Holiday savings: How to save money on your holiday
Whether you’re planning on enjoying a bustling city break or a zen beach getaway, the price of a holiday can really add up before you’ve even gotten on the plane. 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 10 tips for making the most of your holiday savings at every stage of your trip, from planning your getaway to while you’re in the midst of your holiday.
Disclaimer: Please be advised, we’ve written this blog to share some of our thoughts and ideas, if you are in need of free and impartial financial advice, please speak to The Money Advice Service.
How to save money in the planning stages
Do your research and strike a deal
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. Many travel agents should be able to negotiate on price, and it’s always wise to see if you can stretch your holiday savings by simply asking for their best deal and bartering for free upgrades and extras. Don’t be shy!
Considering organising it yourself
Package holidays 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 the holiday costs.
Look outside of the holidays
Many families will have no choice but to travel in the summer holidays or over traditional school break times which 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 to, 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 holiday costs, if not more.
Find ways to top up the holiday fund
If you’re looking to save for a holiday, you may want to top up your fund so you can make your trip go even further. There are a few ways to do this, such as:
- Sell your unwanted stuff: You can sell possessions you don’t want or need anymore, from clothing to furniture to appliances and even broken toys.
- Pawn a valuable item: Pawning allows you to receive cash for a piece of jewellery, a nice watch or other valuable item, which you can then buy back in instalments or with one lump sum at a later date. Before pawning anything, you should remember that if you don’t pay the agreed amount back in full and on time, the pawnbroker can then sell your item on to someone else.
- Find a side income: If you’re planning your holiday far enough in advance, try finding some temporary extra work. There are plenty of services you can offer, such as being a car washer, babysitter, or gardener. Think about what skills you have which may be useful to others and go from there.
How to save money preparing and packing for your getaway
Get foreign currency in advance
Ordering your travel money 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.
Watch your packing weight
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!
Research your destination
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. While the vast majority of people at your destination will be welcoming and polite, be aware of pickpockets and scammers. 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.
How to save money on holiday
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 can 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!
Avoid the minibar
Hotel minibars are notoriously expensive and will sell drinks and snacks at prices way above the recommended retail price. It’s almost always cheaper to grab a drink at the hotel bar instead, and to bring your own snacks to the room if you can.
With the tips above, hopefully you can plan the perfect holiday with the money you have. Before your getaway, remember to pop into your local H&T to use our travel money service! We offer great exchange rates, with 0% commission on all foreign currency, and we even offer a buyback service! Check out our online travel money service to find our more. And for more holiday tips and inspiration, be sure to check out the rest of our blog posts.
*Please check with your airline/holiday company
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Pawnbroking Loans are secured on your items, if the loan is not repaid it will be sold to pay the debt.
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Please note that Cheque Cashing, FX, retail purchases and sales are not regulated by the FCA.