This is a sponsored post with homeaway.co.uk

Summer late deals can be great for the wallet, as long as you approach them sensibly, and with an open mind. In particular, it can be a really good way of keeping the budgets down when you already have just that little bit more to fork out because a) you need to go in school holidays b) you have two, three or four kids in tow c) you need to keep everyone happy, from toddler to husband.

According to Erica Chang from homeaway.co.uk:

“People have been booking last minute breaks with 87% more enquires being made one month prior to departure compared to six months prior.”

With this in mind, you aren’t going to be the only one looking for that bargain family holiday. Therefore, because we love you all, in addition to the summer travel and activities post we published earlier today, we thought you might be interested in a few top tips for making sure that the late deals you are booking for the summer work well for you and your family.

1. Late deals doesn’t mean nada planning

This is the most important thing. Late doesn’t mean you have to think about it late, you can plan it well in advance, but only hit the booking stage within that one month of travel window.

2. Pick a selection of destinations

Where are you willing to go? Stick to a country and possibly even specific locations too, and if there isn’t anything suitable in your first choice, move on to a second choice, and so on. If you have a list of four or five before you start looking then you are more likely to see something that fits the bill, and you won’t be disappointed before you have even got there. Think about the kids, and what they like to do; Is a beach best for you? Could you survive all in a hotel room together? Are you a sun worshipper or happy to go for something a little less scorching?

3. Give yourself a budget and stick to it

When you are exploring what to do, it is sooooooo easy to get carried away, and then you can find yourself spending more than you had anticipated. Be firm with yourself. Don’t forget to factor in other expenses for the holiday as well, it’s amazing how much nappies can cost when you are away for example! Make sure you budget for all those important bits and bobs while you are away. Don’t forget to budget for food in particular! If your holiday is self-catering, you’ll need to think about whether you can afford to eat out with the kids, or even face doing so (!). If you don’t eat out, that can keep those costs down and help you to spend that little bit more on the accommodation and travel.

4. Be Flexible

Flexibility applies to everything when you are booking late deals; anything from location, to where flights are leaving from or arriving, and even travel dates. The more open minded you are, then the more likely you will be to find something that might be a little bit different, but could turn out to be perfect for you and your family.

5. Opt for a big travel window

It’s best to have your ideal time to travel in mind, and you’ll clearly need to think about what arrangements have to be made regarding any nursery fees that you have to pay if you do take your children away on holiday. However, the more flexible you are, the better the cost reductions can be, and the better your choices.

6. Check reviews online

Before you book, make sure you have checked out the accommodation, and the locations that you are looking at online. You wouldn’t book anything else without exploring it properly first, so why would you do this with a holiday?

7. Make sure your travel insurance is up to date

Just in case something does go wrong, keep an eye on the dates for your travel insurance, and that it includes any water sports, etc. that you might want to indulge in. Most importantly, don’t forget to check your kids are on it!

8. Peruse the late deal websites

There are some excellent deals on the internet, so use a site like www.homeaway.co.uk to see what’s available. Sites typically have a wide range of choices, for example homeaway.co.uk has over 360,000 properties in Europe, of which 2,700 are instantly bookable and payable online. The company has just launched its new instant online booking system for late deals helping you to keep an eye on my next point to, so why not check out www.homeaway.co.uk/lastminute for last minute holidays to book online instantly.

9. Snap them up but don’t be sloppy

When you see a deal you like – then go for it, but don’t do so without the thoughts I have already mentioned. You don’t want to get you or your family in hot water now, do you?

10. Have fun!

Booking a holiday should be fun, not stressful, so chill out and use this as an opportunity to look at wonderful new destinations that you and your family can explore. It’s not a chore, so have a ball!

Do you have any other tips? Did you find this useful? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.