While holidays are not an essential expense like the mortgage or food, most of us are more than happy to part with our money for a trip away. However there are many ways in which you can make great savings on holiday necessities. In this blog we have compiled some tips to help your money go further.
Book online and well in advance
Some airlines and most ferry providers offer a discount for booking online as opposed to over the phone. This can be as high as 20%. Keep an eye out for promotional codes in press advertisements as well. If you are travelling by rail, booking tickets in advance can make significant savings – timetables are published twelve weeks in advance and tickets go on sale for bargain rates. If you are under 26 or over 60, a railcard, which offers a third off most fares, can pay for itself on the first journey.
Package or DIY?
Package holidays are all-in-ones, where the tour operator provides flights, connections and accommodation together. Dynamic packaging, which is increasing in popularity, is where a travel agent builds you a holiday by finding your flights, accommodation, transfers and other extras to build you a trip that meets your specifications. The modern DIY holiday trend means many people avoid agents altogether and arrange the holiday themselves on the web looking for the best deals. A rough rule of thumb is if you are going for a week or fortnight in the sun in the traditional destinations, going ski-ing as a couple or family, or want the hassle taken out of planning a round-the-world trip, a package or dynamic package holiday is likely to be better value. If you are going for a city break or a multi-stop holiday, DIY may be the way to go.
There are a vast number of holiday websites available now promoting late deals, and don’t forget the humble Teletext as well. Make sure you are aware of what you are buying – many late deals exclude transfers and aeroplane meals.
Your money abroad
There are so many choices for obtaining foreign currency nowadays and paying inflated exchange rates are a thing of the past. In many cases the cheapest way to manage your money abroad is with your debit or credit card – but check what your bank charges for this first. Nationwide’s bank account make no charge for using your card abroad, so if you travel frequently it could be worth opening an account with them specifically for your holidays.
Feeding the family
If you are flying low-cost, a lunch for a family of four can cost up to £40 return. Meals on charter flights are often £10 extra per person and the odds on them being tasty are pretty low! Eat at the airport or bring a packed lunch.
Slip Slap Slop
Before you stock up on sun cream, consider carefully. According to Cancer Research UK, sun cream should be “the last line of defence for your skin”. It is safer and cheaper to cover up and keep in the shade as much as possible. However it is impractical to keep out of the sun completely. Research by Which? shows that expensive sun creams don’t offer superior protection to cheaper brands so it might be better to opt for own brands.
Getting to the airport
Pre-booking airport parking is a great deal cheaper than turning up on-spec. Consider your transport carefully – for large families and groups a taxi transfer to the airport can be better value or consider using the coach or the train.
Weigh too much
Check the weight of your luggage before leaving home. Some flights will charge £9 per kilo on excess baggage.
The AA website offers a good route planner through France and also gives you an idea of motorway tolls – most of the more scenic B-roads are toll-free. There is a bewildering array of insurance available for car hire, and the best thing to do here is to check your own travel and motor insurance policies along with those offered by the car hire firm to avoid paying out twice.
If your holiday includes a visit to a theme park, pre-booking the tickets from the UK is usually much cheaper than buying them at the gate, and this also enables you to bypass queues.
Low-cost Travel Insurance
Many travel insurance policies offer the option to remove baggage cover. Check your home contents insurance policy to see if your personal possessions are already covered for trips abroad.
Buying your single-trip travel insurance from a travel agent can cost more than an annual multi-trip policy purchased from an independent broker. An Annual Multi-trip policy from 24/7 travel insurance for a family of four travelling to Europe starts from just £56.40* – if you take more than one holiday this year you can make a significant saving!
*Premium £56.40 includes Insurance Premium Tax; based on a Standard Annual Multi-trip policy for 2 adults aged 45 and their accompanying children under 17