Banish the January blues by saving money on your holiday - Scotland on Sunday Travel

Follow these tips and tricks to keep costs low.

There are ways to cut costs and still book a holiday to beat the January blues. Pic: PA Photo/Alamy.
There are ways to cut costs and still book a holiday to beat the January blues. Pic: PA Photo/Alamy.

Once the euphoria of Christmas and New Year has subsided and things go back to the usual routine, boredom and depression can quickly creep in. Moods tend to plummet in January, with the tomorrow set to be Blue Monday, deemed by many to be the most depressing day of the year.

That’s why booking a holiday has always been a sure-fire remedy, giving us all something to look forward to and lift the spirits in the coming months ahead. But rises in the cost of living coupled with increasing air fares could lead to many forgoing their glimmer of sunshine in the form of a holiday this summer.

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Fortunately, with a bit of clever planning, there are ways to cut costs and keep prices down. Take note of these tips and tricks, and it’s still possible to beat the January blues and grab a break to boost the coming months.

Many hotels often allow guests to use the pool facilities before or after check in. Pic: PA Photo/Alamy.

Early birds do best

According to research by aggregate site Expedia (, passengers who manage to book their international flights four months or more in advance can save 20% on the price, compared to those who wait two months or less. Similarly, it is possible to save an average 30% on domestic airfares if you book at least two months in advance, rather than leaving it to the last minute.

Timing is everything

The day you choose to travel will also have an impact on the price of the airfare. Expedia recommends departing on a Saturday to save up to 20% on domestic flights, and on a Friday to save 15% on international flights.

Save holiday car rental costs by requesting pre-paid fuel and checking the included insurance cover and avoid late pick-ups and returns. Pic: PA Photo/Alamy.

School holidays will still be expensive with families tied to certain dates to book their getaway, so if you are able to travel off-peak, there are considerable savings to be made. You’ll avoid delays, too. Based on data sourced from OAG’s global flight data platform, March has the shortest average length of delays, while July has the highest (around 184 minutes). Also, flights that depart before 11am are 11% less likely to be impacted by flight cancellations.

Check exchange rates

Currently, many currencies around the world are riding an economic roller-coaster. But it’s worth keeping an eye on the places where your money will go further. Argentina, Sri Lanka and South Africa, for example, are all destinations where the pound remains strong. If rates are particularly good, it’s worth exchanging money in advance. Prepaid travel cards such as Revolut ( and Wise ( allow this, without having to carry wads of cash around as you travel. In general, avoid changing money at airports and hotels, as these often have the lowest rates.

Drive costs down

Like flights, the cost of car hire has also increased. Jamie Holt, operations director at SIXT (, suggests requesting pre-paid fuel, which can save an average of 30% on base rental costs. (SIXT also offers five litres of free fuel to start you off.)

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He also strongly recommends probing for any hidden costs when you’re booking. For example, check the included insurance cover. Many companies remove the loss damage waiver to make prices look competitive, but that leaves you fully responsible if something happens to the vehicle. Late pick-ups and returns can also result in unexpected charges. Always ring the rental company and let them know what’s happening to avoid penalties.

Make the most of a hotel stay

It’s easy to do nothing more than sleep in a hotel room. But it’s possible to turn an overnight stay into a mini holiday by taking advantage of everything a property has to offer. David Vaughan, general manager of Another Place, The Lake, in Ullswater (, says guests should arrive before check-in or stay longer to make use of facilities. Many hotels allow visitors to continue using the pool, gym and spa, and early birds will also have a better chance of bagging any available free upgrades on the spot. It’s also worth asking about any extras included, such as free childcare and babysitting.