I’m a travel expert, here’s my top five tips to enjoy your dream holiday on a budget


WITH its wet and windy weather and cold dark nights – it is no wonder that January is the most popular time for booking a summer holiday.

This year is no different with nearly a third of Scots looking to secure their holiday plans early this year.


January is a good time to book a great holiday dealCredit: Getty

Summer 2023 bookings are already filling up due to the post-pandemic pent-up demand following several years of travel restrictions.

However, many are also looking to bag a bargain in the face of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

One Scots travel expert has revealed their top five tips for enjoying a family holiday on a budget.

President of Barrhead Travel, Jacqueline Dobson, says Scots looking to bust the January blues will find there are big savings to be had as holiday providers, airlines, hotels and cruise companies slash their prices during the first month of the year.

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Book are far ahead as possible

It’s always recommended to book early to enjoy launch deals and early booking discounts – but the biggest influencer of price at the minute is availability.

People have been booking earlier than usual and demand for popular destinations is particularly high.

Leaving it until last-minute won’t guarantee a discounted deal: if you know where you want to travel to, lock it in with a deposit as early as you’re able to.

Book with a reputable travel professional

As well as saving you time, providing advice and protecting your money, they have the tools to scan the market and source the best deals and savings to suit your budget.

They’ll often have inside information on upcoming flash sales or have access to exclusive offers.

Additionally, if you book with an agent, you can book everything in one go – flights, accommodation, insurance, attractions, car-hire – and have just one total payment that can be split into instalments.

Plan multi-generational or multi-family holidays

As well as spending cherished time with the people we love the most, it can have a money-saving benefit too.

Villas abroad come in all sizes and many can comfortably accommodate large groups of friends or several families.

If teaming up with your extended family or friends was on your mind, a villa can offer a very cost-effective way of sharing accommodation costs while spending valuable time together.

Book add-ons or attractions in advance to save cash

Think about what you’d like to do when you’re on holiday and book before you go to take advantage of savings.

This also helps with availability: some popular attractions, such as Alcatraz in San Francisco, cannot be booked on the day, while theme-park passes often have special offers for advanced booking.

Booking in advance for car hire will eliminate the risk of eye-watering costs when the car is returned.

Switch your departure airport to cut down costs during school holidays

A Scottish family travelling from Manchester or Newcastle in June or early July (before the English school holidays commence) can sometimes save a significant sum.

The same goes for English families travelling in August after the Scottish schools return.

Our agents keep track of national school holiday dates to help flag money-saving options.

Travel off-the-beaten track

Visiting major tourist hubs or the busiest resorts can often hold a higher price tag than lesser-known destinations.

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Considering destinations away from the traditional tourist trail can also provide rich experiences and contributes to micro-tourism economies where you can immerse yourself in local culture.

It doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your favourite destinations either – for every major resort, there’s usually plenty of smaller and very accessible towns nearby meaning you have the best of both.

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