Simon Calder on cheap holiday options for 2023
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Jo Threlfall, EMBRYO brand manager-turned-deals expert, shared the best tools and live deals to help holidaymakers “cut down on travel costs” when planning their 2023 getaways. She explained that no matter when, or where you want to jet off to, there are always good deals up for grabs if you know what to look for. And it’s not too late to find a winter bargain if your sights are set on a January trip.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Jo said: “My top tip is to plan out in advance what type of holiday you want to have, whether that’s an adventure holiday, city break or relaxing break by the beach. I’d recommend doing research in advance into the destination you want to visit to help plan out where you want to go.”
From there, you can use platforms such as Skyscanner and Tripadvisor to reveal how much your flights and accommodation will likely cost, as both will measure a cost in accordance with the dates you’ve selected.
Jo noted that when searching online, there are a few other hacks you can try to keep prices low. She said: “Most aggregator or airline sites follow your search patterns through cookies and IP addresses. So if you check a flight price on a particular website and return to it after some time, you are likely to find a higher rate.
“To avoid this, you can use the incognito mode or delete all cookies after use. I did this for finding my flights to Italy and other travel destinations and it helped me save up to £200 on flights during the Easter and May bank holiday break.”
When it comes to securing “the best deals”, the thrifty travel blogger explained that several airlines are offering “great January sales” for trips month, in February, or even later in the year. Jo said: “They have offers throughout 2023 and into 2024, with just a £60 per-person deposit needed for package holidays with the likes of easyJet.”
She added that Ireland is one of the standout destinations for a cheap, last-minute holiday and that she would be taking a trip there herself later this month.
The deals expert explained: “I’ve recently purchased some flights for £23 on Ryanair for a trip to Ireland from Manchester for a mini break in January. I reserved the accommodation for £120 on Booking.com for the weekend. I’m taking a backpack as it’s for a short weekend stay and don’t need a carry-on or hold the bag, so I saved extra money.”
While there are a host of live sales on offer to customers right now, Jo recommended exploring the following before they end:
- Air Lingus flight deals – can save on flights to America in January and February 2023
- British Airways flight and holiday package deals
- easyJet – 2023 flight deals and holiday packages for “The Big Orange Sale”
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While planning ahead can sometimes pay off in terms of savings, Jo noted that in some cases, you may be better off waiting until closer to your planned departure date.
She said: “Depending on when you’re wanting to go away in the summer, you can find some good last-minute deals at the end of May into June. For July and August, I’d recommend booking in advance to reserve the hotel, villa, apartment and flights that you need for your trip.
“Depending on your location as well, you’ll need to remember that most European countries will also be on holiday too during the summer break, so it will be much busier than usual.”
If you are concerned about affording the upfront cost months before flying, the thrifty deal expert pointed out that you can split the payments.
Do this by getting your flights in advance, and then reserving a hotel on Booking.com and choosing the option to pay it when you get there.
For accommodation, you can use Tripadvisor to help manage your budget and get an idea of what the hotel, villa or apartment is like from guest reviews.
Jo said “It’s one of the best platforms out there to find out customer feedback and experiences as it will help give you an idea, for example, if your hotel is near tourist attractions or the beach, depending on what type of holiday you’re after.
“Skyscanner also allows you to find the quickest route and best airport to travel from as it will recommend the most affordable flights as you can filter them from low to high.”
One of the deals expert’s best hacks which she discovered while travelling in Italy back in 2018 was that flying from certain airports worked out much cheaper.
She said: “You could fly to airports like Genova from Manchester, which is £70 cheaper than flying directly to Milan. I flew there to save money and used the location to travel by train first class for seven euros with my ex-boyfriend at the time as it was much cheaper and gave us the opportunity to explore more areas like Las Spezia and the Cinque Terre.”
As for current flight deals, Jo noted that the “best airport” to fly from was London Heathrow. Though it is usually considered more expensive than other London airports, it is considerably cheaper than flying from other major cities in the UK.
The EMBRYO brand manager revealed that you “can save up to £300 by flying from Heathrow compared to Manchester”, based on her latest findings.
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