Keep things simple on your Algarve holidays

The Algarve region is one of the most popular short-haul destinations for holidaymakers. Even for people coming from the continental United States and Canada find the region’s Mediterranean climate, wonderful beaches, delicious cuisine and various activities with relatively low costs simply too good to pass up. This Portuguese region is just over two hours away from most of the major airports in Europe, and yet visitors often feel that they are a world away as soon as they set foot in this area.

The Algarve is all about relaxation, natural beauty, and the small pleasures of life. Experience world-class golf, or choose to zip thru the region’s many waterparks, party till dawn and explore Albufeira which is also the Algarve’s largest holiday resort area- the activities that await you are almost endless! Well planned Algarve holidays can leave you feeling revitalised and ready to face your everyday routine with renewed energies, but it is important to plan the financial side of your holiday so that it does not end up being a burden on your household budget.

Here are some simple tips to help you make the most of your Algarve holidays (even if you are on a budget!)

Use travel comparison sites

Faro’s airport is served by several budget airlines that operate to and from major cities in Europe. However, booking your flights separately does not always guarantee that you will get the best deals. Travel comparison sites often have ties with agents and tour operators so that you can benefit from discounted rates on car hire, insurance, accommodation, and of course flight deals even if you are coming from countries across the Atlantic such as Canada. In fact, you could reduce your car hire costs by up to 50 per cent or even get free nights at the accommodation of your choice by buying a package from a travel comparison site

Book early (or late)

Ideally, you will want to book your Algarve holiday three months in advance, and up to six months if you are planning to travel during the high season, which runs approximately between June and September. Even if you travel in the low season (December to March except for the Christmas and New Year period), you can still enjoy the pristine beaches that the Algarve is known for.

Alternatively, you might want to have a look at websites that specialise in last-minute deals or at charter flights, which sometimes slash their prices by more than 60 per cent in order to sell the last remaining seats. Another option is to look at flights that depart during the week, as these are generally cheaper

Try to Book in groups

Most tour operators offer great group deals if there are 10 or more of you travelling. Accommodation can also be cheaper and of a higher standard, as there are luxury villas that are only rented to groups (and splitting the costs makes them very affordable)

Take a prepaid card with you

Credit and debit card fees soon add up. A cheaper alternative is to buy a prepaid currency card in Euros and only use your regular card as a back-up

Go for local lunches

You can sample the delicious Portuguese cuisine at affordable prices if you ask for the “ementa turistica”, or set three-course menu, which can be had for as little as €10 (even less in rural areas)

Photo by Sue Elias on Flickr.

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