Holidays are great, of course, but if you’re unlucky you could spend half your Easter holiday stuck in traffic and the other half in the World’s worst motel.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. In fact, there’s no need to scarper off and scour the internet for answers because we’ve sorted it all for you. We’ll help you find out exactly how to plan your break, whether you’re thinking of having a holiday inland or jetting off to a far-flung country.
We’ll show you how to beat the rush, save money, and find fun things to do to make this the most hassle-free Easter break ever.
Relaxing in your own country
Are you planning to travel in your home country this Easter? Then the sooner you book, the better the deal you’re likely to get. The cheapest travel tickets are the ones booked far in advance, so the later you leave it, the more you’ll have to pay.
If time’s marching on, however, you can still avoid the worst prices – avoid travelling on a Friday or Saturday, for instance, avoid peak-hour travelling and point your browser to The Trainline (or TrainTicket if you’re in the US) to find the most affordable train fares, Moneysavingexpert.com for bus fares or Kelkoo Travel for plane tickets.
Need somewhere to stay? Genuine bargains will always be snapped up quickly, so the sooner you look, the more you’re likely to save. We’ve found Laterooms, Expedia and Lastminute.com to be particularly good for finding last-minute hotel deals, and the Groupon.
The big-name websites tend to offer big-name accommodation, but if you’d rather find a B&B or a self-catering cottage, then the I Know network is a good place to look. There are sites for specific areas – iknow-london.co.uk for London and so on.
If you’d rather sleep in the fresh air, Cool Camping is a nifty search engine for people who prefer to sleep under canvas, and it’s easy to find sites that are kid-friendly or happy to accept pets. If you prefer to venture off the beaten track, the forums at GoXplore are full of helpful sorts.
User reviews can be invaluable when you’re thinking of booking accommodation or a campsite. They can give you a feel for the location, back up the claims made in the brochure or warn you that the camp site’s actually in the middle of a toxic waste dump. TripAdvisor is by far the biggest collection of accommodation reviews, but be wary of overly gushing or overly critical reviews when everyone else’s comments are more measured.
While it’s illegal for firms to pretend they’re customers and write their own reviews or rubbish their competitors online, it does still happen, so take such reviews with a large pinch of salt.
How to beat the Easter traffic jams
With everyone travelling at the same time on the same roads to the same destinations, it’s no surprise that holiday traffic is often horrible. Thank goodness for Bing Maps, which can help to make your trip as stress-free as possible by working out the easiest and fastest route.
If you’re driving, Bing Maps can calculate the fastest route to take between two or more points, and it can help you avoid toll roads or motorways. It can calculate walking routes, too, and in cities like London it can show you where the Underground/Metro stations are. Bing can also show Ordnance Survey maps, as well as road or street maps.
Things get more interesting when an organisation adds its own data to Bing Maps. The RAC’s UK Traffic Information map verlays details of congestion and accidents on the Bing interface.
Google Maps also includes traffic information, giving you a good idea of how to avoid any traffic jams while you’re on your way to your Easter vacation.