A lot can be said for going on DIY holidays, where you take care of each component of your break separately. Yes, it can be more hassle than picking an all-inclusive package, but it can also save you money and, I think, be more fun.
So, if you’re planning to organise your trip by yourself, what do you need to think about?
Finding the right flights is important from a monetary point of view – and you’ll want direct ones where possible to ensure you’re keeping your travelling to a minimum too.
It’s worth spending some time comparing the various carriers that offer flights to your destination to not only make sure you get the best deal price-wise, but that you also have a comfortable flight – I think it can be worth paying a little bit more if you know the service/legroom/luggage allowance will be better.
When it comes to accommodation, you have two main choices – a hotel or self-catered. Personally, I love the latter because of the freedom it affords me, but I know that’s not for everyone. As a word of advice when you’re looking for a villa, carefully compare the facilities in each to make sure you’ve got everything you need on hand – there are some great deals on villa holidays here.
If you plan on spending most of your time around the pool working on your tan, see whether a villa that’s a bit further out of the nearest town could be cheaper than one at the heart of the action. For a big group or a family, it’s probably worth hiring a car so you can nip to the shops if you need to.
It’s easy to overlook travel insurance in the excitement of booking your holiday but don’t! It’s one thing you don’t want to travel without, because the alternatives just aren’t worth thinking about. Plus, with single-trip cover coming in relatively cheaply these days, you won’t even be saving yourself that much money by failing to buy it.
If you have an existing insurance policy, just check that it covers you not only for where you’ll be visiting, but also for any activities (I’m thinking skiing, scuba diving, water skiing etc) that you may want to do on your break.
I’m not one for planning my holidays down to the last detail – I’m quite happy to rock up somewhere with a guidebook and do my own exploring. However, and especially if you’re travelling with kids, it can be a good idea to have at least a rough itinerary in mind.
So, do a spot of research about what attractions there are in your chosen destination and, if you can, find out how much these cost. Be realistic about how much you’re likely to fit in and avoid packing you schedule with excursions and activities morning, noon and night – this is a holiday, you need some downtime too.
Another tip is to find out how far your chosen attractions are from your accommodation – again, this may be a point when you want to consider hiring a car for convenience, especially if you’ve got a few places you’d like to visit that are further than walking distance away from your villa or hotel.
It’s best to organise a rental vehicle before you travel, as you may be able to get a good deal through your flight or accommodation provider and because it means you can pick up the car at the airport – a hassle-free start to your holiday.