When there’s nothing quite wrong but it don't feel right

More probably, though, you are looking to next summer, and for this the industry has another agenda. It is not selling distressed stock, it wants as many bookings as it can get well in advance so it has money in the bank and can plan for the future. 

Hence the incentives on offer every January. If you want to travel during the school holidays these deals can be worth snapping up since the earliest bookers get first pickings, which can make a big difference to a holiday, with flights or ferries that depart at civilised times, and the best located villas or hotels.

So, if you are booking last minute or planning ahead, how do you judge what constitutes a real deal? Here are a few suggestions:

Discounts 

Don’t be distracted by the number in front of the percentage sign: it’s the number behind the pound sign that counts.

'Free’ extras 

Be wary. You are probably overpaying for one element and subsidising another. This is often the case with so-called “free” child places, where the adults have to pay an extra supplement because the children are not being charged. Some extras may well be worth having – upgrades on a flight or room type, for example.