Tag: Thomas Cook

Last minute holiday deals – where to find them

TRAVEL BLOG

Booking a last minute holiday a few weeks before departure can be excellent value, but you need to free your mind and be open to options. So do you make a beeline for your trusty high street travel agents, or fire up your laptop?

If you have time to surf for deals, the web is your answer. But before your fingers even touch the keyboard decide on your budget. Then be prepared to be as flexible on dates and destinations as you can. Carrying out a general sweep with online agents such as Kayak, Travel Republic or Last Minute of what is available for your dates is your next step. From this, you will get a feel for the destinations and type of accommodation on offer. At this point, you can effectively start to narrow your search.

Set your sights high. Go for the best quality and the best deals first. Be mindful of what suits you. Self-catered, B&B or all-inclusive. And don’t get distracted!

The big names

All inclusive last minute holidays are perfect if you have a strict budget you want to stick to it while on holiday. They are also great if you want a standard 7-night deal which is all-inclusive.

Many of the big operators offer great prices on large accommodation sites with lots of facilities. But venture out of the norm in search of a 5 or 6-night bespoke last minute holiday and you may soon become frustrated. If you haven’t got time to trawl the web for hours have a quick look at the online sites for Thomas Cook or First choice and pop down to the high street branch.

DIY

If you have a lot of time on your hands and have a clear idea of what you want, putting a package together yourself can save a few pounds. According to Skyscanner’s data, it is a bit of a fallacy that flights will always be more expensive closer to the departure date. Booking four to seven weeks can sometimes bag you the best flight fares. Google flights is a useful source for finding the best flight prices across the airlines for specific flights and destinations without having to visit the individual providers home pages.

Once you have narrowed down your search to a destination, an airline and a date don’t forget to reference the airlines own holiday sites for specific last minute deals. Booking a hotel/flight package with BA or Easyjet with them can sometimes be cheaper.

Then use the big accommodation provider sites like Booking.com or HomeAway to collect ideas of what suits you. Don’t forget to cross-reference prices to find the best deal. Sometimes owners websites offer better deals. Happy hunting!

Travelling light? – beware of weight restrictions

Travel blog

Travelling light is not just about being careful with your money. Speed and weight are an attractive factor for minimising your luggage. However, the goal posts constantly sift and some airline weight restrictions are shockingly low. So doing your homework is essential before you book.

Speed

Flying with only hand luggage with a pre-printed boarding pass gives travellers the freedom to skip the check-in queues. It also saves precious minutes waiting for luggage to drop onto carousel when you land and excludes the chance of lost luggage. The downside to travelling light is joining the rush to jam it into the aircrafts overhead storage lockers.

Weight

Gone are the aching shoulders and backs from loading and unloading the car or taxi. Or struggling up and down stairs at the train station. Hand luggage with wheels allows any traveller to glide effortlessly through the airport like the airline staff. However, with reduced weight comes the unfortunate reality of a restriction in content. Travelling light is perfect for short holidays, hot destinations or somewhere with laundry opportunities. But not so great for those winter holidays to colder climates.

Budget airlines

The budget airlines, Flybe, RyanAir and Easyjet have allowed many travellers to become masters in the art of travelling light.  And their generous weight allowance can allow most travellers to pack adequate clothing for a few weeks.

Shockingly holiday specialists Thomson offers the lowest weight of hand luggage on their flights. A mere 5kg. Thomas Cook is not much better with just 1kg more. Both companies flight prices keep them out of the realm of the budget airlines. And both charge for hold luggage if you book flights independent of their package holidays. Just a little something to watch out for when heading for the sun this summer.