Lots of us are feeling the pinch at the moment and holiday budgets might be a little less than in years gone by. The good news is there are tons of cheap deals available to book and if you remember ABC's (Always Book with Caution) you can bag yourself a bargain!
“Is it too good to be true?” is the question you need to satisfy before you take the plunge and potentialally book a week in hell. Here is our short guide on how to answer the question:
1. Check out the competition
Have you found a great deal or is everyone selling this hotel for peanuts? Check a few tour operator and travel agent websites and make a note of the prices.
2. What will the weather be like?
The majority of time a holiday is cheap is because it is out of season. All countries have a low-season, whether it is too hot, like Egypt in June and July, too wet, like Goa in July, or very cold, like New York in January. You can find historical climate charts on most weather websites, such as Weather.com.
3. What do other people think of it?
Have a look at review sites and forums to get a general idea of whether the hotel you have found is a delight or a dumpsite. Remember to be objective when reading other people's reviews and always tone down the opinions of ranters or ravers. By that we mean, if someone gushes on and on that a hotel is heaven on earth it is probably closer to very good. Likewise if you are reading 1000 words of pure hatrating declaring the hotel to be condemned then the actual standard is more likely to be below average or room for improvement. The same rule applies to forums as well. Check who is posting the answers to questions about a hotel. If it is the same person ranting or raving about it, then take their opinion with a pinch of salt, as something is not quite right.
4. Pictures, photos and video
They say a picture can speak a thousand words … so look at some. Photos can be found on travel agent websites, review websites, the hotel's own website, Flickr and YouTube . Once again, when looking at photos on review sites you need to view these objectively. Some people seem to take it upon themselves to break out their camera and waste a day's holiday conducting a rigorous, forensic analysis of their room, inch by inch. So what if a door hinge is a bit rusty or there is the worstest hairline crack in the wall plaster? That's not going to bother you when you are on the beach / by the pool / in the bar / on safari / snorkeling and having fun!
If you have followed the above and found a great deal but are still unsure as to whether you are doing the right thing then ask. It only takes two minutes to pick up the phone or send an email and ask the company who are advertising this “bargain of the century” a bit more about it. Remember by this time you will have already done your research so no slick sales person will be able to trick you into booking.
6. Book it!
Congratulations, you have found a genuine bargain. Now book it quick and inform the rest of us so we can either take take advantage of it or just get jealous!
So remember, when booking a cheap holiday, please remember your ABC's … Always Book with Caution!