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Chelsea Dickenson's best holiday deals!

New research revealed that despite the cost of living crisis, people are so keen to have a holiday this year that they’re cutting back on takeaways, meals out and new clothes in order to afford a bit of sunshine. So, holidays expert Chelsea Dickenson is here with her tried-and-tested hacks for getting the best holiday deal. 

Tips before you book: 

  • Find your accommodation first - don't let cheap flights distract you, £40 more on a flight will be well worth it if your accommodation is £300 cheaper for that period.

  • Be flexible on your dates and destination 

  • The cheapest flights are midweek and early in the morning or late at night 

  • Use data to find out if you've got a good price - Kayak, Google Flights and apps like Hopper will compile all the data to tell you whether you're getting a good price for the flight you're searching for. Kayak and Hopper will even advise you on whether you should book now, or wait a while longer! 

  • Don't worry too much about incognito mode - There's very little evidence to show that browsing in 'private mode' will give you a cheaper fare. 

Hotel only bookings: 

  • Stay Saturday to Monday - make the most of cheap Sunday hotel prices. 

  • Find the cheapest night for your bucket list hotel - Google Hotels will show you the nightly cost for most hotels in their calendar view. 

  • Use Pruvo to book your hotel booking - If you've booked a room with free cancellation, Pruvo will track your booking for you and email you if the price dips. That way you can rebook for a cheaper price! 

  • Ask for an upgrade - Email ahead and be kind, polite and tell them exactly what you want. If it's a special occasion, mention it. 

Long haul flights

  • Check for flights with a layover 

  • Sign up to free cheap flight newsletters - Jack's Flight Club and Secret Flying alert you when there's an unreal deal to be had. Recently, there were business class flights to North America for £500! 

  • Check to see if you have any airline miles - There are supermarkets that allow you to convert your reward points into airline miles. With Tesco, you can turn every Clubcard point into 2.5 Virgin Points, so £1.50 in Clubcard vouchers will get you 375 Virgin Points. With Nectar (Sainsburys), every 400 Nectar points converted is 250 Avios, and every 300 Avios is 400 Nectar points. 

  • Earn miles from credit card spending 

  • Try and get a free upgrade! I asked my followers about what has worked for them and the list included: If you know anyone that works for the airline, let them know you're travelling; If it's a special occasion like a birthday or your wedding, let the airline know; Be the first or very last to check-in; Travel solo; Bring treats for the crew; Be kind!

Short haul flights

  • Know your baggage policies - some airlines allow you to bring a small carry-on suitcase and a small personal item, some only allow a small suitcase, and others only allow 1 small personal item. 

  • Need a little extra luggage? Try a viral packing hack! - Be it stuffing pants into your neck pillow, using a duty free bag or packing extra clothes into a too big bra, there's plenty of cheeky hacks to up the amount of hand luggage you have. My top tip is to wear anything extra on your body - this will mean it won't affect your weight restrictions! 

  • The airline's package deals aren't always good value.

  • Check business class - Once I was flying home from Rome in half term and the economy fares were £185 each. I checked business class for a laugh and they were... £150! Business class often includes 2 checked bags and so if you are checking in lots of luggage, it can sometimes work out cost effective that way too.

UK breaks

  • Leave the destination search box blank - Try typing in 'England' or 'United Kingdom' and instead use the filters to find what works for your budget. My favourite is to find cheap places with a seaview and a hot tub - it can be done!

  • Get your haggle on! - Did you know that you can haggle on Airbnb? I've done it several times and it's a great way to bring the cost down. It works best if you're staying for over 5 days or you're booking really last minute. 

  • Use deal sites - Travelzoo and Secret Escapes negotiate cheaper rates and so there's some amazing value stays on there. 'I found a 2 night stay at this gorgeous hotel on Travelzoo where you got a room upgrade and breakfast and it was £209 instead of £458'. 

  • Don't say no to hostels - Hostels have had a real revamp in recent years - with plenty of boutique options to choose between! These are great for families where you can book private rooms for cheaper than a hotel room for 2. 

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