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Unveiling the Best and Worst Times to Book Your Summer Getaway: Countries Offering the Most Affordable Vacation Packages

TravelUnveiling the Best and Worst Times to Book Your Summer Getaway: Countries Offering the Most Affordable Vacation Packages
As summer approaches, many people are eager to plan their long-awaited vacations. Whether you’re eyeing a sun-soaked holiday abroad or a cozy cottage retreat in the UK, making the right booking decisions can lead to significant savings. The experts at Which? have conducted an in-depth analysis to determine the most affordable times to book your summer getaway. Let’s unveil the best and worst times to secure vacation packages, along with countries offering the most budget-friendly options.

Patience Pays Off: Timing Is Key

If you’re a savvy traveler willing to exercise patience, substantial savings await you. According to Which?, the most expensive weeks for booking a package holiday fall between 27 July – 3 August and 3 August – 10 August, immediately following the school break-up period. On the other hand, the cheapest week for a package holiday during the summer holidays is from 24 to 31 August, when most children are still off. The data shows that waiting until the end of the summer holidays can result in significant cost reductions, with an average of £123 cheaper per person compared to the first week and £129 cheaper than the second week.

The Most Affordable Destinations

When delving into the specifics of package holiday costs, it becomes evident that the last two weeks of the summer holidays offer more affordable options for popular holiday destinations. Regardless of the location, be it Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Turkey, Bulgaria, Malta, or Morocco, the last two weeks of the summer holidays present better deals. Surprisingly, Morocco emerges as the most budget-friendly option, with a week-long, all-inclusive trip averaging £962 per person. The second and third most economical choices are Malta (£1,080 per person) and Bulgaria (£1,087 per person) respectively.

Package Holiday Price Variations

The detailed analysis also sheds light on the average cost of a seven-night, all-inclusive package holiday across various destinations. The data revealed that Portugal tops the list as the most expensive country, requiring £1,344 per person for a week-long all-inclusive holiday. Greece follows closely behind at £1,258, trailed by Cyprus at £1,253. It’s important to note that the pricing is influenced by the availability of luxury hotels in each location, signifying that countries with a higher concentration of luxury accommodations tend to have higher average package holiday costs.

Summer Holiday Cottage Breaks: Finding the Best Deals

If a serene cottage retreat in the UK is more to your liking, the data collected by Which? provides valuable insights into the cost variations for holiday cottages across different regions. The survey reveals that it’s never the cheapest to book during the first week of the English and Welsh school holidays. The analysis showcases how the average cost for a week-long holiday cottage in England spans from £1,109 to £1,358 during mid-July to early September. Similarly, Northern Ireland offers a range of £736 to £1,012 for a week-long cottage holiday during the same period.
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Unraveling Geographic Peculiarities

A closer look at the data exposes geographic disparities in the cost of cottage breaks. Notably, the most expensive cottages were identified in Scotland, where the price surged during mid-July to early September. On the other hand, the average cost for a week-long holiday cottage in England fluctuated between £988 to £1,358 during the summer period. These variations indicate that certain geographic areas might exhibit higher pricing during specific weeks, urging travelers to strategically plan their bookings to secure the best deals.

Conclusion: Plan Your Summer Getaway Wisely

The information curated by Which? undoubtedly demonstrates the significance of timing when planning a summer getaway. Whether you’re considering a package holiday abroad or a tranquil retreat in the UK, being mindful of the cost dynamics during different weeks can translate into substantial savings. Moreover, the nuanced variations across different destinations accentuate the need for meticulous planning to optimize your travel budget. By aligning your booking decisions with the insights provided, you can embark on your summer adventure with the confidence of securing the most cost-effective and memorable vacation.

Save Money on Summer Cottage Holidays in the UK

When it comes to planning a summer getaway, finding the best deals can make all the difference. One popular option for a holiday is renting a cottage in the UK, offering a cozy and private retreat for families and couples. However, the cost of renting a cottage can vary significantly depending on the location and time of booking. If you want to save money on your summer cottage holiday in the UK, it’s essential to understand the pricing trends and the best time to make your booking.

Regional Price Variations

Which?, a renowned consumer organization, conducted a study on the cost of renting cottages across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. The findings revealed notable variations in prices based on the region and the timing of the booking. Understanding these regional price differences can help holidaymakers make informed decisions to ensure they get the best value for their money.

Expensive Weeks vs. Budget-Friendly Weeks

The study highlighted that the first week of the English school holidays tends to be the most expensive time to book a cottage, with prices averaging at £1,358. However, waiting just a week to start your holiday on 3 August could result in significant savings, with the average price dropping to £1,267 – a £91 difference. Moreover, prices experience a substantial drop when English schools resume, with the average price for the week commencing 31 August being a budget-friendly £988, providing a saving of £370 compared to the peak holiday period.
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Price Fluctuations in Wales

Similar to England, the pricing pattern in Wales follows a similar trend. The most expensive time to book a cottage is during the week commencing 3 August, with an average cost of £1,304. However, opting to start your holiday on 24 August offers savings of £85, bringing the average price down. The most significant savings come with the return of school, as the average price for the week commencing 31 August stands at £980, which is £324 less than the peak pricing period.

Timing Your Scottish Getaway

For those considering a holiday in Scotland, it’s essential to note that Scottish schools have different term schedules, with the break starting from 1 July to 12 August. The study revealed that the most expensive week for renting a cottage in Scotland is £1,328, while the least expensive week is the one commencing on 31 August, offering a week’s stay for £1,129.

Northern Ireland's Budget-Friendly Cottages

Northern Ireland emerged as the most budget-friendly option for holidaymakers, with the average price for a week’s cottage rental being £912 across the English summer holiday period. In contrast, the same period in Scotland averaged £1,279. Notably, the week commencing 3 August was the most expensive for Northern Ireland, with an average of £1,006 per week. However, waiting until 31 August could result in the lowest prices, with the average cost dropping to £736 – the cheapest available across the UK.

Making Informed Decisions

To obtain these insights, Which? collected a substantial amount of data, gathering 303,914 prices for a week’s stay in UK cottages of all sizes during summer 2024, from leading rental providers. Armed with this information, holidaymakers have the opportunity to plan their summer cottage holidays strategically, taking advantage of the most budget-friendly weeks and regions to maximize their savings.


Whether you’re planning a summer holiday in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland, understanding the pricing trends and the best time to book a cottage can result in substantial savings. By considering the regional price variations and the fluctuations in pricing based on the timing of the booking, holidaymakers can make informed decisions to ensure they get the best value for their money. With the wealth of data provided by Which?, individuals can plan their summer getaway with confidence, knowing they can enjoy a relaxing and memorable holiday while staying within their budget.
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