Many of us live for our summer holidays! There’s nothing better than getting the chance to unwind, explore new places, and create fun memories with our loved ones. Over the last few years, the cost of these holidays has soared. If you need a family holiday and are looking for some top tips on how to get good deals and reduce how much money you spend on your next jolly without having to empty your bank accounts, then read ahead.
- Planning and Budgeting
- Booking Your Holiday
- Minimising Travel Costs
- Food and Drink
- Activities and Excursions
- Insurance and Money Matters
- Final Tips
Planning and Budgeting
Setting a Holiday Budget
The first step in saving money on your summer holidays is establishing a realistic budget. This should take into consideration all potential costs, including:
- Travel: This includes flights, fuel costs for road trips, or train tickets.
- Accommodation: Your choice could range from hotels and holiday rentals to hostels or camping sites.
- Food and Drink: Consider the cost of eating out, as well as self-catering expenses if applicable.
- Activities and Excursions: Budget for tours, tickets to attractions, and day trips.
- Travel Insurance: It’s always a good idea to protect yourself from unexpected expenses or cancellations.
- Additional Expenses: These could include shopping, souvenirs, and local transport costs.
Once you’ve established your holiday budget, create a savings plan. This could be setting aside a certain amount each month or week. Treat saving for your holiday in the same way as paying a bill. Committing to a regular sum makes budgeting easier and allows you to watch your holiday fund grow.
Booking Your Holiday
Timing Your Booking
Believe it or not, the day of the week and the time of the year you choose to book your holiday can significantly affect the price. For flight prices, booking around six months in advance generally gets better rates. Additionally, travelling at off-peak times, such as early weekday mornings, can also help you secure better deals. Avoiding school holidays is also a great way to save money. I’m not telling anyone to take their kids out of school, but many people prefer to pay the school fine as it still works out cheaper.
Using Comparison Sites
Using travel comparison websites can help you find the best deals on flights and accommodation. Websites such as Skyscanner, Kayak, and Momondo aggregate deals from multiple sources, allowing you to find the best prices at a glance.
While comparison sites are great for getting an overview of prices, it’s always worthwhile to check them directly with airlines or hotels. In some cases, you may find cheaper rates or special offers unavailable on comparison sites.
You can double up your Tesco Clubcard vouchers to save money on holidays. They have cruises, Eurocamp, Forest Holidays, Butlins and more!
An easy way to get a great deal on a holiday is to use last-minute deals. If you’re not bothered about where you are going and can be flexible with your holiday travel dates, you can get better value holidays on last-minute deals.
Minimising Travel Costs
Hand Luggage Only
One way to save on air travel is by limiting your luggage to carry-on only. This can help you avoid additional costs for checked luggage. Be sure to check the airline’s baggage restrictions to ensure your carry-on meets their size and weight requirements. You can also save money be sharing a suitcase rather than checking in one per person.
Use Public Transport
Using public transport is often a much cheaper alternative to taxis or car hires. Whether you’re travelling to your destination or exploring once you arrive, buses, trams, and trains can often provide economical and convenient travel options. Always check the price of airport car parks, if you are going on a shorter trip, this may be cheaper and easier than public transport.
Alternative Travel Options
Consider alternatives to flying, such as trains or coaches. Not only can these options be cheaper, but they also offer a unique travel experience and are typically more eco-friendly.
Consider Different Types of Accommodation
Hotels are not the only accommodation option. Holiday rentals, hostels, bed and breakfasts, and even camping can provide affordable and unique stays. Websites like Airbnb and Booking.com offer a wide range of options to suit different budgets and preferences.
Accommodation in city centres or popular tourist areas is often more expensive. Consider staying in the surrounding areas and using public transport to reach the main attractions.
Food and Drink
If your self-catering accommodation provides kitchen facilities, consider self-catering for some meals. Eating out can be costly, particularly in tourist hotspots. Shopping at local markets or supermarkets can not only save you money but also allow you to experience local cuisine. When I’ve been self-catering in the past, we save a small fortune by having breakfast in the apartment taking a packed lunch with us, and just going out to eat on an evening.
Eat Like a Local
The best way to avoid spending a lot of money is to avoid tourist traps and seek out where the locals eat. These places often offer authentic cuisine at a fraction of the price of restaurants in tourist-heavy areas.
Activities and Excursions
Research activities and excursions before you go. Look out for discounted tickets online or combo deals that include multiple attractions.
Many cities offer free activities, from parks and museums to historic sites and cultural attractions. Researching these ahead of time can help you plan your itinerary and save money by doing things that are free entry.
Insurance and Money Matters
Never skimp on travel insurance. It’s a vital part of any holiday, protecting against unexpected incidents, cancellations, and medical emergencies. Shop around to find the best deal that covers all your needs.
Use Credit Cards Wisely
Credit cards can offer a convenient and secure way to pay for expenses during your holiday. However, it’s important to be aware of foreign transaction fees and interest charges. Some credit cards offer no fees for overseas usage, making them a great choice for holiday spending. Only spend on credit cards if you can afford to pay it back – if you are relying on credit in general to pay for your holiday, then you cannot afford it and should not book until you are in a better financial position.
Where possible, pay in the local currency. This is usually cheaper than paying in your home currency due to exchange rates and conversion fees. Shop around for the best deal on travel money by using comparison sites to find the best exchange rates.
Flexibility can lead to significant savings. Whether it’s being open to different destinations, travelling during off-peak times, or opting for less popular accommodations, being flexible can help you snag some great deals.
Loyalty Programs and Rewards
If you travel frequently, consider joining loyalty programs. These can offer discounts, perks, and points that can be used towards future holidays.
Finally, always prepare for the unexpected. No matter how well you plan, unexpected expenses can arise. Having an emergency fund can provide peace of mind and prevent these costs from ruining your holiday.
Planning a summer holiday on a budget doesn’t mean compromising on fun or comfort. With careful planning, savvy booking, and smart spending, you can enjoy a fantastic summer getaway without breaking the bank. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday season a budget. Let’s get booking our cheap holidays!