Cheap holidays: best practices

According to a study by Cofidis, the French holiday budget is down by around 8%. So this year’s holidays will be all about saving money.

So whether you’re planning to bask on a sandy beach abroad or go hiking along a path in central France, find the best practices to book your holiday at the best price.

Identify your constraints

The first thing to do is to identify your most restrictive criteria. Every traveller is looking for the best place, the perfect dates, the shortest journey time and the lowest price. If you want to optimise, one thing is certain: you need to prioritise your criteria.

Do you have a date or location constraint? Visit the websites where you want to buy your tickets regularly. As soon as you like an offer, make sure you book straight away.

Do you have more of a budget constraint, with no problem of location or date? Go for flexibility, and visit the clearance websites regularly. Pay attention to the advertising too, as some major groups use it to highlight their latest availability on their remaining dates.

Anticipate your holidays

Anticipation remains the key to budget holidays. Betting on lower prices is very risky, because most transport and accommodation companies follow an « upward pricing » logic. So the closer you are to your departure date, the higher the price.

It’s already possible to find « early booking » deals, so start planning your holiday now for 4, 6 or more months from now – your wallet will thank you!

Stay flexible

The more specific you are about dates, location or modes of transport, the more likely it is that prices will rise.

Avoid going during school holidays (French holidays, but also those of the country you want to visit), and favour so-called « off-peak » weeks, when prices are often cheaper because companies are looking to maximise their occupancy rather than their average price.

Compare all the possible options. There are many alternatives to consider, including car-sharing, taking the bus or hiring a car from other people. If you look hard enough, and again if you’re flexible about journey times, you can find cheaper alternatives to traditional modes of transport such as planes and trains.

Remain vigilant about IP Tracking

IP Tracking and Revenue Management are often confused, but let’s remember: they are two diametrically different practices.

IP tracking is not carried out by Revenue Management; it is an illegal practice, although some companies still use it. To make sure you don’t fall victim to it, it’s best to combine these tips:

  • Do your research on different comparison sites
  • Get into the habit of private browsing
  • Finally, using another computer and another Internet connection, make a definitive reservation as quickly as possible before a future price increase.
What about this summer?

Do you still want to enjoy the sun this summer at the last minute? Opt for the end of August instead. The weeks from 20 August and 27 August are the best ones to choose!

Better still, if you have the chance, opt for September, when prices can be divided by 2 or even 3.

Any last advice on travel days?

Many sites now offer access to a price calendar. Once again, the more flexible you are about your departure date and time, the more likely you are to pay less.

In concrete terms, if you have chosen to travel by plane, to avoid being classed as a « business » traveller – who would make a return trip during the week – make sure you allow at least one Saturday on the spot.

Finally, as a general rule, the golden rule is not to leave on a Friday or return on a Sunday at the end of the day, the preferred days and times for holidaymakers when demand, and therefore prices, are often at their highest.

So, rather than gambling on a last-minute poker hand, AN-TI-CI-PA-TE!

You now have all the keys you need to make sure you book your next holiday at the best price!

We spoke on this subject on TF1‘s 20H news programme:

Keywords: Holiday, best practice, anticipation, flexible, IP Tracking