Holiday for less by going off peak

Money may still be tight in many homes across the UK, but that hasn't stopped people dreaming about jetting off to sunnier climes over the cold winter months.

Figures from insurer Aviva reveal that almost two thirds of Britons are planning to take an overseas holiday at some point this year.

Getting away from it all doesn't have to break the bank, though.

And that is especially true if you are prepared to travel in low season or switch destinations to bring the price down.

Eight in 10 travellers plan to adapt their holiday plans to fit their budgets this year, according to recent research from the Post Office.

Its findings also indicated that large numbers of people are sacrificing their main destination choice to ensure they still have their required number of days away on holiday.

But that is hardly surprising when you consider the large savings available to those prepared to do that.

The Post Office research revealed that a bit of shopping around and flexibility can turn 10 days in the Maldives to two weeks in Thailand with a £530 saving per person, while two weeks in Florida is more than £60 cheaper per person than 10 days in Mexico.

At the luxury end of the market, meanwhile, you could swap two weeks at a five star hotel in Tenerife to one of the same standard in Jamaica, and pay more than £300 less per traveller.

Being flexible about where you go is by no means the only way to bring your holiday costs down, though. Travelling at an off-peak time of year can also significantly reduce the price of a week or two in the sun.

One in five of those questioned as part of the Post Office survey said that they would be happy to cut costs by going away at a less popular time of year.

Meanwhile, statistics show that the cheapest time of year to travel is the month of November.

The reason why it is generally so much cheaper than other times of the year is also the reason why it is an impossible month to head off abroad for many people, though.

November is the one month that never has UK school holidays, so departures to most worldwide destinations are priced as low season.

For a week self catering in Los Cristianos in Tenerife, for example, you would pay around £350 per person through tour operator Thomas Cook in July, but from just £267 per person in November.

For those heading further afield, schools are also in session in southern-hemisphere favourites such as South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. So, unlike in late December and January, British visitors won't be competing with the domestic market for accommodation, rental cars and flights.

But the fact that kids are in school makes this an impossible time for families with children who are no longer babies or toddlers to travel - unless parents are prepared to risk fines for taking their kids out of school without permission.

Other ways to cut costs if you are in this position include booking at the last minute, flying with budget airlines rather than national carriers, going self catering and eating in and compromising on the standard of your accommodation.
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