Sadly, most of us can't jet off at the last minute. But here is is a checklist of money-saving tweaks – balancing saving and hassle factors – many of us actually could consider. We'll eat our sombrero if at least one of the ideas on this list doesn't save you money:
1. Travel in the shoulder season – the period between peak and off-peak seasons. Holiday in April–June or Sept–October, skipping the summer school break, and you'll not only find cheaper flights, but also less scorching weather (and better hotel rates, too) in many sunny spots.
2. If you can, also skip other school holidays.
3. Book at least one leg of travel on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday, when seat demand, and thus prices, are lowest. (Bonus: airports will also be less rammed.)
4. Get an early morning flight or a red-eye.
5. Travel on New Year's Day: it tends to be the cheapest of all.
And if you are completely free enough for price and good fortune to determine when you go, try this: go to (This link will open in a new window)Skyscanner search, leave the 'to' field blank and select 'Cheapest month' for 'Depart' and 'Return'. Then click the green button and start clicking away at your worldwide options.