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March 20, 2013

Budget Travel Tip: Book a late deal holiday



I am relaunching the old series of ‘We ask the Budget Travel Experts’ where I interview some of the leading experts in Budget Travel. For this installment I have been speaking to mummy blogger and brand ambassador Claire Lancaster.

I admit , I have been sceptical about the value of  last minute holiday bargains so this interview gave me the perfect opportunity to put them under the microscope and ask them a few detailed questions. Hope you enjoy the interview and find it as useful as I did…


Q1 For those travellers who prefer the do-it-yourself mode of travel (includes me) and plan in advance how would you inspire us to book a last minute holiday?


We’d ask you to approach a package holiday site like ours with an open mind, and look at the breadth of locations and type of holidays we can offer and the amazing prices; much of the time our holidays work out cheaper than booking flights and accommodation and vehicle travel separately.

Because we offer such a wide choice of holiday from more small, off the beaten track to the larger resorts and such fantastic prices we honestly think you will pay less for a package holiday but still get the benefits associated with a DIY holiday in terms of experience.

Our holidays also offer ATOL and ABTA protection-this might not apply if you DIY book your holidays.

At we specialise in holidays that depart within eight weeks – so “last minute” doesn’t mean book today leave tomorrow, we are talking travelling in the next eight weeks, which leaves plenty of time to plan and prepare.

Key to those who, like you Kash, like to “do it yourself” is value for money and price has to be the most compelling reason for booking last minute.   If your requirement is for a flight, hotel, luggage and an airport transfer booking a “cheap flight” may well end up costing more ultimately.

Here’s a real live example for you from as I write this we have an all inclusive deal at the Couples Sousse in Tunisia departing on 1st May from London Stansted for a package price £317pp.

Compare this to the flight only option which does includes luggage, flight only is more expensive at £348pp and you still have to get from the Airport, pay for somewhere to stay as well as your food and drink!  It is a wrong and expensive assumption to assume buying everything separate is cheaper.


Q2.  ‘I am looking for some spring sunshine in Europe’ – what are your top 3 late deals that you would recommend to readers?


Spring is ideal for late deal holidays because the tour operators have started their regular flights and have rooms to fill ahead of the peak holiday periods.



Majorca- Great late deal for Easter


Flights bound for Palma, Majorca, start in March making it a great choice for Easter and beyond or if you are thinking of getting away a little later you can jet off to Ibiza from 1st May.

The Spanish mainland with its 320 days of sunshine a year is still hugely popular there are many fantastic value for money deals to the Costa Del Sol and Costa Blanca.

Further afield and the average temperatures are climbing from warm to hot in Cyprus and Greece and there are some great value Spring get aways, especially worth checking out are deals at the Atlantica Hotels, which are one of top picks.


More specific deals to whet you appetite are:

Deals for under £200 pp

Menorca for only £168 – 27% off

Grab a great spring bargain in Menorca for only £168 pp, staying for seven nights at the grade 3 Sa Mirada Apartments. Accommodation is self catering and flights depart from Gatwick on 1st May.

Book at or call 0800 916 5173.


Deals for under £250 pp

Majorca in May – 14 nights for under £250

Stay for 14 nights self catering for only £242 pp at the grade 4 Aparthotel Coma Gran in Sa Coma – 44% saving off original price of £430. Flights depart from Gatwick on 3rd May.

Book at or call 0800 916 5173.


Grand Canal, Venice from just £264 pp


Deals for under £300 pp

Venetian Riviera, Italy for £264 – 36% off


Jet off to Lido Di Jesolo in the Venetian Riviera for a week’s stay at the grade 3 Miami Hotel for only £264 pp (was £413). Accommodation is half board and flights depart from Manchester on 3rd May.

Book at or call 0800 916 5173.


 Q3. Which destinations offering late deals, offer the best value for money for travellers in 2013?


The shorter the flight the better the value for money.


The two and half hour flight to Majorca is giving customers some amazing deals coming in at under £20pppn at the moment.  In 2013 the non-Euro destinations such as Bulgaria, Tunisia and Turkey are also helping to make British travel budgets go further both in terms of getting there and during your stay.


Sozopol, Bulgaria-Bulgaria represents one of the best value destinations in Europe at the moment

Sozopol, Bulgaria-Bulgaria represents one of the best value destinations in Europe at the moment


Up and coming destinations also tend to offer better deals to compete against their established neighbouring locations great deals.  Being new to the tourist market, these resorts are relatively unspoilt and will offer a less commercial destination for people seeking a more relaxed get away.  Top deals on to ‘newer’ destinations include Cape Verde, Costa Almeria in Spain and the Portuguese Island of Porto Santo near Madeira.


