Summer holiday bargains

Purse strings may be pulled a little tighter this year, but that doesn't mean a leaky Skegness caravan is your only holiday option.

Tour operators, airlines and hotels are fully aware of the current strain on our wallets and have handily come up with a raft of handsome offers to get us to dig out our passports and jet off.

Those looking for guaranteed sun should check out Thomson Holidays for hot deals at top end hotels in theAlgarve (7 nights, all inclusive for £478) and Madeira (7 nights, half board for £553); while First Choice have come up with a cracking lastminute break: a week in Mexico (accommodation and flights) for £461. Sure you can only fly on specific dates in June, and only from Newcastle, but sometimes the perfect holiday is worth a compromise.

Students (and those lucky enough to class themselves 'under 26') can cash in on STA's flight price promise: to beat any airfare you've been offered or pay you £1000. Given their current crop of bargains Johannesburg from £239, Singapore from £289, Sydney from £399 - it's unlikely you'll score the grand, but it's a win win situation.

If budget flights send your eco conscience into overdrive, opt for an ethically sound deal from Responsible Travel. One of their most tempting offers this week is a scuba diving trip to Sardinia - the price tag (£350-£490) includes 7 nights self catering, 6 scuba trips and a rather tempting shiatsu massage. Make the eco trip complete and travel via public transport - yes, it is possible, see The Man in Seat Sixty-One if you have doubts.

Travellers willing to test out their sea legscan score serious savings on a cruise. Costa Cruises currently have a range of appealing deals including a 14 night Jewels of the Far East tour that takes in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand (departing from Singapore) for £687.20 which is a saving of £381.80 on the original price. The cabins may be compact but they'll still be a world away from a caravan and Skegness.

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