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Cheapest time to go abroad

Posted By Digital Team

Updated May19th 2024

Whilst we’re all keen to get away, it’s important to ensure you’re getting the best deal you can when booking. With that in mind, the team at Stansted Express give you some of their top tips on when to book your next holiday if you’re travelling on a budget, including some expert insight on when the cheapest season is to travel abroad. 

When Is The Cheapest Time To Take A Summer Holiday? 

Whilst it’s pretty obvious that the off-season is the best time to take a holiday if you’re looking for a good deal, it can be a little chilly in most European holiday destinations between November and March. If you’re looking for a genuine summer holiday at a great price, then there are still some options that you can take advantage of.  

Stansted Express has spent time analysing price trends from the upcoming year of travel, and has identified May and October as two of the best times to take a holiday if you’re looking to catch some sun. Whilst October falls outside of the traditional ‘summer’ months, it’s fair to say that many countries, including the likes of the Balearics, Canaries and Greece have temperatures in the mid to high 20s, especially in the first couple of weeks of October.  

As for May, you’ll find that things are just starting to heat up as we enter the month, and with mid-April being the start of the season for most European sun destinations, you have a great chance of finding a fantastic deal throughout all of May. 

Prices generally pick up throughout June and start to drop off again late into September as the season comes to a close and demand begins to drop.  

Take for example the 5 Star - TUI Blue Sensatori Biomar in Majorca. There are huge price differences depending on the time of year you choose to go away. The prices below are based on two adults sharing a room on an all-inclusive package holiday, with flights from London Stansted via TUI.  

  • 2nd May 2023 – £928.21 
  • 13th August 2023 – £1798.69 

Prices correct as of 21st February 2023 

The key takeaway from this example is to avoid the school summer holidays at all costs if possible. Prices can double during peak seasons, and whilst the weather is likely to be a few degrees hotter during August, you’ll still be able to enjoy average temperatures of 25 degrees throughout May.  

Flexibility Is Key 

When it comes to getting the best deal on your holiday, flexibility is key. By this, we mean being open to travelling outside of peak hours and days. For example, you’ll find that most flights that operate mid-week are normally cheaper than those on the weekends. The same applies to the times you travel too; if you can take a flight in the late afternoon or land back in the UK in the early hours of the morning, it will normally be much cheaper than a flight that flies in daytime hours.   

If you are in a position to be flexible in terms of the airport you’re travelling from too, then you can potentially save even more money. You’ll often find that flight prices between UK airports can be vastly different, and this is even true of all the airports in and around London. So, if you have the time to explore different airport options, you could save yourself a considerable sum. 

There’s no denying that the month that you travel can have a huge impact on the overall cost of your holiday and in some cases, you can find 5* hotels at 3* prices if you use any of the tips we have mentioned above. There’s no need to compromise on quality when it comes to holidaying abroad, just travel smarter! 

January is generally considered the cheapest month to travel abroad, as the vast majority of people will have done travelling in December ahead of Christmas and New Year. Demand is normally lower in January, which inevitably means cheaper flights and accommodation costs. 

Times To Avoid For Cheaper Deals 

The main times to avoid are obviously school holidays, as prices will always spike during the times children are off (especially in the summer holidays between mid-July & end of August). The increased demand for holidays means the price generally skyrockets whenever children are off school. With such a limited window for parents to take their kids abroad, it can be difficult to find cheap deals for holidays, so we’d generally advise you to steer clear of those dates.  

Alongside school holidays, it’s also worth considering avoiding Bank Holidays where possible too, as travelling on or around these days can also see prices rise due to increased demand.  

As mentioned previously, if you can avoid weekends (Saturdays in particular), you’ll normally find that the cost of flights and accommodation do come in considerably cheaper in most cases. This is especially true if you’re considering a last-minute deal, as unsocial flight times and weekday departures can lower the price substantially. 

So, to recap – 

  • Avoid school holidays where possible as prices jump up considerably during these times. 
  • Check for sale codes on airline websites. 
  • In some cases, booking directly through a hotel can be cheaper than going with a package deal. 
  • Consider taking a mid-week flight to avoid increased prices on the weekend. 
  • Don’t forget last-minute deals! 

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