Q4. Is there a best time to book a late holiday deal?


Our best advice is to look to book around eight weeks before you want to travel as this is when there is the best availability and when the tour operators release their deals; be prepared, have a rough idea on your preferred destinations and resorts so you can refine your search (there really are hundreds of deals to choose from), be flexible if you can with departure dates and be prepared to book.  Also consider different UK airports as this short journey before and after you fly could make a huge difference on the price.


Use the clever online search tools – like ‘show cheapest destinations’ and ‘show rest of the week’ to compare, for example weekend flights versus weekdays.  We share great late holiday deals on our Facebook page and with our  @Latedeals1 twitter followers so make sure you connect with us on our social profiles.


Where ever you are hoping to go and when ever you are hoping to go the key thing to remember is that great late deals sell fast so be ready to book, if you see the one for you – BOOK IT!

Deals can go up in price if they’re selling well and if it’s a great deal it will sell!



Common sense dictates that you should book early to get the best deals. Why and what are the advantages of booking a late holiday deal?


Common sense and being practical are not always the same.  Think of a flight as being like a tub of yogurt – once the sell by date has gone it’s not worth anything to anyone.  Once the flight has departed it’s the same however it isn’t the same for the accommodation element of a holiday.  With some rooms having to be paid for irrespective of whether we fill them, eight weeks from departure holidays move over to with great discounts for the savvy consumer who is ready to book, these deals don’t hang around and if it sells well availability will disappear and prices will increase.  Price is the main advantages of a late holiday deal, lower prices allow travel budgets to take you further, stay longer or in better quality accommodation, its all about getting more bang for your buck!





To help your holiday budget go even further Latedeals is also giving away a £500 holiday voucher on their facebook page which can be used towards a holiday of your choice at

So whether you’re dreaming of a week-long all inclusive break to Egypt or a beach holiday in Spain, you could be £500 closer to that experience with Have a look at their short video here

And for a limited time you can also get an extra £25 off with a voucher code, also available on its Facebook page – just don’t forget to Like the page so you’re kept up to date with the hottest deals and exclusive Facebook offers.


Please note that post was made possible and supported by I don’t believe in sharing poorly produced, irrelevant advertorials and work only with companies that can offer content that will be useful and of help to my readers. I hope you do find the post useful as I did. Feel free to ask me any questions or share feedback about the post at europebudgetguide AT




October 5, 2011

We ask the budget travel experts: Q&A with Jeremy Branham





In the latest in our series of interviews with the leading budget travel experts across the world, we interview Jeremy Branham. If you love budget travel and seeking inspiration it is very worthwhile checking out the earlier interview from our Q&A series with Sean O’Neil  from Budget Travel magazine and Alexander Robertson Textor from Gadling. Enjoy!


Jeremy Branham going for a stroll on Huntington Beach


Jeremy Branham is a budget traveler, father, husband, and writer who enjoys traveling and wants to make a difference in the world through travel.

He wants to share his adventures, lessons learned, the good and the bad, and tips on traveling. Being a bit frugal, he loves to save money and believes that spending less allows you to really connect with the places, people, and culture in your travels.


You can follow him on his blog Budget Travel Adventures


So JB…how would you define Budget Travel?


It’s interesting that you ask this question.  Currently, I am in the process of writing an ebook about why budget travel is for everyone – regardless of your destination or income level.  For me, budget travel is not about spending as little money as possible but about getting the most experience out of the money you have to spend.



What is your favourite destination in Europe and why?


Jeremy chilling in the stunning Parc Guell, Barcelona



Europe is my favorite place in the world to travel.


I love the history and culture there so many places would qualify.  Honestly, this is a tough one for me because my experiences have been spread out over so many places at different times in my life.  It’s so hard to separate the destinations from life itself because so many places have taught me a lot about who I am as a person.

Many people know that I have written a lot about Slovenia (and have more coming up).

Estonia will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first country I ever visited (will be writing more about my experiences there later).


However, I have to go with Lisbon.  I loved the city for its culture and people.  The city is so unique in its layout with the Baixa, Bairro Alto, and Alfama areas.  To me, it was such a livable city and loved the mix of people from cultures all over the world.  I know people have mixed feelings about it but it made a fantastic first impression on me.



What’s the hottest Budget Travel tip that you’ve recently discovered and dying to share with our readers?


Wow, I can be a bit of a geek when it comes to researching stuff on how to save money when traveling.  I’ve done tips on cheap flights, airport guides, easy meals, traveling with kids, and more (check out more of my budget travel tips ).

