Despite the austerity drive, cuts to benefits and the rising cost of living, one thing that few Brits are content to give up as they try to make a few financial sacrifices is their annual holiday.

Indeed, with at least one week in the sun every year considered a priority by so many people who relish the chance to unwind under clear blue skies, saving for a short break is likely to be at the top of many families' lists when it comes to budgeting for the next 12 months.

And according to Sarah Woods, travel expert on The Alan Titchmarsh Show, this is the reason why villas are becoming increasingly popular among Brits who are looking to get the best value for their money.

"Villas have been a popular accommodation choice for budget-conscious travellers with families for the last few years and are likely to remain so in 2013," she commented.

"They not only offer good value on a per-person, per-night basis, but also appeal to families with young children.

"Villas are also ideal for a growing trend in holidays to these destinations taken by large, extended-family groups."

Many people prefer villas due to the sense of independence and freedom that comes with staying in such accommodation, as they do not have to plan their days around hotel meal times or share facilities with other guests.

This is part of the reason why investors pick up cheap properties on the Continent and let them to holidaymakers throughout the year, as it is likely that there will always be interest in their assets. 

But while such a tactic can be a profitable business, it's vital that they remember the importance of guarding against unexpected costs in order to budget appropriately - a factor that makes second home insurance policies a useful purchase.