Summer might seem a long way off but having sun, sea and sand to look forward to could just take the edge of the harsh winter months. While last minute deals often prove to be a bargain, booking early for summer 2013 could save you a bundle.

Book a summer 2013 holiday

The holiday companies love advance bookings - they've made a sale, and you've got time to plan - so plenty of the big names offer sizeable discounts and freebies to early birds.



For example, Airtours guarantee to knock £75 off January bookings and have a number of summer holiday deals, while both The Co-operative Travel and First Choice have free child places available to advance bookers.

Elsewhere, book with Onthebeach and you'll benefit not only from free child places but could bag a serious bargain with up to 50% off your hotel, so it's worth checking what's available before you make any firm decisions on destinations.

Another good reason to get your booking in early is that many travel companies allow you to put down a small deposit (as low as £60pp) and some will even offer payment options, allowing you to pay for your break bit by bit.

If you're hoping to hop across The Pond, for example, Virgin Holidays will allow you to pay in chunks to suit you, just as long as the full balance is paid up 12 weeks before departure, although you will need a sizeable sum for the £175 per person deposit.

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Even if you prefer to tailor-make your break by booking flights and hotels separately, the earlier you book, the better the flight price is likely to be so do check online comparison sites to see where the best deals are.

Of course, there are many other advantages to booking your summer holiday early, not least that it allows you to save up spending money as well as pay for the break monthly rather than in one lump sum. And if you're a savvy shopper, you'll know that buying all those summer sun essentials during the cold weather could save you some serious money too.

Are you lucky enough to be planning a holiday for 2013 - or will it be a 'staycation'? Leave a comment and let us know below...