However, I am going to go with a simple tip:


I have to say I have learned this from my own recent experiences.  I am amazed at how much you can get and how often people are willing to help if you just ask!  If there is something you want or need when traveling, ask if it can be included.  Asking includes bargaining as well so you don’t have to accept the first offer.  You can always ask for more.  The worst someone can say is ‘No’ but you may get something free, extra, or cheaper if you ask or bargain.


When and where can you get the best value in Europe this year? Your top three countries



I have traveled to Europe in the Fall more than any other time of year.

I’ve done Paris at Thanksgiving as well as trips to Eastern Europe, Spain and Portugal in the Fall.  So while it isn’t summer, this time of year is perfect for me!


As for the best value, I would go with Portugal,  Slovenia and Hungary.

Yeah – quite a varied list and not one of your popular European destinations. However, Portugal allows you to see a side of  Europe and culture you can’t experience anywhere else in Europe.  And with recent economic struggles there,  you can find some bargains.


As for Slovenia, it’s a small country but is in between Venice and Croatia and has an incredible geography for every type of traveler – lakes, beaches (though small but close to great ones in Croatia), mountains, caves, and the outdoors.  Located at the base of the Alps, it has some great skiing (if you are interested in visiting during winter) without the expense of  Switzerland.


As for Hungary, I loved Budapest!  Along with Portugal, it has the most unique culture and history of any in Europe.  Also, get away from the big city and explore the Hungarian countryside with their wine region and interesting places like Eger and Recsk.


What is worst piece of advice you’ve been given on your travels?


Anyone who has questioned  “Why would you want to visit there?”


Most people who ask this question then tell me about the things they didn’t like about a place.  I can also raise my hand and say I am guilty of this as well.  However,  every place and every trip you take can teach you something about yourself or a destination – even if it is a place you didn’t like.


Traveling isn’t just about the places you see but the journey of life and what you discover about yourself along the way.  If you check out my travel confessions, the things we learn aren’t always pretty and reveal that we can be complicated and contradictory beings.


What’s the next stop on your travels?


Currently, I am traveling in southern California exploring some festivals and interesting places down here.

Recently, I was convicted about thinking about the next far away trip and realized that I never stopped to look at what is right outside my door.


So I just started a series called Explore Sacramento! where I will be exploring more of my own backyard.  In November, I will take a trip to South Carolina.  After that, I don’t have any set plans but excited to see what is behind doors that I have yet to open!


Thanks JB for a cracking interview!

If you want to connect with Jeremy you can say hello, ask him a question via FacebookTwitter, and Google+


September 13, 2011

We ask the budget travel experts: Q&A with Alex Robertson Textor





In the third of my series of interviewing the leading Budget Travel experts, I am very excited to publish my interview with Mr Budgettraveltastic:  Mr Alex Robertson Textor.

Alex  is a travel writer, currently very happily based in London. A regular contributor to Gadling, he has also written for the New York Times, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, the Guardian, and National Geographic Traveler, among many other other publications. He writes in large part though not exclusively about independent budget travel.


How would you define Budget Travel?


I am comfortable with a straightforward, literal definition. Budget travel is travel on a minimal or reasonable budget.

But that’s not really adequate, is it? Very often budget travel is also careful and creative travel. Budgetary constraints are great for encouraging creativity. If you have a daily budget of £20 you’re going to have to work hard to make sure you squeeze value out of your time on the road. You’re probably going to do your research in advance and you’re very often going to have a long list of things you want to see, do, and experience. I wrote a spirited manifesto about the brilliance of budget travel last year for Gadling.


Alex tips...Kosovo as an upcoming budget travel destination


What is your favourite destination in Europe and why?

I think Berlin is possibly the best city in Europe. It’s got incredibly appealing cultural diversity, varied neighbourhoods, a budget-friendly price index, and a good transportation network. It’s full of artists and exciting little corners and outrageous nightlife.

Truth be told my favourite European destinations are probably remote islands, places like the Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog and Mljet in Croatia. I love the solitude and social intensity of a small island.


What’s the hottest Budget Travel tip that you’ve recently discovered and are dying to share with our readers?

It’s not exactly new but I think that gîtes are the best budget travel secret ever. They’re sort of the French equivalent of the bed & breakfast, with rates in many cases far more reasonable than those at your average b&b. And I think Servas, a pre-couchsurfing free accommodation option, is an absolute budget traveller goldmine. It’s perplexing to me that Servas doesn’t get much more attention.


Where can you get the best value in Europe this summer? Your top three countries.


Macedonia: One of Alex's favourite budget travel destinations


Macedonia continues to really thrill me as a destination. It’s got a range of landscapes and a nice cultural mix and is very affordable. Skopje, Ohrid, Prilep, and several monasteries are all worth visiting. I was in Skopje in June and splurged on accommodations, booking a suite for three at Villa Vodno, a fantastic family-runplace on the edge of the city Our splurge cost us 36 euros per person including breakfast.

