The easy option may not be your best bet

It pays to pick your holiday with care
It pays to pick your holiday with care

LETTER OF THE DAY: Hats off to two top firms

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When dreaming about relaxing on a white sandy beach and a regular afternoon siesta, it can be a temptation to take the easiest option, and jump at the first deal that leaps out at you.

But when holiday budgets are increasingly under pressure it’s more important than ever to get value for money.

Peace of mind

Although the internet often provides the cheapest option, the traditional package bought from a travel agent’s brochure gives complete peace of mind.

Everything is taken care of in advance.

You know exactly how much your holiday is going to cost, and if the tour operator goes bust you’ll get back home without an additional dent in your bank balance.

Do your homework

Despite the growing trend towards on-line bookings, conventional high-street agents with their choice of hundreds of package tours, have advantages that are not immediately apparent.

Lowcost Holidays (lowcostholidays.com) and Cosmos (cosmos-holidays.co.uk) are offering a range of 50 per cent off deals.

Thomson Holidays are fighting back, with a £200 off per couple getaways, plus a percentage discount.

Family deals now include lots of offers of free child places, an excellent way to make great savings.

Booking a bargain

Bagging a cracking package deal is not just about what’s on offer. Once you know when and where you want to go, shop around.

Don’t forget, many standard packages are heavily discounted on-line.

Before you book with your chosen high street agent take a look at the cost of the very same package booked over the internet.

Alternatively, try going to sites like thomascook.co.uk or travelbag.co.uk, and thomson.co.uk for top package bargains you may not find in the shops.

What’s on offer – Long Haul deals (all prices are per person)

· If you’re prepared to travel in May or June, and you’ve got your sights set on a long haul holiday Travelbag are offering nine days in Phuket Thailand with four-star accommodation including flights from London Heathrow and internal flights, for £789.

· The same operator will give you seven nights in Sri Lanka at a three-star beach hotel on a b&b basis for £569 including flights.

· For a real touch of luxury, Thomson and First Choice will fly you to one of their top beach resorts in Cuba or Mexico, where seven nights all inclusive pampering in May will set you back a modest £829 and £855 respectively.

· Not to be outdone, Thomas Cook will provide a five-night round trip to New York for as little as £387 for a last-minute deal, or £439 over the Easter break.

Short haul getaways

· For anyone on a seriously tight budget, and would like to stay nearer home, Cosmos are offering Spanish family breaks starting at £159.

· The same tour operator will provide seven nights in the Algarve for £175.

Book early as these exceptional deals won’t hang about for long.

· Thomson has stepped in with seven-night family deals to Tenerife in May starting at just £384 with the first child free.

· Couples who are looking for an exclusive adult only holiday experience should look no further than their Atlantica Imperial resort, Rhodes.

At £495 half-board for seven nights, it’s worth it for a regular facial, and a round or two of golf on the 18-hole course.

· If you’re prepared to just pack up and go, Thomas Cook has some really super bargains. Egypt comes in at £233, and seven days topping up the sun tan on a Turkish beach will only set you back an incredible £178.