Booking your holiday within budget can seem like mission impossible as you search for flights, hotels, hire cars and excursions that make for the perfect getaway at an affordable price. In this article, you'll find our favourite websites to help source the best holiday deals as well as package holidays. We've even added money-saving sites for taxis abroad, currency cards and some alternative websites you may not have come across.
Tips before you start searching for your holiday
- Flexibility will get you the best deal so unless you're bound to them, keep your dates, times of travel and even destinations flexible - you might be nicely surprised with what you find.
- Ensure you've checked Covid rules for all parts of your journey as you may need to plan ahead to get vaccinations, Covid passes or testing before you go.
- Check that your passports are valid and some destinations will require your passport to be valid for up to 6 months after you travel so it's worth checking that too.
- Set your browser to incognito mode when you search for your holiday - this means that the website you're searching on can't store your search, which some do, meaning when you return after an initial couple of browsing sessions to book, you may find the price is increased because the provider knows you're getting closer to making a decision.
Now you're ready to start searching for your holiday.
Save money when you travel
For a range of holiday spending, we have researched, tried and tested many sites to give your our favourite ways to book everything, holidays!
A popular choice amongst holidaymakers, Expedia is a one-stop-shop for flights, accommodation, cars, package deals and things to do. It is easy to use and navigate with plenty of filters to personalise your search and includes a wide range of airlines, hotels,
Google flights is a slick way to find flight comparisons laid out in a very easy-to-use format with additional filter features including duration of the flight, time of travel, number of stops and even a low-emission option. The search results will show you whether your flight has a low, average or above-average carbon emission so you can make climate-friendly choices. Google flights also point out where you can make a saving by booking your outward and return flights separately.
Kayak is another one-stop shop for a massive range of holiday-related bookings that include, flights, stays, cars, campers, ferries, things to do, trains/buses, package deals and even travel insurance. The site is easy to navigate and has a new feature that highlights travel restrictions when they apply so you're not caught out. This leading travel comparison site pulls results from a number of providers but if you're looking for the cheapest option remember to select this from the sort function as Kayak's 'recommended' choices are partly driven by how much money Kayak is paid by that provider.
With a 4.4 out of 5 star rating on Trust Pilot, Skyscanner provides a comprehensive search of flights that is easy to use. Skyscanner gives users a choice of the cheapest, fastest and best flights to choose from. Do bear in mind that baggage costs are not always included depending on the airline and some budget airlines will add the cost of baggage and other optional features like seat selection to your flight cost once you proceed with your booking. A handy function allows Skyscanner to alert you if your flight price changes so that you can monitor any jumps and falls while you're making your mind up.
For all types of accommodation from the basic and functional to the quirky and one-of-a-kind properties, Airbnb can offer choices that you may not find on any other comparison sites. Airbnb largely presents options to book privately owned and managed properties but there are commercial properties available to book as well. Mostly, you'll find options of rooms, apartments and homes with some hotel options where they exist.
If you're staying in the UK, train journeys can be a stress-free and fun way to travel. Redspottedhanky compares the price of retail train tickets, impartially and independently, for all train operating companies and train journeys in the UK. You won't be charged any credit or debit card fees, nor will you be charged any booking fees.
Holidaying in the UK? Planning on driving? The Petrol Prices site allows users to search for the cheapest petrol in the area quickly and you can receive regular e-mail alerts letting you know when the prices change. Alternatively, simply download the smartphone app for up-to-date results on the go.
Holiday transfers offer airport transfer services from thousands of destinations at an affordable price. Whether you want a holiday taxi, a shuttle direct to your resort, a coach for a group trip, or a limousine for something special, they have a happy driver with a well-maintained vehicle to get you there on a budget.
When you join CouchSurfing, you tap into its network of welcoming people worldwide. You can bypass the typical hotel experience by staying at the home of a local and learning about their culture. Or in other words - you can use the site to crash on people's sofas for free. It goes without saying that you should take care when meeting up with strangers online. It would be wise to check out the website's 'safety' section.
If you fancy a break in the UK, Holiday Cottages is full of stays that range from very basic to ultra-luxurious. It even has a 'last-minute offers' section.
Love Home Swap
Go on a 'free' holiday through Love Home Swap by swapping your property with other registered users.
Avoid getting ripped off with expensive excess waiver policies at the car hire desk when you arrive at your destination. iCarhireinsurance offers a range of policies that are fully comprehensive and accepted at all car rental locations worldwide. The excess payments on most hire car insurance policies are often over £500 and can be as high as £1,500. The costs involved with insuring a car against these excess car rental payments are expensive - at least £9 a day from most car hire companies, and often don’t cover the parts that are most likely to get damaged like the windows, tyres and roof. icarhireinsurance.com offers policies that cover parts like windows, tyres and the roof at very affordable prices.
Searching the world for the best car hire companies and the best prices is easy with Holiday Autos. It offers fully-inclusive pre-paid car hire - so no add-ons and no hidden extras.
Revolut offers a pre-paid currency card that allows you to make payments abroad fee-free using the interbank exchange rate in over 150 currencies. Customers with a current account can also withdraw up to £200 a month while abroad, fee-free. Make sure to check out our independent Revolut review.