Forgive me for suggesting the somewhat difficult, but Kosovo is a real budget travel value destination.

Buses are cheap, the mountains in the west are properly Alpine, and the monasteries, some protected by UN troops, are gorgeous. Restaurants are very reasonable and affordable accommodations can be found without much effort. The tourist infrastructure is not terribly well established, however, and I’m not sure that Kosovo is quite ready for waves of budget travellers.

Lithuania also represents very good value. I closed out the summer with a visit to the Curonian Spit, which stretches from Klaipeda in Lithuania to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. I stayed in the cute village of Nida, where €29 per night got me a beautiful guestroom along with a very good breakfast. The beaches here are among the best I’ve seen in Europe, and the enormous sand dunes and pine forests are magical.


What is worst piece of advice you’ve been given on your travels?


I’ve received lots and lots of terrible restaurant advice over the years. I tend to receive particularly bad advice from people who don’t know what I’m about. The best way to avoid this sort of thing is by developing a network of friends and acquaintances whose interests dovetail nicely with your own. In my case, that means budget-minded travellers who no longer feel compelled to spend their nights at hostels and who are interested in contemporary culture, local transportation, and good fresh local food. I’m lucky to have some well-travelled friends who take pleasure in their journeys as I do, and Twitter has filled in all sorts of gaps.


What’s the next stop on your travels?


Malta for a long weekend. And after that Georgia and Armenia

August 23, 2011

We ask the budget travel experts: Q&A with Sean O’ Neill


Every month, we’ll be interviewing the best and leading budget travel experts from across the world on the BudgetTraveller.

This month’s on the hotseat is the Mr Budgetastic Sean O’ Neill , contributing editor to the brilliant Budget Travel magazine.

Say hello to Sean on Twitter:


How would you define Budget Travel?


Budget Travel, for me, is a mix of two things: scoring deals, which is fun in and of itself, and truly immersing yourself in a foreign culture, which you can’t do if you’re sitting on 300-thread-count sheets in a generic international chain hotel.

The thrill of the hunt for deals can be a point of pride: why pay more than you have to?

I also find I have a much easier time getting to know a place and making friends if I’m visiting the hangouts and restaurants and galleries that locals actually go to, instead of the places that tend to be featured in glossy magazines like, say, Tatler or Vogue.


What is your favourite destination in Europe and why?


Dreamy Streets of Rome. Courtesy of Pedro



London is the city you marry, Rome is the city you have an affair with.

London is the centre of global culture and has the world’s best museums and restaurants. It never disappoints me in revealing fresh ideas about how life might be lived and business might be done.

Yet Rome is an illicit lover, and the world’s most talented at that. I’ve visited Rome 11 times in the past decade. Yes, it’s partly for clichéd tourism experiences, but sometimes the clichés are a lot of fun:

Four-hour lunches in piazzas.

Wolf-whistling from Vespas.

Admiring world’s best ancient and modern art, architecture, and opera.

History echoes more loudly in Rome than elsewhere in Europe, given that the ancient city is a template for so much of our lives, from its houses of worship to its aqueducts (which are still carrying water 2,000 years after they were built).


What’s the hottest Budget Travel tip that you’ve recently discovered and dying to share with our readers? is an awesome way to set up a homestay with locals in about 130 countries, and homestays are a great way to truly immerse yourself in the local culture, make friends, and stay within your budget.

Tripping stands out for having a stronger vetting system than other sites that try to be the “Facebook of Travel.”

It offers to arrange for a face-to-face Skype call to ask users to hold up their passport and prove their address before validating their accounts.


Where can you get the best value in Europe this summer? Your top three spots.


Tallinn may have a reputation as Stag Party Central these days, but it’s a large enough city that you can avoid the obnoxious tourists, who tend to stay in small district.

Tallinn is Europe’s Capital of Culture this year, so there’s a ton of free, worthwhile events this summer.

While you’re there, be sure to try Cafe V, an Indian restaurant in a nightclub.

Dublin’s on sale. The online travel sites say it has the lowest nightly rate of any capital city in Europe.

The Irish are Europe’s friendliest people, hands down, if you treat them right.


Lisbon has an amazing nightlife and it’s also affordable: an all-day transit pass goes for 3.50 euros, and easyJet set up a base there recently, so there are lots of cheap tickets. Fascinating architecture, great food, and a vibrant nightlife scene.


What is worst piece of advice you’ve been given on your travels?


“Bring your computer.”

It interfered with my ability to experience the place I was visiting.


What’s the next stop on your travels?



For its ace pubs and the “craic,” which is an untranslatable word for enjoyable good times