

Many destinations are keen to extend their holiday season and put on events.

If you have kids, target the last week or two of the summer holiday.

Travelsupermarket says these are the least favoured, as many families want to get away earlier.

Prep for the return to school before you go and book as late as you can for best prices.

Those in the north of England should also check deals from Scottish airports in late August because prices may be lower, as Scottish schools will have gone back.

Switch to save

WHILE Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy remain favourites, looking beyond these can deliver significant savings.

Maybe try a Balkan resort. Prices are always keen in the Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach, Nessebar and Golden Sands and Montenegro’s Petrovac is better value than neighbouring Croatia.

If you want to stick to a country you love, research alternative resorts.

Mykonos draws the A-list crowd but Preveza in north-west Greece offers colourful beachside houses and rolling hills for far less.

See our Switch and Save special in today’s Travel section, pages 47-49, where we look at Albania’s bargain beaches and swapping pricey Positano in Italy for nearby Salerno.

Package protection

DIY holidays you put together yourself were popular when low-cost airlines started, but the pandemic taught us the power of a package deal.

Buying your whole trip through an established tour operator or travel agent not only gives extra protection, through the Government’s Atol scheme, it can cost less.

Tui, First Choice and Jet2 also have thousands of free child places when two adults book, but they are snapped up fast.

Tui and First Choice have a Free Place Finder tool on their websites.

The big operators also ask for just low deposits, and the balance payable around eight weeks before your trip.

Packages are also good for long-haul holidays – British Airways Holidays and Virgin Holidays often have deals to the likes of Orlando or Mexico.

Go all in

THIS is the year the all-inclusive holiday is the sensible option, especially for families.

With food and drink included, as well as lots of activities, you can relax knowing the price you have paid will cover all the fun.

Research from the Post Office last year found a family meal out for four including wine costs around £64 on the Costa del Sol – that is £448 a week for evening meals alone.

Upgrading from B&B and half-board to all-inclusive can often be a lot cheaper than you think and mean you will not bust your holiday budget.

Happy campers

LARGER families can feel the pinch at traditional resorts – as well as paying for flights they may need two rooms.

But everyone can take a break if you pack up the car and head across the Channel.

With our Hols From £9.50 promotion, bag a bargain holiday home at five-star camp-sites by fab beaches in France, Spain, Italy and Holland.

Taking a car means you can pack more food and drink, and cooking up a storm in your holiday home saves loads.

As for staycations, camping has seen smaller price hikes than hotels, says Pitchup.com.

A tent stay in Cornwall can cost 84 per cent less than a hotel.

See page 30 for today’s Hols From £9.50 token.

Sharing a villa with friends and family is a good way to split costs


Sharing a villa with friends and family is a good way to split costsCredit: Getty

Friends and family

GOING away with friends or family can cut costs, and a villa may be a cheaper option than you think.

Vintage Travel has one sleeping ten in north Portugal this July or August that works out at £285pp for a week, with a huge pool and games room.

Jet2 has villa deals to Spain this summer for four adults and four kids, including flights and car hire, from £585pp.

According to holiday home website Vrbo, cooking in your holiday home can save£488 on the average break.

And if you take along the grand-parents, as well as sharing accommodation costs you have ready babysitters.

Choose to cruise

FIERCE competition between the major cruise lines and some new, glitzy ships sailing from UK ports makes this a great time to try a holiday afloat.

Prices have remained in line with inflation, or below, for some time, and sailing direct from the UK means no flight costs.

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Tony Andrews, from cruise.co.uk, said: “Given how much is included on a cruise, such as meals, entertainment, kids’ clubs and leisure facilities, holidaygoers would be pushed to find any other getaway that offers such value.

“With drink packages also available on most sailings, we’re confident cruises will continue to offer unbeatable value.”

All inclusive holidays can help families limit expenses on extra snacks and drinks wanted by kids


All inclusive holidays can help families limit expenses on extra snacks and drinks wanted by kidsCredit: Getty

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