If you haven’t booked a family holiday for this summer, it isn’t yet time to abandon thoughts of jetting off to an overseas resort where you can soak up the long daylight hours of sunshine and relax by the pool. Even at this late stage, it’s possible to benefit from some great flight deals and, with some careful planning and preparation, you can cut the cost of flights to your favourite destination. So, don't be tempted to take out an installment loan, however small it is, to pay for your holiday; simply follow our money saving advice instead.
Time your flights carefully
According to research by online flights comparison site momodo.co.uk, booking months in advance won’t necessarily gain you the most competitive prices. On average, air fares are priced most competitively 53 days before take-off, with some fares cheapest just weeks before departure, meaning that a family holiday in the second half of August before the kids go back to school is still a definite possibility.
You can also save on flight costs by opting to depart at an unpopular time of day. Flying in the evening tends to be cheapest, so long as you are prepared to spend the next day lounging by the pool recovering from the late bedtime (and let’s face it, who wouldn’t be?). If you can fly out on a Tuesday, you could save considerably. Above all, avoid Saturdays!
Avoid the main air hubs
Airlines have to pay considerably more to operate for the large, popular hubs such as Heathrow and Manchester, but the country is smattered with a host of smaller airports in obscure, faraway places such as Norwich and Doncaster. You’ll find the choice of destinations from the provincial airports is limited but you might enjoy huge savings on the cost of flights, as well as avoiding the crowds on departure day (which, in itself, is an advantage worth enjoying).
Remember to include the cost of getting to the airport, especially if you have to travel further from your home.
Take hand luggage only
It may sound improbable to some people, but holidaying abroad only with hand luggage is possible, especially if you’re heading to warmer climes where you need light clothing. With each member of the family entitled to a separate piece of hand luggage, you may find that you can limit or do away with hold bags altogether, and the savings can be immense as a result! Remember that, if you have access to a washing machine in your holiday accommodation, limiting your clothing will be even easier.
Kids go (tax) free
Finally, remember that, due to changes in air passenger duty introduced by the Coalition government, children under 12 currently pay no tax on air fares, making the cost of flying for families cheaper than ever. With savings of between £13 and £97 per child, you can definitely cut the cost of travelling abroad.
Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk