Family holidays can be a very costly experience, especially with the current cost of living crisis putting a strain on everyone’s budget. It was announced recently that half-term school holidays were now around 42% more expensive in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic, meaning many families will be looking for ways to cut costs. For those who still want to get away, but don’t want to face the massive cost, there a couple of things you can do to save money whilst planning a holiday. Budgeting expert Andrea Knowles from vouchers.co.uk has shared her top eight hacks for getting away on a budget, as reported by Hull Live. Book accommodation before flights If you’re after a cheap deal and want to avoid the fees and commission involved with a travel agency, then DIY your getaway yourself. Andrea says that sorting out the cheapest flights before booking somewhere to stay isn’t always best. She said: “As your accommodation is likely to be your most expensive cost, it should, therefore, be your priority when booking as you can generate the biggest savings. When searching for your dream accommodation, just make sure that you’re looking in areas that are accessible via an airport, so you cut costs on pricey transfers too.” Book your flights 56 days before you travel Travel search engine Momondo found that booking a flight 56 days in advance turns out to be the cheapest. This was reached this after analysing more than 13.2 billion prices across 100 popular routes. Andrea explained: “This also factors in sales so make sure to take it with a pinch of salt. Book in advance if you’re in doubt.” Search for flights by luggage allowance Many airlines, such as Ryanair and jet2, used to let passengers board flights with a small carry-on bag for free – but this is no longer the case. Nowadays, Ryanair are charging up to £32 per flight so what would have been an original bargain £40 return to Paris, will now cost up to £102. Many people don’t realise how expensive their bags will be until they go to book, which can cause problems if you’ve already booked your accommodation and are tied to specific dates. If you’re booking a holiday yourself, try using Google Flight. It’s simple to use and displays a range of airlines, routes and prices to fit your dates. The search engine also has a feature that allows you to search for flights with a carry-on bag included, so that you’re able to see the true price of the flight before booking. Try and choose accommodation with a washing machine Instead of adding expensive hold luggage to your flight, you could pack lighter and wash your clothes while you’re away. Andrea says there are features on sites like Airbnb where you can search for properties with specific features, such as washing machines. “This will allow you to pack light and wash your clothes whilst you’re out there,” she said. “In addition, you should also look for accommodation with a kitchen so you can save money by not having to eat out for all three meals per day.” Book a cruise on a Thursday Cruise prices can often change throughout the year and is dependent on several factors, such as if there’s been an increase in bookings or the total availability left. However, research from Cruise Critic has revealed that prices tend to drop mid-week, with booking on a Thursday likely to get you the best deal. Book package holidays on a Monday It also turns out that there is a best day to book a package deal. A former Thomas Cook insider revealed that the travel company always gives their best deals on a Monday, as the prices are sometimes dropped to try and entice customers who potentially were given a quote at the weekend, but hadn’t gone ahead with the booking. Clear your browser cookies If you’ve been checking out deals on different sites, make sure to clear your browser history and cookies. Cookies are small bits of data stored in your browser that keep information about what sites you’ve visited, and you’ll usually notice a pop-up on websites asking you to accept them. Travel sites can use these to increase the prices offered to you simply because they know that you’ve visited their site before and are likely to book. Therefore, you should always clear your cookies and you may find that the price could be a little cheaper. Pay with a credit card If your holiday is more than £100, then Andrea suggests booking via credit card so that you’re covered if something goes wrong. Package holidays may come with extra protection, but it’s worth putting these on a credit card too just to be on the safe side. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act means that the credit card company can pay you if something goes wrong with your holiday. For example, the cost of your flight is covered if the airline goes bust, or the cost of your holiday if the holiday company goes bust. However, Andrea warns that while this is good to know, you should also be aware of what’s not included – such as if you buy a “flight only” from a travel agent, as they’re classified as a third party and only contracted to provide the ticket and not the flight. Or alternatively, if the airline that you’re using went bust but you decided to extend your stay, you won’t be able to claim the extra costs. As with all big-ticket and high-priced things, make sure you do your research and are prepared for every eventuality. Other than that, just sit back, relax and enjoy your holiday.