cheap school holiday getaways for families, teachers and groups

For this week’s holiday hotline, I decided to tackle a very hot topic: cheap summer holidays.

For teachers, families, or those wanting to just make the most of the summer weather, I know it really can be difficult to bag a bargain.

So, for this hotline I’m going to go through six different things – which you can click on to jump to if you don’t fancy a long read (if you do, grab a cuppa!)

NAVIGATION

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Top tips for cheap summer holidays

  • Book your flights sooner rather than later

Long gone are the days when you could rock up to the airport on the day and ask for a cheap flight. The stats show that flights costs almost always go up in the last week before travel – and that’s before even taking into account travelling at peak times.

The fact is that the summer holidays are always going to be popular travel times and so waiting for the price to drop is always going to be a tricky game.

My advice is if the price is an ‘typical to lower’ than the average cost, then book knowing that you will have spent less than more than half of the people on your flight.

You can find this out by popping your flights into Google Flights, selecting them and looking out for their helpful price bar (though remember to check the flights on Skyscanner too as they can often be even cheaper!).

Hopper is also a good app that uses stats to predict whether it’s the right time to book.

  • Book a hotel with a good cancellation policy and then check for last minute deals

The good news is that it is still possible to score a last minute deal when it comes to your accommodation – hotels do not like leaving rooms empty and so last minute price slashes are known even in peak times.

However, there is an element of risk here and so a good way to get around that is to book a hotel with a good cancellation policy early. Some hotels will offer this as standard.

Then, closer to your holiday you can scour to check for last minute bargains and cancel your original booking if you find a deal.

  • Book a holiday rental instead of a hotel

Whether it’s an apartment or villa with pool, the great thing about a holiday rental is how much money you can save by buying food, drinks and snacks for the duration of your stay!

  • If you want an Airbnb or villa, book early

Whilst many owners do higher their costs for peak times, some just have a basic rate that runs across the whole year. However, to find these cheap deals you’re going to have to get in and book early before someone else does.

And remember, if you haven’t used Airbnb before, you can get £25 off your first booking here!

  • Check more sites than just Airbnb

Hometogo searches lots of holiday rental websites, including Airbnb and it’s also worth checking out other websites such as Oliver’s Travels, Booking.com, Canopy and Stars and Sykes Holiday Cottages.

  • If you want an Airbnb or villa and have left it late, get ready to haggle!

Similar to hotels, Airbnb hosts don’t want their place going empty so put an offer in instead!.

Read my full guide on how to haggle on Airbnb here – there’s even a template email to send!

  • Booking a package holiday? Do it yourself for less!

One of my favourite things to do is to use package holiday sites as a springboard for my own searching. If they’re advertising a mega deal, before you hit ‘click’, have a search for the flights on Skyscanner and accommodation on Trivago to see if you could do it cheaper – often you can!

What I also like about this is that it’s a simple way to discover cheaper flights to popular destinations and then you could always swap out their chosen hotel for something more you, or perhaps even a villa or an apartment.

Do bear in mind that if you’re booking your flight and accommodation separately you will not get the ATOL or ABTA insurance offered by most package holiday companies so make sure you’ve got travel insurance and buy on a credit card or a visa debit card for added payment protection on purchases over £100. Read up on more ways to protect yourself here.

  • House sit for free accommodation

Did you know that you can bag free accommodation by looking after someone’s house, watering their plants or even feeding their pets? I’ve done it twice and it is amazing.

  • Get your flights for the cheapest price possible

Use my cheap flight checklist and find the scenario that best fits your getaway!

There’s also a list of alternative ways to whittle down that price at the end too.

  • Get £25 off by booking with cashback

This isn’t supposed to be part of the work I’ve been recently doing with Quidco but I thought I would highlight here that you can get a £25 bonus plus cashback by signing up to Quidco and spending £250 on travel before 9th Feb 2020 by using this link.

