Now that the weeks of wind and rain we have all see this winter seem to be over, at least for now, it's natural to crave the sunshine and look forward to a holiday. But it can be challenging to find a good value break, particularly if you want to travel during peak periods. In turn, for parents who are limited to travelling during school holidays, you have to be even savvier when it comes to finding a good value holiday and it can be frustrating to see prices rise during periods of high demand. With that in mind, here are eight money-saving tips to make sure you find better value during busy periods:
1. Check out new and upcoming destinations
Upcoming and undiscovered locations can often provide good value. For example, Hotels.com's Hotel Price Index shows that Latvia has some of the lowest priced hotel rooms in Europe, with an average price paid of just £61 a night in 2013. In the capital Riga, events are taking place throughout the year as part its role as the 2014 European Capital of Culture so it can offer a fun holiday where you can make your Euros go further.
2. Follow the pound
Research the exchange rates for your preferred destination and go where the pound is strong. Visiting the place where your spending money will go the furthest is a wise choice; you might even want to consider splashing out on a higher grade hotel or paying more for a flight as you'll be compensated by the cost of eating out and sightseeing when you arrive.
3. Trust recommendations
Start by asking around for recommendations - use your friends and family as well as online reviews that you can trust to find a hotel or location that has offered a great experience at the right price in the past - chances are they will do it again! Social media sites and forums also offer communities for you to find the best deals and hear about real-life holidays. At Hotels.com, all our hotel reviews have been submitted by people who have actually stayed in those hotels so you can be sure that they are genuine.
4. Be flexible on location
If you are visiting a big city, stay outside the more expensive centre and find somewhere close to good transport links. Many destinations have easy-to-use and regular public transport so that you can make significant savings. For the sake of a couple of Metro or bus stops, the location compromise is often worth it and, in some cases, you could even hire a car with the amount saved.
5. Switch business hotels for holidays
During the summer months and at weekends, you can often find lower rates in hotels located in the business districts of many large cities when they are less busy. You may also be able to stay on for a few days after conferences you have attended, to mix business and pleasure for a good deal.
6. Take advantage of loyalty programmes and deals
At Hotels.com, we reward customers by giving them a free night's stay after they have built up ten nights with us. Over 10 million people have now joined the Welcome Rewards programme and we've given away more than one million free* nights to our membership base. Make sure that you're rewarded for being a loyal customer.
7. Seek out the sales
Sign up to customer e-newsletters so that you will be the first to hear about seasonal sales and promotions, including exclusive offers and money-off vouchers which are often available for last-minute offers and advance bookings. Some companies offer exclusive deals for booking online or via mobile as well as to Facebook fans or Twitter followers. Keep your eyes peeled for deals or coupons.
8. Take a peek at peak period times
Before booking, it's a good idea to investigate when the peak travel periods are for the destination that you are planning to visit. Timings vary considerably from country to country and even county to county, so it's worth taking a few minutes to check this online. You can get much better value for money by visiting during the off-peak season. It's also worth taking a look to see when local schools are on holiday as this can affect hotel prices.
*The maximum value of the free night is the average daily rate of the 10 nights stayed. The free night does not include taxes and fees.