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How to haggle for your holiday

With the January travel industry sales looming, we give you the lowdown on how to haggle for your next escape — something that you can and should do year-round.

Published 7 Dec 2014, 10:00 GMT, Updated 1 Jul 2021, 15:04 BST

Travel prices aren't fixed:
Around 8-10 weeks before departure, bargains kick in, if you can be flexible on destination, date and accommodation. If you've a set idea of what you want, however, the January sales for the peak summer months, for example, come with early booking discounts of up to 30%.

Always negotiate on price. "This is particularly important if you're considering a package deal," says Bob Atkinson, travel expert at "They're made up of lots of different elements, so if your budget feels slightly stretched, take the opportunity to negotiate with the provider. The more complex the package (for example, if you're going for a multi-centre trip), the better chance you have of negotiating a discount with the package provider."

Travel agents' prices differ:
As says, "Just as a Kylie CD is available from different shops at different prices, many travel agents will try to sell the same tour operator's package at different prices. Find the agent that will sell it to you for the lowest price."

DIY comes with fewer discounts:
Haggling is less applicable to DIY breaks. Generally, the later you leave it to book airline seats, the pricier the fare — which is non-negotiable at any time. However, the hotel element can be haggled over.

Even Brits barter:
We Brits aren't averse to haggling when it comes to a holiday. According to a Travelex report, over 60% of Brits have negotiated a discount on a purchase abroad and almost 40% of travellers save from £11 to £30 through bartering.

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Published in the December 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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