Who doesn’t love a bargain? Come on we all do!  I love to search the internet and find the best price for everything I buy and there is no exception when it comes to booking my holiday.  My first trip abroad, without my parents was the day after I received my GCSE results.  I flew to Portugal to stay with my boyfriend’s parents at their holiday house in Vilamoura.  I remember even back then I looked for the best deal on my flight as I was working part time for Peter Jones in Sloane Square and every penny counted.  Since then I have been lucky enough to travel to lots of different destinations on a variety of budgets and I have certainly learnt that you don’t always have to break the bank to have a great time.

Monarch often has special deals on flights, so if you don’t need to book accommodation and are watching the pennies, keep an eye out for their late deals and promotions and make the most of them!  Booking your trip well in advance is often a great way of finding a good deal as well as leaving it to the last minute so it is good to plan ahead. If you are just booking a flight, make sure you add all the extras before you fly for example an extra legroom you require.  Ensure you have booked the correct baggage allowance too as this can help avoid unnecessary added costs at the airport.

When you are booking your trip away it is wise to think about your daily budget, this can help when you are deciding which board basis you are going to stay on.  Do you want to know where you stand up front?  If so you might want to think about an All-Inclusive option which means you don’t have to worry about spending any more money on the holiday once you have arrived.

You can find some inexpensive Self-Catering or B&B options but they aren’t always the most cost effective especially if the destination you are visiting is expensive.  You should always research the resort before your visit because if the hotel you are staying at is offering a good deal on a half board basis (which includes breakfast and lunch or dinner) it might be worth considering.  I like the Half Board option because I don’t feel like I am restricted to eating in restaurants at the hotel and I can explore restaurants outside of it if I want to.

I’ve put together a little destination guide for holidays on varying budgets which I hope you will find useful.  Happy travels and until next time…

Laura x

  Portugal | Budget

The Algarve in Portugal is one of my favourite family friendly destinations to visit and might be top of your list when you can stay at Colina Village from £245 or Colina da Lapa from £285. Colina Village is located in the resort of Carvoeiro. The tranquil resort centre is a former fishing village with a few bars, cafes and shops to visit.  You can stay at Colina Village on a self-catering basis, B&B or half board basis to suit your budget. Monarch currently have amazing offers to Faro( Algarve) and Lisbon with flights at just £19!

Spain | Mid

I have recently returned from filming in Benalmadena and found that the Best Benalmedena Hotel from £339pp is a lovely option on a budget.  Benalmadena is a beautiful place and only 25 minutes from Malaga airport. Alternatively, if your budget can stretch a bit further you can head further east up the coast toward Almeria and stay at the Mediterraneo Park Hotel on a Half Board basis from £455 per person

Croatia | Luxe

In my opinion Croatia is one of the most stunning places you can  visit.  You can stay at the five star Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik for seven nights on a B&B basis from £899 per person.  The hotel is only 20 minutes walk to the old town yet benefits from its own private beach.  Another luxurious option is the Dubrovnik Palace Hotel.  You can stay in this stunning seafront location on an B&B or half board basis.  The swimming pool has a swim-up bar and a beautiful spa.  You can also get to the old town very easily by the local bus service that stops just outside the hotel.

For more great holiday inspiration check out Monarchs latest deals!

Popular TV presenter Laura Hamilton has taken part in ITV's Dancing on Ice and Channel 4's The Jump but is best known for hosting shows such as A Place in the Sun, Cowboy Builders and Fort Boyard. Laura has joined forces with Monarch sharing her recommendations on where to go, what to see, where to stay and where to eat & drink on your trips.

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