  • Visit a non traditional summer holiday destination

Yes, I’m sure you’d to relax at the beach but if you’re really after a great value holiday, I’d recommend heading inland or to a city. As there’s less demand for these destinations, you could end up finding a much better deal and just because it’s not by the sea doesn’t mean you can’t score yourself a hotel with a pool!

  • Fly inland and travel to the coast another way

If you’re really gagging for that beach holiday try flying inland instead – big capital cities that aren’t on the coast are normally a good shout as there’s lots of flights going there – and then look at either taking the train or driving to the coast.

Whilst not a beach destination, we once took a 2 hour train in Italy to get between Rome and Perugia and it cost just £10 each and was a lush way to travel (though that may have something to do with the bottle of prosecco we took on board…)

  • Pack light

The great thing about summer holidays is that it’s warm and you really don’t need to pack much. Make a clothes plan before you go away and stick to it. Use a big fabric backpack (this is what I use) that you’ll be able to use for flights with even the crappest allowances. If travelling in a group, book a suitcase between you for liquids if you really need them or order your liquids through click and collect at a Boots after security. Yep, THIS IS A THING!

I used to pack LOADS but now I love going travelling light – give it ago on your next holiday!

  • Not sure where you’re going to go? Use clever search engine tools

When you just want to get away, there are loads of search engine hacks that can help you spot a cheaper fare.

My favourite is the Ryanair fare finder which allows you to select date ranges. DREAMY.

WHY DOESN’T EVERYONE ELSE DO THIS??!!

Other search engines have great tools but a lot of them clump your searches into month blocks. This can be really helpful for August, but not in July when you only want to search for school holiday dates and the cheapest prices will obviously be those outside of that.

Here’s one way you can kind of hack your way around it – though it’s a bit long winded!

Kayak let’s you search for ‘anywhere’ and they also allow you state the duration of your trip – LOVE IT as it allows flexibility.

They also make out that you can search for 4 weeks around your selected date but it’s a lie mate.

Once you click search it forgets that date and then you can only select a whole month to search.

WHY ARE YOU TEASING US KAYAK?!!

However, I did find this helpful…

Once you’ve selected a destination, look to the right as this graph does allow you to toggle through the trip duration and you can spot where the cheaper prices will lie.

But then again, if you know what destination you want, you’ll also get this from the banging calendar view on Google Flights!

Google Flights also have a clever search tool that allows you to search for weekends, weeks and two week return flights in a certain month (though annoyingly we’re note quite at the summer holidays yet!).

On the homepage, leave your destination blank, click search, and then click into the dates and toggle over to ‘flexible dates’.

And as always, check your flights on Skyscanner before you book.

Skyscanner also allow you to search for ‘everywhere’ in a certain month but I’d like to see some more options from these guys in the future!


The Request

This week’s holiday hotline is a culmination of a few people asking for cheap summer holidays so I’m going to show you some of the deals I’ve rustled up for couples, families and groups of mates.

Remember, if you want to be involved with the next holiday hotline, make sure you’re following me over on Instagram.


Cheap summer flights from all over the UK

Before I give you some solid holiday options, here’s some cheap flights from all over the UK that might intrigue you but remember – check the accommodation prices before you hit buy on those cheap flights!

From London

Berlin, Germany – 5 nights – Weds 19th Aug – Mon 24th Aug – £58 each
Ibiza, Spain – 4/5 nights – Sat 8th Aug – Thu 13th Aug – £60 each
Nice, France – 7 nights – Tues 28th July – Tues 4th Aug – £67 each
Budapest, Hungary – 7 nights – Tues 18th Aug – Tues 25th Aug – £86 each
Seville, Spain – 7 nights – Thurs 6th Aug – Tues 11th Aug – £86 each
Porto, Portugal – 5 nights – Sun 26th July – Fri 31st July – £102 each
Luqa, Malta – 9 nights – Tues 21st July – Thu 30th July – £106 each
Faro, Portugal – 7 nights – Tues 28th July – Tues 4th Aug – £115 each

