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Top tips to booking holidays without breaking the bank
Now that the February half term is over, many of us are now focusing on booking our summer holidays. Whether we are after a value for money two week trip or we are just looking to get away from life and enjoy a few days rest and relaxation on a short break. But the last thing you want to do is blow the budget and come home to months of paying off your holiday costs. It’s something that all of us have done and an easy trap to fall into. So whether you are after a last minute holiday, a late deal or an all inclusive break, being cost conscious is king.
We share with you our top tips for how to get that holiday without breaking the bank.
- Set yourself a maximum budget for what you want to spend overall – include your holiday spending money, travel and accommodation costs and also items such as new clothes and treats to look your best, your baggage fees and even getting to and from the airport.
- Stick to your planned budget throughout your holiday search – remember that even though there are always deals about, you can’t expect a 5* holiday in peak season at 2* prices, so be realistic about your expectations of how far your money will go and what destination you can afford.
- Consider travelling off peak and mid week. A survey we conducted showed you could save up to 450% on some hotel and flight costs when booking ahead and avoiding weekend travel.
- The easiest option is to choose all inclusive. One upfront payment gets you your travel, accommodation, food and drink and usually lots of entertainment – you may need practically no holiday money when you are there and are unlikely to be hit by credit card bills when you get back. Use price comparison to get the best prices on our package holidays search.
- When planning your own trip from scratch, keep a running total of your costs so you can measure against your budget. If not, you’ll blow it before you even booked the break. If things are too expensive then change your destination, board basis or category of accommodation to inch the price down.
- Try and stick to destinations that have lower costs of living and better exchange rates. This summer has seen a major drop in every day costs for holidaymakers in the Algarve, Spain and Cyprus versus last year. And as the Euro is the only major currency that delivers more Euros for your pound than last year, you get a double boost. Bulgaria is also good value. Prices and exchange rates are poor this year for the USA as well as hot favourites Turkey and Egypt – but remember, the latter two are still great value overall.
- Check the total price with your chosen operators and airlines before you book. Extras such as baggage, credit card fees, on board meals and airport transfers can all add up, as well as last minute booking fees. A company which seems cheaper at first can end up being more expensive.
- Shop around for your holiday extras. You can save a fortune by pre-booking airport parking, booking car hire from the UK and being canny about where and how you buy your foreign currency and pre-paid cards. And of course travel insurance is an absolute must along with an EHIC card for Europe. All of these money saving ideas help to keep your overall holiday costs under budget. And don’t forget your mobile phone bills and usage of credit cards and debit cards abroad – all can run up unexpected bills that hit you when you get back.
- Don’t get caught out by baggage weights and forgetting documents. Overweight and extra bags can cost you £100s of pounds in bill at the airport and a lost boarding pass will set you back up to £40 per person with some airlines.
- Don’t go mad abroad. It’s so easy to see something in a shop and decide to buy on impulse. But is it really a bargain and do you really need those duty free goods? It may well have been cheaper at home anyway and you could end up blowing your budget. And putting it onto a credit card is not going to help you keep your costs down is it?