Whether you're getting away this summer, or planning in advance for later in the year, these fourteen tips teach you how to save money on your holiday.
1. Pay with a credit card
Payments made with credit cards are protected under the Consumer Credit Act. So if the holiday is mis-sold, or the airline or travel company goes bust, your payments can be refunded. However, don't use it as an excuse to overspend. Although paying by credit card gives you the option of spreading out the payment over a longer period of time, the interest will add up and make your holiday more expensive overall. Only spend what you can afford to pay.
2. Budget your trip
Know how much the whole trip will cost you before you go, and make sure you can afford it. In advance, you will want to buy:
- Hire car
- Travel insurance
- Appropriate clothing (swimwear, skiwear, hiking gear, whatever you'll need)
- Sun cream, Insect repellent
And each day of your trip, you'll need to budget for:
- Food and drink
- Local transport
- Attractions and entertainment
- Gifts or souvenirs to bring home
When you know how much you need, use Money Dashboard for personal finance management to make sure you're saving up enough to meet your goal.
3. Currency exchange
Definitely get your money changed before you leave. Often the cheapest way is to buy currency online and have it delivered to you, or to pick it up from a nearby branch. Search online for the best deal. Withdrawing money while overseas often incurs charges, but if you have to do it, take out plenty cash so you aren't charged for multiple withdrawals.
4. Multi-trip insurance
Often an annual travel insurance policy that covers multiple trips is cheaper than on-the-spot single trip insurance, odd as that seems.
5. Fly at the right time
The cost of flights fluctuates depending on when you travel. Usually weekends are more expensive, and unsociable hours are usually cheaper.
6. Stop over
It takes longer, but sometimes flights are cheaper when you have one or more stop-overs. Most travel comparison tools will give you the option of choosing direct flights, or allowing multiple one or more stop-overs.
7. Try different options
Being flexible with your travel options is a good way to keep costs down. Don't just check your nearest airport, or the nearest one to your destination. Sometimes nearby airports will offer better deals, even after you take into account the additional travel cost to and from these airports. Travelling on different airlines or can also reduce the cost, look for a holiday comparison tool online that lets you see multiple flight times, airlines, and airports.
8. Destination: anywhere
For some people, the destination isn't too important, it's getting away that matters. If this is your view, then you can choose your destination based on costs. Skyscanner's search everywhere feature allows you to see all flights on offer in price order. Many travel comparison websites also let you look for last minute or late deals, and these are often heavily discounted.
9. Book airport parking and car hire
If you are leaving a car at the airport, or hiring a car at your destination, it's usually cheaper to book in advance. Large airports often have long stay car parks nearby with free shuttle bus service to the terminal.
Thanks to the latest regulatory review by The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), car hire should less costly. Firm CMA rules are coming into place for car hire companies in the UK and Europe later in the year. These rules will relate to things like insurance products and fuel policies, meaning it will be easier not to be roped into cost insurance packages. The fact that you will be able to choose a full tank of fuel on your hired car to suit your trip will also ultimately save you money.
10. Pack light and wear pockets
Poor packing leads to extra baggage charges. Try to bring as little as you can. Sometimes it's possible to do laundry at your destination, so you won't have to bring as many clothes. Weigh your bags in advance to make sure they adhere to the regulations, and try to bring as much as you can in your carry-on luggage. Travel in clothes that have a lot of pocket space, and you can wear some of your luggage. You should be allowed to bring a large jacket onto the plane with you, even if you're not physically wearing it at the airport.
11. Stay in someone's home
The level of luxury and service in fancy hotels is hard to beat, but it comes with a price tag, and can be a bit soulless and impersonal. If you keep a nice home, you could try looking at home swaps. Temporarily trade homes with someone who lives at your destination. You could also try AirBnB, which allows you to rent a privately owned house or apartment at terrific rates.
12. Get the app
Travel guides, maps, phrasebooks, it all adds up. Instead of buying books for your holiday, download apps instead. Travel apps and translators are often free.
13. Feeding yourself
If you're staying in a hotel or B&B, make sure you get your money's worth out of the breakfast. Eat heartily, and if they have a buffet, maybe you can make some sandwiches or take some fruit to eat later. If you have access to a kitchen, shop at a local grocer or supermarket and make your own meals. If you'd prefer to eat out, avoid chains or recognisable brands, and eat like a local. It's more of an experience, and the ingredients are likely to be locally sourced and affordable.
14. Walking tours
Explore your destination by taking part in a walking tour. Compared to bus tours, walking tours are often very cheap or even free (although you may be expected to tip the guide). You may even get to experience something new like doing the classic cliff jump!