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How to get the best price for your holiday this summer

If, like most of our survey respondents, you are determined to get a good deal on your holiday this summer, you are in luck. Good deals should be widely available, as the recession, worries over volcanic ash, and the imminent World Cup are all likely to deter many people from jetting off abroad in the next few months.

That means airlines, hotels and holiday companies will need to try extra hard to secure bookings - and the main way they do this is by cutting prices.

So, what are the best ways to find the deals, and ensure you pay no more than necessary on your travels this summer? Here are some tips.

Timing

If you're planning on getting away outside the school holidays, leave it late to book for the best package deals - tour operators reduce prices close to departure dates to fill empty airline seats and hotel beds. Many good late deals are advertised on the destination landing pages throughout Simonseeks.

With all types of bookings, when you travel is critical to keeping costs down. If possible, avoid the school summer holidays - most state schools in England break up around 23 July and go back at the beginning of September.

If you are tied to going away in the school holidays, May half term will be cheaper than the summer peak in July and August (and the weather in the Med can be lovely then). Otherwise, take a break towards the end of August - airfares are generally a bit cheaper than in early August, and many European, family-oriented holidays cost significantly less too. 

Note too, that August can be a good time to find value in European cities. Because so many people prefer to head for the beach then, Paris hotels and Venice hotels for example, class it as mid- rather than high season. See our experts in VeniceParis and Rome for the best hotel recommendations at the best prices.

Flights

Simonseeks' money-saving guide to Short Haul Flights is an easy, step-by-step guide to getting a bargain flight. Key advice includes using price-comparison websites to see who is offering the best deals on each route, and the cheapest days on which to fly - our guide explains which are the best sites to use.

Generally, the rules are to book as early as possible for scheduled flights (including with no-frills airlines), but, as long as you want to travel outside school holidays (see above),  as late as you dare for charters - they're the ones provided by holiday companies such as Thomson and Thomas Cook.

Hotels

You can save money on many hotels by booking through an agency website - but which one should you use? Our money-saving guide to Hotels takes you through the options, and our experts recommend the best hotels at the best prices.

Car hire

Over the past year, rental rates have soared in prime destinations such as Spain. It's all to do with rental firms cutting the sizes of their fleets, and demand therefore more closely matching, and sometimes exceeding, supply.

So book your car hire as soon as your flights and accommodation are fixed. Leave it until close to your departure dates, and rates will almost certainly be much higher - and, if last summer is anything to go by, at peak times you run the risk of not getting a car at all. See Simonseeks' money-saving guide to Car Hire for more advice.

Read the results of our survey, Summer of discounts expected by travellers, to find out how Simonseeks' users are planning and booking their holidays this year.