The Daily Mirror brings you expert advice on whether you want to take a deal now – or wait and expect better prices later in the year
And what better cure for the winter misfortunes than booking for yourself than the hard-earned summer vacation?
Those wall-to-wall TV and newspaper ads have been bothering us for weeks, and the dark, frosty mornings – scraping the ice from their car or freezing at the bus stop – are enough to make someone dream of a sunny beach. But now is it really time to get the best deal on offer?
Or should you wait and look for a cheap vacation later in the year?
If you do not bag your breakup now, will you really get something you want later?
Mirror Travel has teamed with TravelSupermarket travel expert Bob Atkinson to discover how to navigate the forest of offers to help you plan your 2015 vacation.
Family having fun on the beach
Restricted dates: Family vacations are dictated by school holidays (Photo: Getty Images)
Stagnant with school holidays?
If you have children of school age, then you are of course already restricted to when you can make a break for him with children.
Or you can work on education and just go at this time – or not at all. So doing the right thing when it comes to booking Easter, summer or half vacation in May or October is essential.
The rules are simple – book before the end of February to have the opportunity to get the vacation you want without having to compromise. You know that going to school holidays is more expensive, so it does not make sense to have to settle for the second best by choosing what is left at the last minute.
In addition to that, you will find the prices of family hotels with the facilities you want for a stress free trip do not tend to get discounts, so book now to insure against the holiday disaster.
Major tour operators such as Thomson and Thomas Cook are offering free places for children or prices from as little as £ 1, discounts on the online booking and low deposits to help you get the best price. Virgin Holidays has ‘free days and nights’ deals on trips to Orlando and the Sunshine State.
Just be sure to compare the total costs of each option before the reservation and when the payments are due.
If you are opting for a holiday built by online travel agents like Travel Republic, Lowcost Holidays or OnTheBeach, then now, it is certainly time to book. They tend to use low cost flights to beach destinations, and the only direction that prices go for peak summer dates is up. So get there early before prices start to climb.
Tip: Choose the middle weeks of the school holidays instead of the beginning or end and avoid traveling on weekends to keep costs as low as possible.
Flexible friend: If you can go any time now, start surfing now for good deals
You can go anytime
If you know what you want, then do not waste another minute.
Get online, visit the travel agents on the street too, and plan that trip as soon as you can.
Compare all prices and offers on offer and get that reservation.
Even if prices go down at a later date, you will have insured what you want at a price you were happy to pay – and now you will have something to look forward to.
If you are planning on waiting until the time closes, then you will need steel yourself for the roller coaster ride to look for a deal.
If you play the game well, prices for low season tourist packages can fall like a stone, with the best last minute offers to travel to the Mediterranean in May and June or in September and October.
The largest reductions in recent years have been for Greece, as well as for the Spanish Costas.
One of the best value moments for a two-week and last-minute offer is to travel on an August vacation, when a fortnight in the sun can be reduced by 70%, provided there are seats on the plane.
These reduced prices tend to be found within six to 12 weeks of departure.
Check the vacation you like the look of daily to plot what is happening in price.
Tip: Sign up for all your airline’s and carrier’s favorite airline newsletters to make sure you know when seat sales start.
It is definitely time to sell with a number of deals on offer – but the best prices now tend to be for the departures from March to June.
Why is that?
It is simply up to the fact that a large part of the holiday cost is driven by air fare, and airlines currently have some great sales to attract the passengers of those months. Therefore, companies like Kuoni, British Airways Holidays and Hayes and Jarvis pass these savings in the form of price reductions. It is vital that you compare all the offers on offer and you are unlikely to find great savings on Easter travel at this late stage.
If you are planning to travel later in the year, then you can pay to retain and expect better airline offers – although summer dates in places like the US And Canada is unlikely to get any cheaper.
Bob’s Top Tip: Be sure to compare several airline options as part of your long distance journey. Companies like Expedia, Netflights and ebookers often give you an airline option where you can switch from direct flight, service and comfort to better prices and indirect routes.
Last minute holiday
A solution of winter sun could be just the tonic after the excesses of Christmas and New Year. Or maybe you fancy the thrill of some winter sports action on the slopes?
Either way, last minute prices are on offer for departures almost through Easter so if you are ready to go, then get online for the best deals now.
Major destinations such as the Canary Islands, the Red Sea and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands offer some of the best savings with offers up to 60% discount on brochure prices with major tour operators.
Tunisia, Malta and Spanish coasts are offered from around £ 125 upwards for the one week winter sun. Even skiing and snowboarding can be found from as little as £ 250 for
Self-service trips to France (but do not forget to add lift passes and rent any equipment at those costs).
Bob Top Tip: Organize your travel insurance, holiday money and airport parking all online before you go to use a comparison site to get the best prices possible. You will save a fortune.
January is a fantastic time to book a brief getaway to a fascinating city to travel before the summer. Airlines have sales now and before the flights are full, you can pick up some amazing prices in popular places, especially in Europe.
If you can avoid the weekend trips, then you will shave more than your flight. And if you can stay on a Sunday night, you will often find hotel prices for that night are lower.
Suggestions: Book now for Easter and the two holidays in May. The sooner you do, the better the price you will get, as demand always exceeds supply.
If you are traveling after the summer, then holding up until spring can pay dividends. However, this is a gamble, so if you are stuck with dates, then do not wait – book now.
Christmas and New Year!
Not really! You may think it is too early to contemplate, but if you want to secure your place in the sun, on the slopes or somewhere exotic, now is the time to plan and book to get the best prices and rooms.
With Christmas Day 2015 falling on a Friday, there will be a concentration of people looking to jet off near the big day, which means just one thing – higher prices for last minute bookers.
Holiday packages are on sale now and scheduled flight seats will be offered at the end of January.