Budget package holidays - when and where to go

Many Brits will have put away thoughts of a holiday in the sun as they struggle to pay the bills. However, if you are determined to get away this year, there are deals around. Here are our top tips for finding a package holiday on a budget.

Budget package holidays
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The key to getting cheap deals on package holidays is to start very early or leave it late. Last minute offers are often the best so if you are looking to bag a bargain it pays to check holiday websites and travel agents eight weeks before you plan to fly. Generally the later you leave it, the cheaper the price as tour operators look to sell any unwanted spots.

Alternatively an early booking may offer a sizeable discount. You'll need to book as much as nine months in advance but many travel firms offer early booking discounts that may be particularly useful for families.

When you take your two-weeks off is almost as important as when you book. For families it's tricky because travel operators hike up the prices as soon as the schools break up but for those who don't have children in education, booking during off-peak times (particularly to family-friendly destinations) can save you plenty.

Location, location, location
If you're a bit more adventurous with your choice of destination, you may be able to pick up a cheaper package than you would at the traditionally popular locations. Opt for somewhere that isn't THE place to go and the chances are the cost will be good deal smaller.

Similarly, with many European favourite destinations such as Spain and Portugal suffering their own financial difficulties, resort prices have taken a tumble so shop around and see what you can find. For those who aren't desperate for a luxury hotel, self-catering could save you a pretty penny as the cost of living in both the aforementioned countries has also fallen. Long-haul destinations such as Thailand and Mexico also offer good value for money while all-inclusive deals to Egypt are among the best at present (especially if you like to eat and drink a lot), but be sure to avoid any potential trouble spots if you are heading to a North African resort.

Shop around
Thanks to the world wide web, comparison sites allow consumers to shop around and holidays are no exception. Sites such as travelsupermarket.com allow you to find the cheapest deals from travel agents and tour operators so check online to see how much money you could save.

If you are organised enough to book early, a quick check of online deals may mean you can negotiate down the price of your package holiday on the high street or get more for your money.

Have you bagged a bargain recently? Leave your tips for finding cheap package holidays in the comments box below...