Haven recently announced it was leaving The Sun's Holidays from £9.50 promotion.
Fear not, bargain hunters! Haven are now offering a replacement deal which is actually pretty similar once you dig out a calculator.
After all, the Sun's £9.50 deal is the minimum per person price, whereas Haven's £49 deal is per holiday. Once you do the sums, you realise that The Sun's minimum price is £41 for a four night break including booking fees, which is only £8 less than Haven's cheapest four night deal. Also, lots of The Sun's holidays are actually £19.50, £29.50, £39.50 or £49.50 per person (read our full guide), so the total is often £81, £121, £161 or £201.
You may even prefer Haven's new best value deals, as the booking process is simpler and it's easier to see what's available near you. I personally find The Sun Holiday website a little trickier to use, as you have to choose your top four choices and then see what comes up.
Here are our thoughts on Haven's holidays for £49.
How does Haven's £49 holiday deals work?
Haven's Best Value holidays from £49 works just like any other Haven holiday. You don't need to collect tokens or whisper a secret password.
You just need to visit this page on Haven's website to see everything that's currently available. When I checked, there were 176 bargain holidays up for grabs, but it does vary.
I prefer to rank them by price and see what is cheap near me. Remember, this is holidays 'from £49' rather than 'for £49'. Holidays for £100 or less is another way to look at it.
Alternatively, you can filter by location or date.
These deals aren't 'last minute bargains'. Some of them are for holidays many months in advance. If you're looking for last minute holidays from Haven then there's a different page for that.
Can you really get a holiday for £49 with Haven? Or is it marketing hype?
Well, yes you can genuinely get a holiday for £49 with Haven but there a number of caveats.
1. These are four night midweek breaks. You won't get a week or a weekend for that price. Over four nights you are paying £2.87 per person, per night which is pretty staggeringly cheap considering that it includes electricity and gas.
2. All the bargain breaks are outside of school holidays. That's good news if you have pre-schoolers or if you're a couple looking for a cheap base for exploring the coastline. It's less good news if you want to avoid scowls from the headteacher for taking the children out of school. Further good news is that lots of cheap breaks are available during the warmer months of the year. Haven resorts are closed in winter, so you won't be spending four nights watching the rain on your caravan window in January.
3. The £49 breaks don't include the use of any activities or facilities (they are called Haven Hideaways). You can use the restaurants onsite but you can't go for a swim or sign up for paid activities. However, when we checked, there were deals available where you could get the full Haven experience for only £20-£30 extra for the four days. That's the price for the whole family, so I would strongly recommend upgrading!
4. As you'd expect, the £49 Haven breaks tend to be in the cheapest grade of caravan ('saver'). We've written a full guide comparing the Haven grades. The cheapest caravans are narrower, they don't have central heating, they don't have a balcony and they don't have things like a freezer or a dishwasher.
There were some exceptions though. Some of the 'best value' deals were glamping safari tents or 'bronze' caravans (one step up from 'saver'). However, these started at £69 when we checked, rather than £49.
5. Perhaps most importantly, you need to be flexible on either dates or location. When we checked, there were bargain breaks at most of Haven's resorts but not all of them. If you wanted a cheap break at Devon Cliffs (a huge and very popular site in Devon) then there were just three dates to choose from. If you wanted a cheap holiday at Haven's The Orchards holiday park in Essex then there were 21 holidays to choose from.
How to get the best value from Haven's £49 holidays
My controversial advice is to try to stretch your holiday budget to about £100, rather than obsessing over getting the £49 deal.
I appreciate that every penny counts at the moment, but I think it could be a false economy to go for the £49 deal.
Which are the best Haven holiday parks in the £49 deal?
The majority of Haven's caravan holiday parks are available with the £49 deal. When I checked, there were bargain breaks at 32 out of Haven's 37 holiday parks.
They certainly aren't just trying to flog off caravans at poor quality sites.
Haven holiday parks which make our top 10 guide, which had availability when we checked include:
Which is best? Haven holidays from £49 or The Sun Holidays from £9.50?
As discussed, the difference in price between the two deals is not as significant as it first appears. The Sun's £9.50 deal is per night, whereas Haven's £49 deal is per holiday.
You'll potentially save yourself £8 by going for The Sun's cheapest deals, but it gets more complex when you are comparing anything other than the very cheapest offers.
The Sun's deals are probably better for you if you have children at school. Haven's deals are only midweek breaks when we checked, whereas The Sun includes some weekends and occasional school holiday deals.
I personally found the booking process much simpler with Haven, as you can see every offer available rather than submitting four suggestions and then seeing what appears. You also don't need to collect tokens with Haven's £49 offer, although most people just search for the codes online rather than buying 10 newspapers.
Haven's deal is better if you want to try Glamping, as there are some safari tents in the offer.
The other big factor is which holiday park brand you prefer.
Overall, I would say that Haven gets better customer reviews on TripAdvisor than Parkdean Resorts. I haven't done a detailed comparison of this, but that's my gut feeling from running this site! It is certainly the case that Haven gets better review scores than Pontins, which is another brand on The Sun's deal.
Holiday Park Guru Blog
Occasional thoughts on holidays in England, Wales, Scotland and further afield, including the latest deals, discounts and last minute offers.
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