The beginning of a new year is often the busiest time of year for travel agents and holiday companies. It’s also the period in which these companies offer their best prices too, but for the savvy holiday maker additional discounts can be had with little haggling.

While many Brits will happily haggle over the price of a hand made trinket whilst on holiday, back in the UK we seem to accept that price we see is the price we pay. That doesn’t have to be the case. Often people see haggling as being rude or impolite, but that’s just isn’t so. Sure, it’s true that haggling reduces the profit an agent makes on the sale, but if price is higher than you’re prepared to pay, the agent wouldn’t have a sale anyway.

Not only can haggling save you hundreds of pounds, it can be fun too. The trick is to be firm, but be polite. Set a target price in mind and work towards it. It’s also worth comparing similar holidays. Perhaps you’ve seen a similar deal online or elsewhere. Ask the agent to beat.

Don’t be afraid to walk away. Remember it’s the tour operators that make or put together the holiday. Travel agents just sell them. That means that you can often find the exact same holiday on sale at multiple agents and even online.

Recent research conducted by Which shows that the average saving by haggling holiday makers was 6% off in-store prices, while the largest discounts were a whopping 25%. With discounts like that, can you afford not to haggle?

To get you started haggling for your holiday, we’ve listed our four top steps

1) Ask “Is this the best price you can offer?”

This works best if you’ve indicated that you’re keen to book the holiday there and then, but the price is a little on the high side. If you’ve seen the holiday advertised elsewhere let the agent know, and encourage them to beat that price.

2) Ask if if they can offer a discount if you pay in full

Occasionally discounts are available for prompt payment of the holiday. A holiday paid in full is money in the back to a travel agent, whereas an initial deposit could potentially lead to a cancellation.

3) Ask if they can throw in any free extras e.g. car hire, upgrades

If discount can’t be had, then what about throwing in some extras. It’s not unheard of for agencies to offer free travel insurance, flight upgrades, discounted, or even free car hire.

4) Ask about free child places

January, February, March time is when holiday companies have the most leeway in terms of prices. The fact is that kids cost money, but if an agent can’t offer a decent discount on the cost your holiday, they might just be able to offer free child places. Where this really saves you money is on the flights.

Is it cheaper to book separately?

While travel operators can have good deals on package holidays, if your needs are more specific if can often be cheaper to book direct. Using comparison sites such as Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights, and Airbnb, booking, and Expedia to find accommodation.

Don’t forget about travel money

A sure way to ruin an otherwise great holiday is to come back to find currency exchange and loading fees on your bank statement. High street bank accounts such as Natwest and others, are some of the worst offenders, when it comes to spending abroad. Use our guide to find the best credit and debit cards for spending aborad and be sure you’re getting the best exchange rates available.

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