Sarah Loughlin hunts down the best travel deals for holidays in August.
One of the most frustrating things in life, second only to not being able to open a jam jar and losing your keys, is finding a week where both you and your travel-buddy are free, only to discover it’s smack bang in the middle of the school holidays.
August can be a pricey time to travel, but there are always some great deals out there. Whether it’s a cheeky weekend break in Europe, or a dream trip to the Caribbean, these are my top picks for the next few weeks:
A Weekend Break:
Two nights in Rome, Italy: Friday 15th August – Sunday 17th August
Flights from London Heathrow and 4* Hotel accommodation for just £167 per person based on two people sharing.
Book a package with British Airways, using their holiday finder to get the best deal. There are 47 different hotels to choose from for this weekend!
Top 5 must see in Rome:
The Colosseum – Building began in 70 AD for this ancient Roman amphitheater, which was the largest in the Roman Empire, and now the largest in the world. It was used for gladiator fights among other things. While there we got in to the ancient Roman spirit with the aid of some children’s fancy dress from a nearby souvenir shop! €12 entrance (plus €5 for guided tour).
The Vatican – It is well worth getting a guided tour for the Vatican, you might not get to see the Pope but if like me you are not up to speed on your history it will be full of fascinating facts about the Church, Italy and Rome. Plus, you can’t go to Rome and not see the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo himself! TOPTIP: Remember to take clothes in your bag to cover up, you must cover your knees and shoulders when inside. €30 for a pre-booked guided tour.
The Spanish Steps – If you like people watching this is a dream come true! Tourists and locals alike sit on the steps chatting and going about their day. TOPTIP: for a cheap night out, buy a gelato to go and find a spot on the steps to watch the world go buy. Free to visit! (+ A few euros for a gelato!)
The Trevi Fountain – Said to be the most famous fountain in the world, it stands at an impressive 26 meters high. Legend has it that that you have to throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder for good luck. There is a great atmosphere around Rome’s Largest Baroque fountain, especially in the evenings. Free to visit!
Eat some Italian food – At this point I would really love to tell you about a fantastic restaurant to visit that has the most amazing Italian food. Unfortunately one of our group suffered from severe ‘Hanger’, which if you have not come across it before is one of the most undesirable traits in a traveling companion. Hanger is anger caused by hunger. This leaves the sufferer very shirty and unable to make rational decisions. The long and short of it was we ate at the first place we came to, which tuned out to be a very average pizza place. But luckily Time Out do have some good suggestions.
A week in the sun:
Seven nights surfing in the Algarve, Portugal.
If like me you run out of holiday allowance at work about 3 months into the year you will be desperate to make use of the upcoming bank holiday (25th August). This is one of the most expensive times to travel, but these flights with Thomson airways to Portugal are a steal!
- Fly from Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham, Doncaster, Stansted or Manchester from £33.99 one way on Saturday the 24th of August.
- Returning on Saturday the 30th of August via Dublin. Fly from Faro to Dublin with Ryanair for £71 (flight times: 07.00-10.00).
Then after a day in Dublin seeing the sites, or having a few post holiday pints, take a flight back to England later that evening or even stay the night in Dublin and take a flight back on the Sunday. Use Google flights to help you find the cheapest way home. Flights start from around £30.
- Dublin – Stansted 22.10-23.20 £30 with Ryanair
- Dublin – Manchester 21.35-22.35 £35 Ryanair
Or if you fancy the week after there are direct flights with Thomson from Newcastle (£68.98 return) or Birmingham (£98.98 return) to Faro 28th Aug- 4th September.
There are plenty of surf schools about on the Algarve. Browsing the web I found Extreme Algarve who can sort out your accommodation and surf lessons, they also have some handy tips about getting to and from the airport! Their ‘Surf and Stay’ package will cost you €410 Euros based on two people sharing and includes a five day surf course and equipment, accommodation, breakfast, pick nick lunch on surf days and beach transfers. They also offer a host of other activities including kite-surfing and stand up paddle boarding.
Two weeks in the sun:
14 nights in the Caribbean.
This is not the driest time of year for the Caribbean, but at these prices I think I would take a few thunderstorms in exchange for some scorching island sun! My pick for a two-week holiday would be 28th August to 11th September flight only from London Gatwick to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic with Thomson airways (£359.98 return).
There is such a huge variety of accommodation available in Punta Cana depending on your taste and budget. I found accommodation for as little as £100 per person for two weeks based on two people sharing. But you know what they say; you get what you pay for! So always read the reviews before you book. Check out www.booking.com to find the right accommodation for you.
There is a lot to do in Punta Cana, from snorkelling and diving to playing a few rounds of golf, and even trying your luck at a casino or two.
More activities available in Punta Cana:
Dingy or Catamaran sailing
If you do want to use that handy bank holiday day to preserve your precious holiday allowance from the office why not try one of these alternatives:
For more ideas about great holiday deals check out my previous post ‘How to Fly for £17 Return’.
All prices and availability were accurate on Wednesday the 13th of August; please check websites for up to date pricing.