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New Year, new holiday | How to get the best holiday deals

Now Christmas is out of the way, we’re all thinking about our next big holiday. You don’t want to pay over the odds so it’s worth looking out right now for the best deals available, whether you want to save money on travel, accommodation, entertainment or ideally, all three! Read on for our top tips on getting the best holiday deals.

Best holiday deals: how to get them!

Best holiday deals, travel cash

Image: Images of Money under Creative Commons licence.

Package or DIY?

The first question that many people ask when booking a holiday is whether to go for an all-inclusive deal or to book every element of the trip individually. There is no hard and fast rule that dictates which option is better value, but package deals are generally more cost-effective for trips to the busier tourist destinations for at least a week. Keep your eyes out for earlybird offers from Thomson and James Villas.

Consider non-standard accommodation

Don’t worry, we’re not about to suggest you spend two weeks in a shed! But if you’re planning to book into a hotel on your next holiday, it can pay to explore the option of B&Bs and guest houses too.

Many B&Bs and independent hotels are run by families with a real affinity for the area, and offer guests a personal and authentic experience. Try Airbnb for some amazing prices on unoccupied private homes, worldwide.

Get social!

Most major travel companies now have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, so it makes sense to add or follow their accounts in advance of booking your next trip. As well as giving you an idea of which companies are likely to do you a good deal, you’ll get early access to some of the best deals this way, and will be alerted quickly when any offers come in.

For exclusive offers on airport parking and hotels, sign up for Holiday Extras’ emails. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear about any special deals. Booking early will often get you a great price on travel extras; and it’s always a good idea to buy your holiday insurance at the time of booking your trip so you’ll be covered for many unexpected events before your departure date.

Compare, compare and compare

Whether you’re booking your entire trip as a package or selecting your own travel and accommodation options, comparison at this stage of the process is key. Before you find yourself falling in love with a particular deal, make sure you’ve compared it with at least two similar options.

If you’re feeling brave, try your luck at a spot of haggling with the providers involved! The chances are you’ll save a little extra.

Get rewarded for loyalty

When making a major purchase such as a holiday, it’s always worth thinking about any loyalty schemes you subscribe to, particularly when booking online. Once you’ve chosen your destination, run a quick search for transport and accommodation providers serving the area, and check if any are affiliated with your preferred loyalty programme, for example; it’s also worth shopping around for cash-back deals on flights, hotels and car hire.

Once you’re ready to book, be sure to search for any short-term promotions such as bonus rewards before you commit - and you could come away with a bumper crop of points to put towards holiday treats. Alternatively, you may be able to spend points that you’ve already collected on travel or accommodation; this can be a great way to keep overall costs to a minimum.

Apply now for a pre-paid currency card

Nowadays it’s very easy to forego the hassle of a visit to the bureau de change to obtain foreign currency: you can simply use your existing credit cards to make purchases and withdraw cash on your arrival, right? Thanks to the universality of most card services this assumption is largely true - but the convenience is quickly offset by the high commission rates you’ll have to pay.

An alternative, and far more wallet-friendly solution, is now available in the form of pre-paid currency cards such as the FairFX Travel Money card that can be loaded up before your trip and used to make purchases more cheaply than using a UK credit or debit card. The cards are free of charge, and can be topped up using a mobile phone. To find out more, check out Holiday Extras’ video guide to commission-free pre-paid debit cards.

How do you get the best holiday deals? Tell us below, and if you enjoyed this post like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+.

Written by Abi Silvester, a London-based writer and editor with a passion for great food, fine wine, coffee and cats; always planning my next trip! @absinthecity

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