Everyone looks forward to taking a holiday. Going abroad for some much-needed relaxation gives a sense of heightened expectation, which is often offset by concerns over how best to fund your holiday – as the prices of flights and hotels, especially for a family, soon mount up into a formidable obstacle. However, there are many ways to save money during the planning phase of your holiday, to leave you with more spending money when you arrive. Here are 7 of the most useful holiday money-saving tips.
1. Get Travel Insurance
Insurance is often overlooked, and travellers who forget to take out adequate insurance cover risk a nasty shock when things go wrong. Insurance doesn’t just cover travellers for immediate medical expenses if they become sick while abroad, it also extends to cover for lost luggage and passports, and alternative arrangements if your preferred airline goes bankrupt during your stay, leaving you stranded. This happened to thousands of passengers of Swissair when it collapsed in 2001.
2. Fly at Off-Peak times
Comparison websites should give all options for departure on your preferred date, and during the peak months of summer a random inspection of the flight prices should reveal a steep spike in costs for the high season. Choose the “shoulder seasons” in the late Spring and early Autumn to secure a better deal on flight prices, and be prepared to be flexible with departure dates and times. Weekday departures, especially those after 9am, can be a lot cheaper than weekend and business tariffs.
3. Look for Cheap Accommodation
Hotels will often have hidden costs, such as a breakfast charge, and can sometimes turn out to be less of a bargain. Looking for alternatives can reveal some very economical alternatives, such as self-catering rental accommodation, or static caravans and chalets, many of which offer high-quality facilities for a fraction of the price of hotels.
4. Check Exchange Rates
There are often costs associated with withdrawing money abroad. Check the charges with your bank and arrange to make the exchange before you go – especially if you can find a commission-free outlet. Foreign banks and airports will usually charge a hefty fee. It is worth notifying your bank that you are going abroad in case back-up card services are required.
5. Leave your Mobile phone at Home
International roaming agreements let you use your mobile abroad, but data charge will leave you with a large bill upon your return. Leave your mobile phone at home, or purchase a local SIM card for a few pounds. Locate an internet café, and use your normal social media to keep friends and family updated for a fraction of the cost.
6. Avoid Expensive Restaurants
Dubious “Cover Charges” can often add several pounds to the price of a mediocre meal, along with a charge for a few pieces of stale bread and an over-generous tip to an unenthusiastic waiter. Buy a corkscrew and a sturdy knife to prepare food from local markets, and organise a fun picnic.
7. Buy What You Need Locally
Items such as camping equipment, walking boots and clothing are often available more cheaply in outlets around the world, so there is no point paying an excess baggage charge for carrying items that can be found locally.
Image courtesy of laser2k from Flickr.