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Tuesday best day to book a holiday

An aeroplane takes off into the sunsetSpend the weekend researching your next trip, but when it comes to booking hold off until Tuesday morning to save money, says journalist Sue Hayward.

If you’re shopping around online for a cheap holiday deal, it’s worth knowing that package prices can fluctuate throughout the week and even during the same day.

So that deal you spotted at 10am may well have gone up by mid-afternoon. 

This is often the case with holidays advertised on comparison sites like icelolly.com and it’s because companies use sophisticated software to flag up "load control".

"This means if lots of people are looking at a holiday, then this demand puts the price up, even if they’re not actually booking," says travel expert Steve Pattenden from travel agent Double S Travel.

Book mid-morning for the best price

So what’s the best time of day to secure the best price? 

"Go online any time before 11am and you could still be looking at last night’s prices," says Oonagh Shiel from Cheapflights.co.uk.

"But beyond 11am, that day’s deals will have been updated."

Doing this means you’ve got the best chance of securing the headline screen price.

Think Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday for flight deals

When it comes to the best day of the week to book your trip, "Tuesday is the day companies usually adjust their prices, especially if holidays aren’t selling," adds Shiel.

Tom Hall, editor of the Lonely Planet travel guides, says: "Tuesdays are good days to find lower leisure fares, but booking early is still the best way to get a good price.”

However for last minute deals, "book five to six weeks before departure," says Shiel, as this is when airlines check seat stock and may discount any unsold seats. 

From then onwards it’s unlikely you’ll get any further discounts.

The cheapest day to fly

And when it comes to the best day to fly in terms of cheap fares," go for Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday afternoons," adds Shiel. 

Midweek flights are less popular, hence the lower prices.

But Saturday afternoons can be good value as most weekend travellers want to fly out first thing on a Saturday morning or the night before.

Hotel bookings

If you’re booking hotels independently, look for deals that don’t have cancellation fees attached. 

Then snap these up while you shop around as you can switch deals later on if you find a better value room.

This can pay off when booking in advance, say, for a big sport event like a Formula 1 Grand Prix.

A tried and tested tip from one of the Confused.com team is to check hotel prices well in advance, then check back a couple of days before the event.  

Many travel companies block book hotels but if rooms don’t sell they may be sold off cheaply a couple of days before.

Discounted rates for midweek bookings

With UK hotels, opting for midweek bookings can mean discounted rates compared with weekends, which often impose a minimum two night stay. 

Luxury hotel Drakes of Brighton flags up two tariffs on its website with the "Sunday to Thursday" version up to £50 cheaper per night.

Become an insider

A good way to find out when any sales or deals are likely to start is to follow airlines and holiday companies on Twitter and Facebook.

You can also sign up for early bird emails and make a note in your diary to remind you when budget airlines release their new schedules.

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Sue Hayward

Carl Chambers

Sue Hayward is a personal finance broadcaster, journalist and author. Sue talks and writes on money matters including chatting on BBC Radio & TV as well as contributing to magazines, websites and newspapers. Sue's also written two books; the latest of which is 'How To Get The Best Deal'.

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