Getting a cheap short-break

Booking a cheap short-break holiday sounds really simple,  doesn’t it? Just pick a cheap flight from your local airport and off you go.

There are two problems with that approach though. First, there’s the flight times in both directions. Whilst 10am sounds reasonable enough as a departure time for our next trip it means a 7am departure from home which is a little early and forget about that 8am departure! Likewise, on the way back you don’t want to be shooting for morning departures from an unfamiliar city; much better to aim for late afternoon or perhaps early evening which a) gets you more time in the resort and b) gives you lots of time to organise the trip and allow for any mistakes you may make in the journey to the airport (eg our next trip involves a walk, boat trip and coach trip to reach the airport).

The second problem is the accommodation. In the off-season you can find that there are more flights going to a resort than there are reasonable rooms available to cope with the people arriving or that the reasonable rooms are way too expensive for a short break.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. For example, if you’re thinking of Madrid you could consider Madrid Norte rather than those right in the centre. Amersterdam is small enough that Amsterdam hotels generally don’t get split so much into regions and the small size of the place means that most are either in or close to excellent spots in the city and much the same applies for Lisbon hotels too. It’s even possible to shoot for romantic hotels in Florence (although do watch those tagged “boutique hotels” which can be considerably more expensive than normal hotels and may not offer much for that supposed exclusivity).

Prices in all the above aren’t too bad although do be wary of the “prices from X”. Sorting by price for a double room works well if you’re looking for a double room but if you’re bringing along the kids you can sometimes find that the hotel with the cheapest double room either doesn’t have family rooms or if it does they’re not the cheapest available in that destination so it pays to check out the prices of the first four or five hotels listed.

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