If you're hoping to take advantage of a late deal and jet off to the sun this year, your family could save up to £900, with one simple move. It doesn't mean dramatically altering your plans, or compromising on the sea, sun and sand you're after. All you need to do is move a couple of beaches up the coast - and plump for a less well-known destination.
Researchers from M&S Bank found that on average a family of four could save £490 using this trick, and the biggest saving they found was £896. Travellers to Greece could get their hands on this saving by switching from the holiday staple of Crete to the slightly less well-known island of Thassos, for example. Picking the smaller, and more authentically Greek, destination would set you back £2,488 for a family of four for the week.
The second biggest saving came from switching to the sun-soaked Canary island of La Palma instead of nearby Lanzarote. The cheaper holiday came out at £1,872 - a saving of £892. The third largest saving came from switching from the Amalfi coast in Italy to Arzachena, which is £680 cheaper at £2,458. And the fourth biggest saving came from switching from lively Bodrum in Turkey to nearby Antalya - which is £616 cheaper at £2,222.
Paul Stokes, head of products at M&S Bank, said many travellers were already benefiting from the strong performance of the pound, which makes their money go further, but that: "Families can significantly cut the cost of their holiday even further by thinking outside the box and choosing alternative destinations which are perhaps a little less well known to some of the more popular resort areas. Taking exchange rates into account and shopping around for the best deal will help families to get even more from their travel money this half-term."
Should you make the switch?
Of course, seasoned travellers will quickly spot that this isn't always a case of swapping like-for-like. The researchers, for example, suggested swapping Nice for Montpellier and saving £568. While Montpellier has plenty of charm, and is a vibrant and fast-growing city, it doesn't have the chic appeal of Nice. Likewise they swap Barcelona for Salou, saving £392 - but this is comparing chalk and cheese - switching a world-class city for a seaside resort.
However, if you do your research, you can find the switches that work for your family. There have long been bargains on the doorstep of expensive locations. Travellers to New York, for example, know they can save a fortune by staying in nearby Brooklyn instead of Manhattan, while those wanting to visit Venice know they can stay in the walled city of Padua for a fraction of the price - just half an hour away by train.
For those who are less concerned about location - as long as they have the weather - there are even bigger savings to be made. The same survey identified the cheapest popular holiday destinations for this half term, and found two for under £2,000 - La Palma in the Canaries and Petrovac in Montenegro. The third cheapest was in Sibenik in Croatia for £2,084.
There's even good news for those who are determined not to be swayed away from their first choice of destination. The survey found the cost of a holiday had fallen an average of £110 in the past year (5.2 per cent), and that Barcelona had seen the biggest price falls - down 8.4 per cent.