Tour operator Thomas Cook has recently announced that holidays to parts of the EU are likely to rise in cost by around 10% due to the weakening pound. Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, the value of the pound against the euro has dropped significantly, and it is struggling to recover. This means that you get fewer euros for your pound, which has a knock on effect to your other holiday expenses - such as accommodation and excursions.
However, if you’re savvy with your holiday booking and expenses, there are ways in which you can save a decent amount of your holiday budget. We’ve compiled 8 easiest ways to save money on your holiday so that you’ll hardly notice the difference in what your hard earned pounds are worth.
Compare & Negotiate
When looking at holiday deals, always compare the prices you are given using holiday comparison sites such as Go Compare and Travel Supermarket. You may find exactly what you want for much less, and as there is always competition between travel companies they’re not afraid to slash their prices – particularly last minute. All travel agents should be able to negotiate on price, and it’s always wise to see if you can get some money off by simply asking for their best deal, and bartering for free upgrades and extras. Don’t be shy!
Package holidays – where your travel and accommodation is included in one deal – are often cheaper than their individual components. However, in some instances the opposite is true. Give yourself plenty of time to do a little digging before you make a final choice so that you can be sure there are no further savings to be made. For instance, switching to a flight or train which goes via another destination rather than direct may only add an hour or so onto your total journey, but it could save you up to half of the cost.
Choose the Cheapest Dates
Many families will have no choice but to travel in the summer holidays or over traditional school break times which, as we all know, can be much more expensive than travelling ‘off peak’. While this is rather unfair, there are some ways in which you can beat the worst of the price rises. If you’re able, take your holiday at the very end of the school break – the last week of August and the first week of September are traditionally much cheaper. Of course, if you can travel outside of the school holidays then do so, as you’ll save around 10-15% on peak season prices, if not more.
Get Foreign Currency in Advance
Ordering your foreign currency well in advance, rather than waiting until the last minute, can save you more than you may realise. As currencies are listed on the stock market, they’re affected by a number of factors and will therefore fluctuate. Although price changes are hard to predict, keeping an eye on the most recent trends and forecasts can help you to pick the best time to buy. Purchasing your travel money should never be delayed until you get to the airport, if you can help it, as this is where currency is often most expensive. Choose a trusted foreign currency provider who charges 0% commission to ensure a fair price.
Pay close attention to your baggage allowances to ensure you don’t get caught out by additional charges. All airlines will include at least one piece of carry-on luggage, the dimensions of which can be quite generous. If you can, condensing your holiday essentials into one small suitcase means free luggage and you also get to keep your bag with you, which dramatically reduces the likelihood of it becoming lost in transit. Having a smaller bag can also make it much easier if you need to make travel connections – particularly if delays have meant that you need to run!
Look at Alternative Accommodation
Staying in a hotel whilst on holiday is what many of us tend to do, but there are a wealth of other accommodation options which could save you a sizeable amount. Airbnb for instance, has properties listed in all four corners of the globe, allowing travellers to stay in unique, homely, reasonably priced homes. It may also be financially prudent to look into glamping or similar, particularly if you are going to a hot country where the night time temperature does not drop very low. If you don’t mind cooking for yourself, then self-catering accommodation can also be much cheaper than half or full board and you can still have the option to eat out if you wish.
Eat Like a Local
If you do want to enjoy a coffee, a light lunch or a dinner at a restaurant or café, it’s always worth going off the beaten track. Tourist-heavy areas will be taken advantage of by the nearest eateries, and their prices are likely to be inflated for the area on average. Do a little research before you go to find the best local spots. It’s unlikely you’ll have to go very far – particularly if you’re enjoying a city break – to find somewhere much cheaper. What’s more, you may also get to sample much more authentic versions of delicious local cuisine. Don’t forget to check the local customs surrounding tips before you go, to save any embarrassment!
Do Plenty of Research
Doing research on the specific area you’re travelling to can save you money in a different sense – it can help you to avoid losing your spending cash altogether. Whilst the vast majority of people at your destination will be welcoming and polite, there are always going to be one or two who find new ways every year to scam tourists out of their hard earned holiday money. Be aware and on the lookout for pickpockets and con artists – travel forums can help – just ensure the information is as up-to-date as possible. There are also plenty of general travel scam tips out there to help you keep hold of your cash and to stay safe. Always be prepared.