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Image / Travel

Everything you need to know before you book your summer holidays


By Amanda Cassidy
11th Feb 2023

Harshil Guka

Everything you need to know before you book your summer holidays

It's the most wonderful time of the year...for me, at least. But as the evenings get longer and we start dreaming of cocktails on the beach, Amanda Cassidy looks at some of the best ways to start coordinating your hollibops

Though holidays abroad can come with an expensive price tag, in-depth planning and preparation can make your budget stretch a lot further.

Indeed, since the pandemic, holidays at home have boomed with many now having a new appreciation for the facilities and beauty on our own doorstep.

With the cost of living in Ireland rising, people may find it challenging to save up for a The best time to book a holiday is generally as far in advance as possible, for example in the first few months of the year if it’s a summer break.

We’ve put together some easy to follow tips from travel editors to make your family holidays run a little more smoothly.

Put the work in

It’s all very well having the convenience of a travel agent, but with just a small amount of research, you can make significant savings. For example buy your departure and return flights separately. Making two separate bookings may not always be cheaper but, in some cases, can knock about 20% off your final booking fee.

To compare, search for a return trip and two separate trips and pick which gives you the best value for money.

Consider a cruise

Cruise lines announce itineraries 18 months or more in advance, so the best cruising deals can often be found by planning a trip well ahead. Planning your cruise holiday early is especially important if you have specialist needs in terms of the type of cabin or stateroom.

When it comes to the cruising industry, the booking sweet spot also known as the ‘wave season’, is from January to March.

This is the period when a lot of popular cruises first go on sale and travellers can get the best deals, as fares often rise as the ship fills up.

Save on flights

According to research, travellers who booked flights around six months in advance managed to save 20% compared to those who waited until two months or less to book.

The research also revealed that Sunday is the best day to book flights and other travel, with savings of up to 20% compared to Friday – this could be due to the fact that offers are refreshed at the end of each week.

However, when it comes to departures, Friday tends to be the cheapest day of the week, as those who started their trip on a Friday saved 15% more than those who departed at the beginning of the week.

However, those who are flexible with their dates can also take advantage of some amazing last-minute deals on cruises, hotels and other forms of package holiday, especially outside of peak booking periods like school holidays.

James Cole, founder and managing director at Panache says you can never be too prepared. “The cost of living crisis is driving up costs for all travel businesses, so booking early will lock in the price which could rise as fuel, food and staff costs continue to rise. The best time to book a summer holiday is January through March, which is the time when industry-wide sales occur.

House swap

Célia Pronto is the managing director of Love Home Swap, a home exchange website with over 18,000 homes in more than 100 countries. She says they’ve seen a significant rise in new members signing up for the service.

We’ve seen marked changes to the countries and destinations people are home swapping to and from, but our renewal rates (for members whose subscription fees were due for renewal), have remained incredibly resilient.

“There’s been a steady increase in the number of new members joining us, particularly in countries where restrictions are lifting. Last year, following the initial outbreak, we saw a 282% increase in those taking up a free trial with us in May following a cautious April in lockdown, with this number increasing further by 73% in June.”

Home swapping offers authentic, original and unique holiday accommodation for travel-lovers looking for something a little different to the usual hotel holiday or staycation. It’s also not just homes that are swapped, it’s frequently a bit of a life swap too.

Family camping

As a travel journalist I get asked regularly what my favourite holiday was and I always come back to the balmy, frizzy days of mobile home holidays. There’s something so lovely about not having to worry about dressing up for dinner, of lazy card-playing evenings sitting on the deck sipping rose, of the glorious chaos of getting everyone down to the pool on their bikes. It’s a coming of age place where my own children have had happy memories of learning to cycle, learning to dive, meeting new, foreign friends. I know the same can be said for luxury holidays but there’s something uniquely wholesome about a campaign holiday that I’ve never quite been able to replicate.

My tip here is to book campsites near cities (like Florence and Rome) so you can take in some sites. Don’t be afraid to move around. For some (like me) holidays and travel amount to the same thing. I love a good relax on a sunbed, but you can’t beat exploring new parts of the world.

Photos via Unsplash

@Harshil Gudka

@Weiqi Ziong