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Find cheap holidays during the shoulder seasons (and days)

The most obvious way to save on holidays is to travel during the shoulder seasons – basically avoid the school holidays and any other times of the year when a lot of people take their planned breaks.

That’s easy enough, except when you have kids. As all parents know, taking children out of school without getting fined is a fight all in itself.

But even if you can only travel during the school holidays, you can still save – by adjusting the day you travel. This is particularly true if you book a package holiday.

All you have to do is adjust your departure date to a weekday rather than a weekend.

Have a look on an aggregate site such as TravelSupermarket* or Skyscanner to see what I mean.

It will show you dates on either side of the one you want to travel on so it’s easy to see when you can save. And when you scroll through the dates, the weekday departures are almost always cheaper.

The downside is that you’re potentially having to spend more of your annual leave – but the savings will be more than worth it.

It’s also worth looking for holidays towards the end of August.

Everyone wants to get out of town as soon as the summer holidays begin but there’s usually good availability and prices just before school starts.

What’s the cheapest time of the year to travel?

It’s January of course.

Travel firms like to get in on the sale action in January as well, which means there are some great bargains around. But in fact, you’ll make the best savings if you book your holiday and travel in January.

There are three reasons for this.

First, most people will have spent a lot of money during the festive season, so the last thing they want to do is spend more money in January. This means holiday firms will put on extra special bargains to entice people to book.

Second, many people travel for Christmas and New Year and those who went away during those periods won’t want to travel again so soon.

Finally, January is traditionally an off season (except for skiing), which means people don’t travel as much anyway.

You will usually find good deals from a few days after New Year’s Day all the way into early February, before the spring half term starts.

This is an excerpt from Money Talk*, an e-book I wrote on personal finance. For regular money advice delivered to your inbox, subscribe to my newsletter.

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