Summer savings – Manchester Airport’s tips for making your money go further when booking your next holiday
If you find yourself dreaming of golden sand and a sun lounger this month, you’re not alone. January is one of the busiest times of year for holiday bookings, as travellers dispel the post-Christmas blues by scheduling in their next warm-weather getaway.
Manchester Airport will be the gateway of choice for many holidaymakers in the region, not least because of the sheer variety of destinations it serves – more than 200 near and far-flung places to explore across four continents, allowing more adventurous sunseekers to look beyond the traditional holiday hotspots.
We know many will be pondering how to squeeze the most from their holiday savings. Here we run through a whole host of ways you can do just that, from the moment you book your trip, to travelling through the airport and maximising your budget while you’re away.
Deciding where to go
Manchester Airport’s unrivalled route network means passengers have the flexibility to look at a wide range of destinations to make sure they find value for money.
Do your research, set a budget, and consider your trip as a whole when you’re doing this. Information on the cost of accommodation, food and drink, transport and entry fees for attractions is all readily available online, and you might find that cheaper day-to-day costs in some destinations offset a slightly higher air fare to get there, saving you money overall.
In western Europe, Portugal and Spain tend to offer the best value for money, while on the other side of the continent, Turkey’s popularity has boomed in recent years due to the strength of the Pound against the Turkish Lira. Croatia and Greece are more expensive than they used to be, but there are still deals to be had, while up-and-coming hotspots in eastern Europe where prices remain low include Albania, Montenegro and Bulgaria.
For those with more exotic tastes, package holiday providers often have excellent deals available in Latin American destinations like Mexico, Cuba or the Dominican Republic, or in North African countries like Morocco and Egypt, where the pound in your pocket will go a lot further, all with ATOL protections in place.
All of these destinations are served by direct flights from Manchester, and in many cases, you’ll have your pick of several locations within each of these countries.
Booking your trip
Be flexible with your booking dates, if you can. If you’re not travelling with school aged children, you’ll find better deals available either side of the school summer holidays, in June and September, when the weather in the most popular bucket-and-spade destinations will still be gloriously sunny.
Certain days of the week are cheaper to fly than others – you’ll generally find that better value fares are available midweek rather than at the weekend. The time of day can make a difference, too – travelling at a more convenient time comes at a premium.
Package deals can offer great value for money along with the peace of mind that comes with ATOL protection, but they might not always give you a lot of flexibility to explore your destination in your own way. Shop around to find the option that best suits your needs.
Between now and the summer
If you haven’t opted for an all-inclusive package, start to put a little money aside each month once you’ve booked your trip and set yourself a budget – you could even set up separate savings pots for different activities or excursions you might have planned. Feeling in control of your finances will allow you to relax and enjoy your break properly.
If you’re planning to drive to the airport, or avail of one of the lounges, you’ll get the best deal by booking in advance. There are a multitude of options available to suit all budgets – the best deals in the airport’s official car parks are generally in JetParks, which is just a five-minute shuttle bus away from the terminals. There are several different lounge products available, too, catering for different clientele – the Escape lounge is suitable for families and is also the most economical option. Some holiday package deals do include parking and lounge access, so look out for this when booking. Find out more about official airport parking here, or lounges here.
Do also consider public transport to get you to and from the airport – Manchester is one of the best-connected hubs in the country with a network of train, bus and coach links operating virtually around the clock.
Packing your bags
Stay within your baggage allowance if you can, and you won’t have to pay extra for your hold luggage – this may be easier said than done if travelling as a family! You can save space in your luggage by packing a small number of versatile clothing items that you can make several different outfits from, rolling your clothes rather than folding them, and picking up space-saving travel items like all-in-one travel adaptors and blow-up travel pillows.
Saving your pennies while you’re away
Research the public transport links in your destination and don’t be afraid to use them – you could save a lot of money, particularly if it’s possible to get a discount by purchasing a weekly pass on the bus or train network. If you can avoid eating every meal at a restaurant, you’ll save a lot of money over the course of a week or two - if you have a kitchen in your accommodation, use it.
When you’re coming home, don’t be tempted to spend your foreign currency just for the sake of using it up – it can be the start of the saving pot for your next trip. This is particularly worth thinking about if you’re spending Euros, which could be used in nearly two dozen countries – so even if you’re visiting somewhere entirely different next year, you may be able to spend your leftover cash without even having converted it first.