It always feels great when you finally book your next getaway, but it feels even better when you know you’re getting a bargain. By saving money on your flights and accommodation, you can stash your hard-earned cash – and spend in on some unforgettable experiences when you get out there instead.
Of course, no two destinations are the same and prices are constantly fluctuating. To help give you some idea of where you could grab a great deal as the year unfolds, we’ve put this guide, showing where you’ll get the biggest discounts for each month of the year.
Historical trends show that the first month of the year is when you’re likely to get a bargain city break. With the weather at its coldest in the northern hemisphere’s most exciting spots, prices are set low to entice potential visitors. You’ll get a good deal in places like Amsterdam and Paris, but our pick for January would have to be New York.
With the city on wind-down from its Christmas rush, and a chill still in the air, January is the best month to head to the Big Apple. The city’s at its most magical when it gets a touch of snow, which you stand a good chance of seeing in January, while the Central Park ice rink will still be in operation and is not to be missed.
With the weather remaining distinctly fresh across much of Europe, city break prices stay cool too. If you’re a seasoned city-breaker this won’t deter you, you’ll throw on your thickest coat and get exploring what some of the continent’s capitals have to offer.
A great pick for February is Berlin. A touch of cold doesn’t stop this thriving metropolis from showing its true colours, and you can catch the Transmediale Art & Digital Culture festival throughout the month; with talks, exhibitions, screenings and performances springing up around the city. It’s also when the Berlin Film Festival is held, while the German capital’s famous clubbing scene never slows down, no matter what time of year it is.
With autumn blooming and the days getting longer; outdoors and activity holidays become a much more reasonable prospect.
This is the perfect time to visit a Southern European city, such as Barcelona or Rome. You’re likely to get a great deal as the month falls just before their peak season. You can count on the weather being better than back at home, scratching that post-winter itch for some sunshine and sightseeing all in one go.
Unsurprisingly, a family trip to Orlando and its theme parks will set you back more in the school holidays. But there is a way around this. The parks and their accommodation will set their prices based on U.S school holidays, rather than the British schedule. Depending on their state, American kids get a few weeks off sometime between late May and early September, with the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas being popular too. That makes the UK’s two-week Easter holiday a great time to head for the Sunshine State. Most American children won’t be on school holiday at this time, and while college students may be on their spring break, they’re more likely to be hanging out at the coast than visiting Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
With warmer and clearer weather arriving around the northern hemisphere, prices will naturally begin to climb in May. But there is one sun-soaked destination where costs usually stay on the low side until the end of the month.
If you’re not bothered about the megaclubs, and would rather spend your time exploring the beautiful array of beaches and the charm of the Old Town, Ibiza is the place to be. With the clubs not throwing their launch parties until the last week of May, much of the month is quiet and very affordable, even though the weather’s great.
June, July and August
With most Europeans heading for warmer shores during these months, prices will be peaking at the typical holiday destinations. So, to get the best deal, you might need to think ‘opposite’.
When there’s snow on the slopes, the luxury lodges and resorts of the Alps are certain to be packed with skiing enthusiasts, but come summer many will be quiet. Those that remain open are likely to offer great deals when it comes to room rates, even though it’s a fantastic time to explore the region. With trees and fields in full bloom, you can set off along a vast network of walking trails, taking in spectacular mountain views as you go. When back at your accommodation, you’ll be able to indulge in facilities like steam rooms and spas – it’s a great time to get a little luxury for less.
With schoolkids heading back to classrooms, Europe’s peak summer season is over. This means September’s a great month to bag a bargain at coastal resorts right across the continent.
You’ll find the best value for money in Turkey. Weather along the country’s Mediterranean coast is as good as ever this month, while prices head way down and sunbeds free up. This leaves you to enjoy ancient sites – such as the cities of Patara and Xanthos – and natural wonders like the towering Saklikent Gorge away from the peak-summer crowds.
You’ll continue to get good prices across Europe as we head into Autumn, but the weather will be starting to cool down. If you’re really out for soaring temperatures, it might be a good time to look further afield.
Over in Cancún, October is the perfect month to visit. The April to September rainy season has come to a close, yet schoolkids are back in classrooms and the festive season (which is a popular time here) is still weeks away. As a result, there’s some really affordable packages on offer; you could end up visiting the Caribbean for much less than you think.
With winter fast approaching, you might not get the weather you were hoping for at many European holiday spots. This is when Spain’s Canary Islands really come into their own.
Close to the equator, the Atlantic island chain sees great weather all year round. With the month falling between school holiday periods, and since most holidaymakers will have already taken their annual sunshine getaway by November, prices can be delightfully low. We recommend the island of Tenerife, where below-peak temperatures are perfect for exploring the beautiful Teide National Park, all while great attractions like Siam Park remain open.
With the festive season in full swing, this is a particularly popular time of year for city breaks, as travellers head to markets across the continent. Anywhere there’s likely to be snow on the ground will be incredibly popular during this period, so you’re unlikely to find a bargain there.
The trick, once again, is to head for the opposite. While everyone else is busy embracing all things winter, heading to sunny shores could bag you a real bargain. One of the best destinations to make tracks for is Malta. Warm and sunny even at the peak of winter, there’s no better time to explore the walled city of Valletta on foot, or enjoy one of the island’s golden beaches while its quiet.
Experience these destinations, and many more, with flights from Manchester Airport.