Top 10 holiday sites for the cheapest deals
If you're already thinking about planning next year's summer holiday, or if you're longing for some winter sun, there are numerous money-saving websites you should check out first.
Here is a selection of 10 of the best.
Kayak compares the cost of hotels, flights, car hire and package holidays in a way that's very simple to navigate. It's one of the most comprehensive travel comparison sites available.
Once you pick your destination it will instantly give you a large range of travel companies with prices to compare in the local area and it covers a huge selection of travel companies on the market.
It shows prices for both big airlines and low-cost carriers and allows travellers to be flexible on dates. If you're already on the move you can also download a free Kayak app to your smart phone.
Rather than shelling out on a hotel or self-catering cottage for your holiday why not do a home swap with another family?
UKholidayswapshop.co.uk is a UK-based home swapping forum that allows likeminded people to swap homes for a cheap getaway. All you have to pay is a £19.95 annual membership fee.
How many times have you turned up at a hotel only to discover the room isn't quite as it appeared in the brochure?
Tripadvisor.co.uk features thousands of independent reviews for hotels all over the world, just type in the name of the hotel you're considering and the site will come back with feedback.
This is a good place to look before you book anywhere and also a good forum for letting other traveller's know about somewhere you have stayed. If you're not near a computer there's also a free smartphone app you can use.
Hiring a car abroad can be confusing and if you wait until you land in a foreign airport to arrange car hire then you probably won't get the best deal possible.
Holidayautos.co.uk allows you to compare hire car charges and book a car before you leave the UK.
If you're planning a trip to the capital, the LondonPass.com offers entry to more than 55 of the top attractions for one price.
Attractions include the Tower of London, London River Cruise and the National Gallery. You can buy a pass for one, two, three or six days.
Whether you're heading overseas or staying at home for your holidays, lastminute.com has special offers on everything from dinner at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant or West End shows to city mini-breaks or package holidays.
You can also save with the website's Top Secret hotel deals throughout the UK that offer up to 45% off top hotels. All you need to do is to choose a date and location and you'll be given the location, star rating and description. The name of the hotel will be revealed once your booking has been confirmed.
Getinvisiblehand.com is a free browser tool bar to download and if you're looking at a product, for example a flight, it will show a list of websites where you can buy it cheaper.
In the tool bar there will be a link to take you straight to the cheaper site and also a drop-down menu to show the full list. It currently covers more than 650 retailers in the US, UK & Germany.
8. GROUP BUYING WEBSITES
Several of the leading group buying websites like Groupon, KGB deals and Living Social, have travel deals that offer up to 50% off the cost of a package deal. These include stays in the UK as well as longer breaks away. However, make sure you read all the small print before signing up.
If you hire a car abroad, your car rental agreement normally includes cover for collision damage waiver and theft. However, you are still liable for the excess in the event of making a claim and this can be several hundred pounds.
Insurance4carhire.com covers you for the excess payment and also damage to car windows and tyres that are normally excluded from car hire insurance. You can buy annual cover from £49 or cheaper policies for shorter trips.
If you're travelling anywhere within the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland or Liechtenstein a European Health Insurance Card will save you money in the event that you need medical treatment.
The card entitles holders to state medical treatment, equivalent to the country's NHS. Some travel insurers will waive the excess on any medical claim if you have an EHIC.
This is more usually a feature of car insurance but it can also crop up in contents, mobile phone and pet insurance policies. An excess is the amount of money you have to pay before the insurance company starts paying out. The excess makes up the first part of a claim, so if your excess is £100 and your claim is for £500, you would pay the first £100 and the insurer the remaining £400. Many online insures let you set your own excess, but the lower the excess, the more expensive the premium will be.