Six tricks that can cut the cost of booking a holiday

Emma Woollacott

As predicted, even the prospect of Brexit has sent holiday costs soaring, thanks to the fall in the pound.

The average cost for a family of four has risen by £210 this year, according to shopping and fundraising website Give as you Live.

If you're looking to book a summer break this year, this may mean you're considering whether you can afford it at all. But take heart: there are ways to minimise the damage.

We look at a few tricks from the experts that should help you get the best possible deal when you book.

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Book late...
The cheapest time to book a package holiday is eight to ten weeks before departure, as operators start to worry that they won't fill their planes and rooms. Similarly, cruises drop in price 12 weeks before departure. Remember, though, that there will be fewer holidays available if you leave things late, and that you may not be able to get exactly what you want.

...or early
For the same reason, operators are keen to get people signed up as early as possible - and many offer big discounts or other incentives for anybody booking well in advance. Bear in mind, though, that it may need to be a really long time in advance to get any noticeable benefits - generally eight or nine months.

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Package deals or DIY?
If you're planning to go away for a week, ten days or a fortnight, the chances are that a package deal will be cheaper than DIY - especially if you're opting for a popular destination. If it's a shorter or longer break, though, booking flights and accommodation separately will generally be the cheapest option.

The same holiday can cost a very different amount, depending on who you book it with, and price comparison sites can help you get a better deal. But there's no need to stop there. Once you've found a good deal on the holiday you want, it's worth contacting other travel agents, and asking if they can improve on the deal.

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Travel at unusual times
Flying during the week rather than at a weekend can dramatically cut the cost - as can flying during the middle of the night. You'll also find holidays far cheaper out of season: the Med, for example, is often just as warm and far less crowded in September or October than in the peak summer season.

Fly indirect
Flights with stopovers are nearly always cheaper than direct - and you can always stay a night or two in your stopover location to make a two-centre holiday. And remember there's no need to book everything with the same airline: sites like Skyscanner, for example, will let you mix and match for the best price.

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