Booking a holiday on a budget

Google 'booking a cheap holiday' and you'll get pages of links to comparison sites ready to help you get a great package deal. While these are often great options for a good value break on the beach, what if you want something a little closer to home? Or want some of your home comforts in a private apartment in the heart of the action for a city break? Check out our tips for getting great value from your holiday, home or away.

Be a local of the world

AirBnb, Homeowners Direct, Owners Direct and Holiday Lettings are common names you may have heard of, or had recommended by a friend. Using home rental sites like these the UK, or abroad mean that you can take the opportunity to live like a local, renting someone else's home in the heart of the action. You can search for key attributes in your dream holiday property; a terrace, a pool, a parking space. It's a great opportunity to get a true feel for where you're staying and avoid staying somewhere too personality-free, if you're not a big fan of sprawling resort hotels.

Home as you've never imagined it offers great options for accommodation across the UK and some abroad. The quirkiness extends from refurbished railway carriages on disused tracks left to go back to nature, tree houses, yurts, windmills and canal boats to cabins, antique wooden caravans and the glamping standard, yurts.

Rediscover your youth

If you fancy reliving your student days, you can rent university halls outside of term time. During the longer holidays; Easter, summer and winter term, most universities offer pricing on renting accommodation. Most halls will have a private room and a shared kitchen, perfect if you plan to only be in the room for short periods of time. During the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, for example, this is a great option as you'll surely be outside seeing comedy shows for most of your trip.

Surprise yourself

With the rise of surprise themed events like Secret Cinema, travel sites like Magical Mystery Tours and Mystery Break offering secret destination trips are becoming a trend. Input your dates budget and length of break and you'll be whisked off somewhere, with scant detail until days from your trip. If you like adventure, this could be the answer for your next weekend away.

Budget doesn't have to mean basic

Secretescapes offers a range of high end heavily discounted package deals from all inclusive to room only around the world, with or without kids. Your choice.

Plan with a person

There are always the old stalwarts, Thomas Cook, First Choice and STA Travel. With offices where you can still walk in and talk to someone, you could walk out with a deal, across a range of boards and budgets, leaving within 7 days. You can of course book further in advance for better room rates or air fare prices with fewer compromises.

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