Best places to book a holiday: plan your next getaway

From weekend escapes to luxury breaks, we reveal the best places to book a holiday – Airbnb, Secret Escapes and more

thai beach holiday
(Image credit: Getty)

Want inspiration for you next getaway? If you're struggling with the January Blues, planning a holiday will give you something to look forward to. And whether it's a weekend escape, or a luxury break, we're here to inspire you with the best places to book a holiday.

As well as covering some of the favourites – we're talking Airbnb and Secret Escapes – we'll also be covering some of the lesser know flight, accommodation and package holiday providers. So, whether your preference is to go all-inclusive, or you think planning every detail of a holiday yourself is half of the fun, you're sure to find something that works for you. Plus, we've made sure there are options for every budget.

When you're done, head over to our lifestyle hub page for more holiday inspiration.

1. Airbnb: discover quirky stays all over the world

If you haven't heard of Airbnb, we're not quite sure where you've been. Embracing the idea of a circular economy, Airbnb allows hosts to rent out their homes to guests as and when they wish.

The upside of this is that, often, you're able to experience a new location as a local might – and for a fraction of the price of a stay in a hotel. We're big Airbnb advocates here at Real Homes, having enjoyed stays across the globe, and have to recommend having a browse for fresh holiday inspiration.

Not convinced by the hype? Discover some of our favourite stays, below:

2. Spabreaks: take time to unwind

If you're in search of rest and relaxation, look no further than Spabreaks. Drawing together the best spa weekends – and day trips – across the UK and Ireland, you're sure to find something local (or not, if you fancy a proper getaway) that suits your budget. Go on, you know you want to.

3. Booking.com: compare prices on hotels, bed and breakfasts and more

If you're more of a hotel person, Airbnb may not appeal. In which case, we'd recommend turning to Booking.com. It's a one-stop-shop for international hotels, traditional bed and breakfasts, and more.

Complete with a handy price comparison tool, Booking.com makes is super easy to decide how much you want to pay and gives you a pretty accurate idea of what you can expect to get for you money. Plus, the handy review system – complete with pictures – means you're less than likely to experience a 'holiday from hell.' 

4. Secret Escapes: luxury breaks, without the luxury price tag

Dream of a luxury holiday, but don't quite have the budget to match? We can totally relate. Which is why we're big fans of Secret Escapes.

This leading holiday provider works closely with luxury holiday companies to offer top-rated experiences at a fraction of their usual cost. How? We hear you ask. Well, think about it this way. Often, even the most luxurious of holiday providers can't completely fill their vacancies. So, rather than leaving hotel rooms, or experiences, half full, they drop the price of a stay.

5. Sykes Cottages: explore the great British countryside

Fan of the staycation? Sometimes you just can't beat the British countryside. And on those occasions, look to Sykes Cottages. Providing access to a whole host of holiday cottages, you're sure to find somewhere sweet that allows you to escape the stresses of daily life – at least momentarily. 

6. Expedia: plan a getaway on a budget

Expedia prides itself on its knowledge of cheap holidays. And whether it's a week in Mallorca, or a month in Malaysia, they're here to help you find flights, accommodation and experiences at the best price possible. You can book just flights, just hotels, or both together, making it the perfect option for those who like to go fully bespoke to squeeze every last penny out of their budget.

7. Last Minute: for the spontaneous sorts

Planning a weekend away, six months in advance, not quite your style? Perfect for the spontaneous sorts, Last Minute allows you to find flights, accommodation and more (as the name suggests) at the last minute. Don't worry, it doesn't mean you have to drop everything and go tomorrow – some deals are for weeks or months in advance.

Not only can this be a great way to save money – often hotels drop the price per night if you book last minute, as they're desperate to fill up – but the sense of immediate adventure may be just what you need to escape the feeling of low mood often associated with cold, dreary Januarys.

Short on cash? Last Minute is also a great place to book theatre tickets, spa days and other day trips up to a day in advance.