From Manchester

Copenhagen, Denmark – 5 nights – Wed 22nd July – Mon 27th July – £41 each
Amsterdam, Netherlands – 5 nights – Wed 12th Aug – Mon 17th Aug – £48 each
Prague, Czechia – 7 nights – Thu 6th Aug – Thu 13th Aug – £80 each
Lisbon, Portugal – 7 nights – Thu 20th Aug – Thu 27th Aug – £107 each
Barcelona, Spain – 5 nights – Sat 15th Aug – Thu 20th Aug – £110 each
Luqa, Malta – 7 nights – Wed 12th Aug – Thu 20th Aug –£130 each
Malaga, Spain – 8 nights – Wed 12th Aug – Thu 20th Aug – £136 each

From Cardiff

Dublin, Ireland – 7 nights – Wed 5th Aug – Wed 12th Aug – £58 each
Paris, France – 5 nights – Fri 7th Aug – Wed 12 July – £112 each
Malaga, Spain – 7 nights – Wed 22nd July – Wed 29th July – £118 each

From Edinburgh

Milan, Italy – 7 nights – Sun 16th Aug – Sun 23rd Aug – £75 each
Munich, Germany – 7 nights – Mon 3rd Aug – Mon 10th Aug – £76 each
Girona, Spain – 7 nights Sun 16th Aug – Sun 23rd Aug – £97 each
Faro, Portugal – 12 nights – Sun 23rd Aug – Weds 2nd Sep – £105 each
Dubrovnik, Croatia – 7 nights – Thu 13th Aug – Thu 20th Aug – £114 each

From BelfasT

Amsterdam, Netherlands – 7 nights – Sun 9th Aug – Sun 16th Aug – £73 each
Luqa, Malta – 7 nights – Tues 25th Aug – Tue 1st Sep – £75 each
Krakow, Poland – 7 nights – Thu 13th Aug – Thu 20th Aug – £124 each
Venice, Italy – 7 nights – Mon 27th July – Mon 3rd Aug – £156 each

From Leeds

Dublin, Ireland – 7 nights – Sun 26th July – Sun 2nd Aug – £44 each
Amsterdam, Netherlands – 5 nights – Sat 25th July – Thu 30th July – £94 each
Limoges, France – 7 nights – Thu 23rd July – Thu 30th July – £112 each
Pisa, Italy – 7 nights – Fri 14th Aug – Fri 21st Aug – £118 each

Hopefully that will give you some ideas but let’s put a few of them into motion to show what cheap accommodation you could find as well.


Cheap summer holidays for couples

THE HOLIDAY

Berlin is a great example of non-traditional summer holiday destination that’s a lot of fun in the warmer months.

James and I went last August and had the best time zipping about the city of e-scooters, drinking bottles of beer out in the sunshine and even travelling out to one of the many lakes Berlin brags on its outskirts.

What’s more, there are loads of great 4 star hotels available for around £60 a night – even in the summer – though do check whether there will be aircon. Ours didn’t have any initially and it was SO WARM!

FLIGHTS

London to Berlin, Germany
Weds 19th Aug – Mon 24th Aug
£57 each

ACCOMODATION

Leonardo Royal Hotel Berlin Alexanderplatz
4 star
£59 a night / £147.50 each for 5 nights

What’s more, if you book with Quidco you can earn 8.4% cashback if you book with a credit card, as well as qualifying for the bonus £25 back if you sign up with this link.

TOTAL

Without cashback – £204.50 each for 5 nights
With cashback and bonus – £179.61 each for 5 nights


Cheap summer holidays for families

THE HOLIDAY

So, I’m going to show you hear how you can use package holiday sites to find a good deal but then book it yourself to save even more money.

Here’s a week long holiday to Mazagón, a beach town in Andalusia, Spain. The Mazagon hotel has a kids club, entertainment and a pretty bad ass pool (hello pirate ship and slides) and the price per night includes half board which should help keep your daily costs down.

I found this deal on loveholidays which is great website to use if you’re a fan of package holidays as I love the fact you can select multiple departure airports – for this I selected ‘Any North West’ – and that you can select a date but then add up to 5 days flexibility either side.

