Weekend breaks make for the perfect quick getaway, but how can couples, friends and families operating on a budget expect to get away for less?
Travelling at weekends is notorious for being expensive, and many hotels tend to increase their prices to meet the higher demand. It's annoying but easy to see why - the weekend is the perfect opportunity to spend quality time with friends and loved ones without having to organise time off work first.
So, how can you ensure you get away for less? It doesn't matter where you're planning on going, our tips and tricks will help you catch a break at the very best price.
Time it right
Whether you're flying across the channel to Paris or keeping your feet firmly on the ground with a trip to Bath, timing really is everything. Deals certainly aren't limited to days during the working week, you just need to know when and where to look for the best prices.
If you're planning on taking a train during your journey, sign up for Trainline Alerts. You can enter your desired destination and travel dates, and an alert will be sent to your email address 12 weeks in advance. Travellers are guaranteed the cheapest possible train prices on this date, which is reassuring as train tickets continue to rise. Be quick though - cheap tickets are limited!
Heading to Europe? Eurostar offers great deals to customers who book early. Tickets can be booked up to 120 days in advance, and the earlier you are the cheaper your journey will be. A return trip to Paris can cost as little as £69, just don't hang around if you're looking at bagging the best possible price, they won't last forever.
You can also cut back by choosing alternative methods of transport like Megabus. The earlier you book the cheaper travel may be, but you can often travel across the UK for under £10. It may take a bit longer, but it's a great way to save money.
We understand not all weekends away are planned months in advance. Spontaneity adds to the fun, and you can be rewarded for making last minute decisions.
Be smart about booking, and do some background research on your hotel of choice. Don't completely rely on a hotel's star rating. Check TripAdvisor to see what others thought of the place - you may find a cheaper hotel turns out to be a hidden gem.
If you don't mind the risk, book a 'mystery' hotel with SuperBreak or through lastminute.com's Top Secret hotels. The name of the hotel isn't revealed, often making the deal much cheaper, but you can see ratings from previous customers and websites like TripAdvisor. The star rating and location are often revealed, and from the description it's often easy to work out which hotel it is you're booking.
Use price comparison websites
Flexibility isn't always possible, so if you know exactly where and when you want to travel, let the price comparison websites do the hard work for you.
Make sure you get the best price for your weekend of choice by scanning a range of websites. Some specialise in accommodation, others aim to find the cheapest travel options, while a selection of websites can do both for you.
For flights, we recommend using:
For hotels, try a selection of the websites below:
It's always worth ringing hotels directly to see if they'll beat the deal you've found on a comparison website. Don't just check one comparison site either, it's worth checking a couple to see if they offer anything extra and then checking other websites directly. Not every single flight or hotel will be visible on a comparison website!
A weekend break might be exactly what you need, but you don't have to burn a hole in your pocket to get away. City break or country escape, there are so many tools online to help you cut down the cost.
Don't pay full price, save those extra pennies and put them to good use while you're exploring a new city or country!