How to always get the best deal on family holiday packages

Family holiday packages can be very expensive especially if there are a few of you. However, there are a few tricks that will help you get a great family holiday deal regardless of whether you are a single parent family, parents with more than one child or have a brood with a mix of ages. 

So let's cut to the chase. How can you get the best deal on family holiday packages?

Well, first of all throw away the brochures. Brochure prices are typically much more expensive than booking online. Brochure prices for family holidays to the Algarve or Spain can start at around £500 per person in low season and go upto £700+ per week in high season.  When you consider that many low cost online travel companies can provide holidays for as cheap as £99 per person then it easy to see where the best deals are. In 2012, Which magazine did a mystery shopping test that confirmed most travel agents charged more in the shop than the prices they were selling holidays for online.  I haven't personally booked a holiday at a travel agent for more than 20 years and I don't think I ever will again. 

How can I get the best deals on family holiday packages on the internet?

Several websites advertise cheap holidays, bargain breaks and knock down prices but sadly they don't all deliver. I know because I have spent hours searching to get the best price on many occasions.  Also it is important to make sure whichever one you use it ATOL and ABTA protected. This is something they are proud of so they will make a point of mentioning it on their website. This ensures that you are protected if the airline goes out of business.  All the big budget travel companies are registered but not all give equal value.  

If you want to pay in instalments but with cheaper prices than the travel agent then check out On The Beach. They have many of the hotels you will see in the brochures but for much less. Sometimes it is hundreds of pounds less and sometimes it is thousands. So, it is worth having a look. I have personally used them and was very happy with the deal I got.

For last minute family holiday deals, try You have to ring up to book but their staff are very helpful. We got a two week family holiday in Greece from them last year for just £289 per person in August.

How often before I go on holiday shall I book?

Generally, cheap holiday bargainscan be found either well in advance when the flights are released. This is usually around nine months before. If you can't or don't want to book that far ahead then book three months before.  You can sometimes get a good deal a few weeks or even a day before but if you have to go at a certain time because of work or school holidays then this is the best method to use. 

To get the best deals on family packages, be flexible!

If you are willing to be flexible on your dates and the airports you can fly from you will get the best deals on family packages. The bigger airports like London Stanstead and Gatwick and Manchester tend to have the most flights so therefore more chance for cheap deals. However, if you decide to fly from another city keep in mind how much it will cost to get there and any hotel costs. 

How to find the cheapest deals on budget holiday website

When you visit any of the sites I mentioned and you have put your dates and accommodation requirements in, you will get a list of deals based on the travel companies recommendations. These will not always be the cheapest deals they have. So click the tab at the top that says sort in order of and it will say something like "our recommendations" or "best value". Change it to price lowest first. This will bring up the cheapest holiday they have on offer and while some of them will be nowhere near what you want, you can often find a little gem. 

Ice Lolly's search automatically sorts your selection in order of price but if you aren't bothered where you go as long as it is hot and sunny make sure you put any destination in each one of the search boxes. Also, don't forget to click the tab if you are looking for a city break, a skiing holiday, a cruise or a UK holiday because ( like me sun) is it's automatic default. But if you find one you like and ring up make sure you ask them if they have anything else that is good value. Not all will be listed on the site. 

Does it make a difference what month I travel in terms of price?

If you have booked a holiday before you will probably know that July and August are very expensive mainly because it is the school holidays and very hot. However, don't limit yourself to just the late summer months. I know that most of us have to go during school holidays but destinations like the Canary Islands are hot all year round. For beach holidays, May is very cheap because it is the start of the season and most people book later in the year. You won't necessarily have the blazing heat of July and August but you will be able to wear your beach gear without catching your death. 

If you have young kids that aren't in school yet then you can get some real bargains in September and October. The weather will have cooled down a little in European resorts but it will still be gorgeous. 

Sometimes it takes a bit of searching around but there are a lot of bargain family holidays to be found on the internet so don't lose heart.  Go your own tips? Let us know in the comments below.