However, let’s take these details and break it down.

FLIGHTS

Manchester to Seville
Weds 19th Aug to Weds 26th Aug
£97 each / £386 total

HOTEL

By searching on Google Hotels, Trivago and even with the hotel directly, I’ve found the same room for £153 a night with LogiTravel.

TOTAL

The total cost for a family of four comes in at £1460 – that’s £104 cheaper than booking it as a package.

That works out at £365 each.

Again, check out the cashback deal I’ve got running at the moment to earn a bonus £25 plus cashback on the hotel, meaning you’d save £117 pounds bringing the overall total in at £335.75 each.

It is worth noting that booking your holiday as a package can mean you can put down a small deposit (though in this case, LogiTravel also allow you to put down a small deposit for just your hotel) and that you won’t get the same insurance that comes with booking parts of your holiday together.

However, there are some straight forward ways to cover yourself – including buying on a credit or visa debit card and making sure your travel insurance covers insolvency.

You can read up on this here!


Cheap summer holidays for groups

THE HOLIDAY

For our final search, I’m going to show you another way to get a cheaper summer holiday – find the accommodation first!

I find this is especially helpful when you’ve got quite niche requirements, so for this example, here’s what I’m searching for:

  • 24th August for one week (give or take a few days)
  • 6 people
  • At least 3 bedrooms
  • At least 2 bathrooms
  • Hot weather destination
  • Air conditioning
  • Pool

The reasoning behind this is that if you can nail a great price for where you’re staying, you’ll save way more than scoring some cheap flights and then trying to find accommodation that suits.

ACCOMMODATION

So, to search for this I’m going to head over to Airbnb and in the search bar, type ‘Europe’.

I’ll then enter my dates (24th Aug – 31st Aug) and the amount of guests I’m after (6).

Next, I’ll click on ‘Stays’ and on the next screen, will use the filters to finely tune what I’m after.

E.g.

  • Entire place
  • Max budget of £150 a night
  • At least 3 beds
  • At least 3 bedrooms
  • At least 2 bathrooms
  • Air conditioning
  • Pool

Even after all of that, Airbnb is showing me 300+ places to stay so now it’s about using the map to see where may be easy to get to and for a good price.

Almost instantly I find this UNREAL home for an incredibly good price in the south of Spain.

Airbnb
Ribera Baja
Sleeps 12 – 4 bedrooms – 3 bathrooms
£138 a night / £964 total

Get £25 off your first stay

What’s more, the availability on the calendar tells me it’s free from 21st August so we do have some flexibility on dates which will help find the best value flights.

It’s a 2 hours drive from Malaga and a 2.5 hour drive from Seville, so there’s also some flexibility there as well.

FLIGHTS TO MALAGA

Fri 21st Aug – Fri 28th Aug
From London – £141 each

Tues 25th Aug – Tues 1st Sep
From Belfast – £89 each
From Glasgow – £95 each
From Edinburgh – £111 each

FLIGHTS TO SEVILLE

Fri 21st Aug – Fri 28th Aug
From London – £114 each
From Manchester – £152 each

Sat 22nd Aug – Sat 29th Aug
From Edinburgh – £120 each

Mon 24th Aug – Mon 31st Aug
From Manchester – £140 each

Tues 25th Aug – Tues 1st Sep
From Bristol – £116 each

TOTAL

So, if you’re flying from Belfast, this place for six people could be as cheap as £249 each for one week.

BUT, if you were to fill up the place to capacity and have 12 of you staying, it could be as cheap as £214 each!

(Before you question my maths, the price of the Airbnb goes up with the amount of people who stay!)


Phew! That was an epic one! Wanna say thanks?

If I’ve helped you out, or you fancy getting access to more perks (and more holiday hotlines!) then you can also support me over on Patreon for the price of a really average coffee once a month.


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Some of these links are affiliated – it doesn’t cost you a penny more but I may earn a little something that will help me run this site. Feel free to search these deals independently!

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