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buying flights, ecommerce, Laptop

How to get the best deals on Sunshine Saturday

Now is the biggest time of the year for travel companies – and one of the best to save money on your next trip. Follow our nine tips to bag the best offers.

Published by
Raph Giacardi·05/01/2024

The first week of January – Christmas is over, and everybody wants something to look forward to. And generally, this means a holiday. That period is a huge deal for travel companies and culminates with Sunshine Saturday, usually the single biggest day of the year for holiday bookings.

The good news is that companies compete for your hard-earned cash by releasing promotions, discounts and special offers – so it is a great time to book your next trip. These tips will help you navigate the January travel sales by planning, avoiding common pitfalls and booking the best offers.

Think ahead

You need to be clear about what you’re looking to buy. Think about destinations, itineraries, travel and period. Do you want to travel with a specific company or airline? Do you have a favourite hotel chain? Work out what you want to book and get a feel for the prices. These will serve as your baseline on Sunshine Saturday. You want to book a real deal, not get influenced by fancy discount claims.

Sign up for relevant newsletters

Some brands release their deals to their email subscribers before they do to the general public – or offer additional discounts. By signing up for all relevant newsletters, you might snag the best deals or most popular dates before they sell out.

Use social media to your advantage

Don’t limit yourself to the newsletters – follow the brands you’re interested in on social media. These channels are great ways to hear about the promotions and sales first. Don’t forget: you don’t have to follow these brands forever. If you don’t like their content, you can unfollow them later.

Bonus point: follow companies specialising in travel deals, like HolidayPirates, on social media (and subscribe to their newsletters). They do the research and vet the offers for you.

Do your homework

Always price-check before you buy – don’t just take a brand’s word for it. For package holidays, compare prices for the same and similar holidays on a few travel agents’ websites. For flights and hotels, use price-comparison tools like Kayak and Trivago. You can also set up price alerts for flights on Google, Kayak and Skyscanner to help you see the evolution of specific fares.

Be flexible

This advice applies every time you’re looking for a deal, not just on Sunshine Saturday. Companies will generally offer deeper discounts on products (destinations, dates, hotels) that still have a lot of availability. Be open-minded about when and where you travel, and you’ll give yourself a chance to pounce on the best offers.

Make the most of loyalty programmes

Being part of a loyalty programme is like signing up for a newsletter, but with the volume turned to ten. Like with the emails, registering is often free. But you’ll likely need to surrender a bit more personal information. In exchange, the exclusive offers should be better. There are too many loyalty programmes to name them all, but most airlines and hotel chains will have one.

Read the T&Cs

The devil is in the details. Super discounts sometimes come with strings attached. Before you book, read the fine print. What is the cancellation policy? Are there additional fees or restrictions you may have missed at first glance?

Be safe

The UK has had its fair share of travel companies going out of business. But we’re lucky to have robust schemes that protect travellers financially and ensure repatriation in case your travel agent goes belly up while you’re abroad. Make sure to look for ATOL and ABTA protection.

Think beyond travel

Of course, we all want to score a cheap holiday or bargain flights. But you can find discounts on a lot more. Look for a good deal on an annual travel insurance policy. It’s also the perfect time to get specialised snow or watersports gear. Or to simply renew your holiday wardrobe.

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