How to plan the perfect holiday and stay in budget.

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I love going on holidays and yet have never been to a travel agent in my life!! I always book my holidays online and all it takes is a bit of organisation and some spare time to do your research. Some of my greatest bargains have been an Ibiza hol last May costing me less than £150 and i've just bagged some hotel bargains in Australia for this month. So how do i do it???

Always start with flights, flights tend to go up in cost the nearer you are to the date as opposed to going down so book these first. Try the cheaper airlines first but don't forget some of the more expensive ones often have occasional bargains so give them a quick look. Log all the cheap deals on a word document to refer back to. Think about your flight times and how you will get to the airport. It is worth comparing pre booked train travel and car parking at the airport as there are huge savings to be made if you explore all options. I am soon flying off to Australia and after getting rough prices from some of the most popular websites i then rang them all back and told them what i had found elsewhere. Some airlines will offer a lowest price guarantee so if you can prove its cheaper elsewhere you can often get a price match on an airline that provides better service as they do not take this into account when comparing prices.

Work through your holiday in order so make all flight arrangements and travel to airport first. Once this is booked you can begin to look for cheap hotels. Its worth checking out the hotel for reviews by people who have actually spent time there. Tripadvisor is a great site for this. I went to Prague the other year and was about to book what looked like a bargain, prices were good and pics looked ace. I checked tripadvisor first fortunately and discovered recent visitors had complained of bed bugs!! I went on to find a better hotel in Prague for £10 per person per night and to give you an idea of how good it was....when we arrived there was a wrap party going on in the function room for the latest James Bond movie who had just finished filming there!!

More recently i have discovered a great ploy on a site called wotif. I am researching accommodation in Australia and they offer secret hotel deals so you only know the area not the exact hotel. It does give you the star rating and they are a hotel already advertising on the site. The way to see if its a good deal or not is to copy and paste the outline description of the secret hotel then systematically check all the other hotels with the same star rating. Compare things like checkin/out times, facilities, valet parking and cost of roll out beds and extra persons in the room. By doing this we managed to work out which hotel was the secret one and booked for half the price!!

I have done the same with internal flights in Australia as well. You usually get an option to pay in their currency or british pounds. Check what the exchange rate is they are using and then check the rate that your card you are booking with will use. By doing this i have saved a fortune as the exchange rate is so good at the moment i found it cheaper to book in dollars and let my bank use their exchange rate rather than the one advertised on the site.

Hope this helps a few people get the holiday they want at a much cheaper price leaving more money to spend when you are on hols.

Good websites include, wotif, expedia, tripadvisor, lastminute, easyjet, dialaflight.

I have made huge savings using these sites it is also a good idea when you see a hotel you fancy, find their own website and contact them direct to see if its cheaper that way. I made another saving booking a hotel in the blue mountains in Australia by booking direct with them.

It does take time and organisation but its worth the effort cos when i'm on a private island in a few weeks time, all inclusive i will be grinning smugly at all the rich people who paid a fortune to be there when i got it less than half price!!!

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