How to get cheaper long haul holidays

If you’re saving up for a dream trip on the other side of the world, chances are you’re keen to save on costs where you can. 

And while it’s common knowledge that being flexible with your travel dates can make for big savings when it comes to your travel budget, it’s not always practical or desirable to visit a destination when the weather’s at its worst. 

But there’s no need to simply lower your expectations and suffer a fortnight of chilly evenings (or worse, uncomfortably hot days) to get a decent deal. We’ve found that by picking your travel month wisely it’s possible to pay less for a holiday without trading off decent weather conditions.

Prioritise hotel prices over flight prices

Long haul flights can be costly. But for long-haul trips, the cost of your hotel is likely to account for a decent portion of your budget – possibly the biggest expense of your holiday. A 14-day trip to pricey New York, for example, would cost you more than any of the long-haul destinations here, even if the flight is cheaper as the Big Apple is just an expensive city. 

Of course money’s not the only consideration. An average hotel in beautiful Jaipur, India, in June only costs £31, which is great if you don’t mind the 39°C average highs. Below we’ve taken five of your favourite long haul destinations and figured out the cheapest month to travel for a fortnight to each, taking into account first hotel prices, and then flights – and sticking to months with average highs of 19-30°C. 

Where possible, always book your holiday as a package holiday through a provider with a good flexible booking policy. This protects your funds if your trip gets cancelled, or if the travel company goes bust. 

Travel insurance is a necessity and should be booked as soon as your holiday is confirmed. Our latest research finds that the best cover isn’t always the most expensive – via our guide to travel insurance.

When’s it cheapest to visit my dream destination?

When to visit Cape Town

Find cheaper holidays to Cape Town in October

Frugal travellers might be tempted to book to visit Cape Town during the winter months of June to August for super off-peak rates. But this will only suit if you’re prepared to encounter its rainiest and coldest months. Instead, we recommend visiting Cape Town in its October shoulder season – just ahead of the November/December summer season. You’ll be rewarded with fewer fellow travellers, mild temperatures with average highs of 20°C – though do bear in mind that the sea will be cold, at around 15°C. There’s not too much rainfall to be expected – but it’s worth packing a raincoat in case. The plus side? You’ll catch the end of whale season and have the chance to see its floral landscapes at their most colourful. We found that those booking for October would see savings of around £382 off the annual average for a holiday to Cape Town. The average cost of a two week stay and flights was £2,332.

Fly to Cape Town with a Which? Recommended Provider: Kuoni , Trailfinders , Saga

When to visit Jaipur

Find cheaper holidays to Jaipur in February

Those on a budget might consider travelling to Jaipur during low season when rates are more competitive, but this isn’t recommended. Visiting the area between March-early July is a no-go for tourists due to extreme heat that would make sightseeing unbearable for those who haven’t acclimatised. For good rates and pleasant conditions visit in February, just as high season tails off. You’ll be greeted with comfortable average highs of 25°C, and dry, sunny conditions. Night temperatures drop to 10°C at this time of year, so make sure to pack a jacket. We found that at this time of the year you’ll save £450 on the annual average, with flights and accommodation for a two week stay coming to around £1,352.

Fly to Jaipur with a Which? Recommended Provider: Kuoni Trailfinders Saga

When to visit Sydney

Find cheaper holidays to Sydney in November 

Trading the UK’s wintry climes between December to February for balmy days in Australia is a common choice. But is it the savviest? This time of year is also high season for locals, meaning you’ll find tourist attractions and beaches are thronging. Plus, accommodation costs soar, for obvious reasons. But if you visit just ahead of high season in November, you’ll still be able to holiday in enjoyable conditions, with average highs of 24°C and relatively little humidity. Be sure to pack strong sun protection though, as this month sees higher maximum UV rating (meaning the sun’s rays are stronger and sunburn is more likely). You’ll save £423 on the average cost of your holiday. We found that the average price of a two week stay and flights was around £2,550.

Fly to Sydney with a highly rated provider: Trailfinders Kuoni  (for future bookings), British Airways holidays

When to visit Singapore

Find cheaper holidays to Singapore in September

Though Singapore generally offers more consistent year-round conditions, tourists tend to visit between December and June for more hours of sunshine per day and the most comfortable climate. But we found you can cut £384 off the cost of a two week holiday in Singapore by visiting in September, while still avoiding the rainier months of October and November, and the more limited sunshine in December. For an average cost of £3,089 for two weeks accommodation and return flights you’ll still enjoy comfortable average highs of 30°C. Book early though – availability might be tight, as the Singapore Grand Prix swoops into town in mid-September.

Fly to Singapore with a Which? Recommended Provider: Kuoni Trailfinders Hay’s

When to visit San Francisco

Find cheaper holidays to San Francisco in June

San Francisco tends to see the most tourists between September and November, during autumn, so those looking for bargains may be considering July or August for hot weather and cheaper trips. But we found that June tends to offer more hours of sunshine per day than July or August. And for a fortnight’s accommodation and return flights we found an average cost of  £2,399 in June, which is £226 cheaper than the annual average. Because June falls directly between San Francisco’s spring and summer seasons, it offers pleasant average highs of 19°C. Plus, you’ll be treated to a buzzing city with a packed programme of festivals, markets and numerous pride parades as the city celebrates its LGBTQIA+ inhabitants and visitors.

Fly to San Francisco with a highly rated provider: Kuoni Trailfinders British Airways