How to save money on your villa holiday this summer

If you're planning on spending your summer 2014 break with family or friends in a villa in one of the Med's holiday hotspots, you can look forward to unparalleled freedom and privacy, as well as outstanding value in terms of the space you get for your money.
And the good news is that there are things you can do to secure cheap villa holidays, and make your hard-earned cash go even further.
Of course, cost depends greatly on the size of your villa, how much land comes with it and how much privacy the accommodation affords. If you are prepared to forego a private pool and just hit the beach instead, you're likelier to find a cheaper deal. (Then again, having a pool of your own for a week or two can be the key attraction of a villa holiday, and it could make your trip.)
The dates when you are able to get away are also crucial. Popular family destinations are going to be much cheaper, for example, in May and June, or the autumn, outside the main school summer holidays. You'll still be pretty much guaranteed sunshine and warm temperatures.
Location is another key factor when it comes to price. That means not just the country, but the region of your chosen nation as well. For example, while villa holidays in Spain generally provide some of the best vacation deals you'll find anywhere in Europe, villas in Menorca and the other Balearic islands can sometimes cost more than those in mainland Spain: the Costa Blanca offers consistently excellent value.
Equally, if you go for year-round holiday hotspots, for example by hiring villas in Tenerife or the other Canary Islands, prices tend to go up less steeply in the peak months of July and August than elsewhere.
Timing can be crucial. If you're booking your own flights, the earlier you can reserve your tickets, the greater the potential savings. With package holidays, you can either pick up a last minute deal, especially if you're prepared to be flexible on dates and location, or save by taking advantage of an earlybird offer for next year.
Another trick is to ask about reduced rates for under-occupancy of a larger villa. You could just find yourself a fantastic bargain!
Think about how to save money on all those holiday extras, too. Work out the cheapest way to get to and from the airport both in the UK and your destination country, and whether annual insurance would save you money if you are a frequent traveller.
Car hire can cost more if you use services based within your arrival airport, so consider using an off-airport rental site nearby. (You will be met at the airport and taken there.) If you can stay in a villa where you can get around by foot, or cab, you may not need vehicle rental at all.
Remember to have a budget firmly in mind from the outset, both for the price of the villa rental itself, and spending money. Shop smartly for food locally, and buy all your snacks and drinks from supermarkets rather than, say, on the beach. Pack a soft insulated bag with everything you need for a day out, including water, before you leave the villa. Ask around for the best value restaurants if you are eating out.
Finally, the Pound has risen against the Euro to levels not seen for three and a half years, in the wake of the Eurozone crisis and the French and Greek elections, so holidaymaking Brits are set to be quids in this summer. So play your cards right, and that sun-soaked dream villa holiday can be an affordable reality this year.

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Read our blog of useful articles related to holidays and travelling abroad plus a selection of travel resources and website links.

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