With the awful weather that we’ve been having lately, it’s no surprise that many people’s thoughts are turning towards the Summer and starting to make plans! This month, your favourite UK Money Bloggers are sharing their tips on how to save money on travel and holidays.
When I was younger, I was lucky enough to get to travel abroad every year with my parents which meant that I had a love of all things travel by the time I left school. I got a job as a travel agent and for the next five or six years, I got free (or much reduced) holidays which I took full advantage of two or three times a year.
A change in career was then followed by me getting married, buying a house and having children and suddenly holidays were an unnecessary luxury that we could no longer afford. We were lucky enough to have the odd holiday when the kids were younger but the costs were simply too high for us to travel anywhere near as often, or in the same style, as we had done in our younger days.
But a few years ago now, we decided to change that and we started to put some money away each month to pay for an annual family holiday. We saved as much as we could without having to cut back too much everywhere else and as you can understand, we made sure that we got the best deal for everything so we could make the most of the money that we’d saved – something I’m sure that we all want to do.
With that in mind, here are some ideas on how YOU can save money on your next Summer Holiday…
Booking your flights
When you book your trip can have a huge effect on the price you pay. For the cheapest flights, Emma advises to either book when they first come out which is around 11 months ahead of your travel dates or very close to departure date for last minute deals. She’d also recommend clearing your cookies before purchasing to make sure you get the cheapest price which is something seconded by both Eileen and me. I always used to think this tip was a myth until I was was considering booking a flight that had gone up since the previous day – I checked in using an incognito window and it was suddenly the same price as the day before. Sneaky!
Also, when it comes to booking flights don’t assume that flights are cheapest direct with the airline. You might find the same flights, on the same airline but cheaper than going directly to the airline if you use websites like Skyscanner. Emma saved about £70 per ticket doing this, and had the airline booking confirmation with me minutes after booking.
Also, do consider using the so-called ‘budget’ airlines because they may not be as luxurious or comfortable as the bigger more expensive airlines but they get you to the same place in the same amount of time and the savings can be HUGE!
There are some great deals out there for accommodation and staying in a hotel is no longer your only option. Fiona recommends that you always shop around as hotel prices can vary so much depending on where you look – comparison websites are a great starting point but remember to check the hotels own website too. If booking a chain like Premier Inn or Travel Lodge the best deals and cheapest rooms are often only available by booking direct.
An alternative to a hotel would be staying with some friends or even house swapping with them. As Jane and Becky rightly say, this can save a fortune and be tons of fun with built-in entertainment and absolutely no accommodation costs. You don’t have to live in a palace for someone to enjoy staying in your home just as you would enjoy staying in someone else’s home as long as it was clean and tidy.
Of course, not all of us have someone to house swap with so Joliesa recommends joining a site such as Couchsurfing in advance as you get to choose to stay with a local individual/couple/family for a pre-arranged period of time at no cost to you. It’s a great way to really experience the culture of the country you’re visiting and save money at the same time. Shes had some great experiences doing this so definitely recommends that you consider it.
With any accommodation, do your homework and find one that’s in a location you want to be in – the last thing you want is to be so far away from everything that you spend all the money you saved on taxis or spend ages waiting for the local buses.
Having travel insurance when you travel outside of the UK is a must but there are ways you can save on buying it. For example, as Cat says, you should consider whether you will be travelling more than once in the year as multi-trip cover is usually cheaper than single-trip cover. Also, don’t forget to check whether you get travel insurance through your bank as you may already be covered!
If you’re holidaying in the UK then Katy recommends that you check if your home insurance ‘out of Home’ insurance covers you as hers does. She uses this 4-5 times a year and it saves her a fortune as both she and her daughter have so many existing health problems!
And don’t forget about your EHIC card! As Andy reminds us, if you’re off to Europe, don’t forget to check your EHIC is still valid. It’ll provide some cover if you need medical treatment, though you should still get some additional travel insurance.
Save money while you’re away
If you’re staying somewhere on a self-catering basis then eating out for every meal can send your holiday costs sky high, so you could definitely save money by self-catering. Faith advises that she cut costs even further by taking some store cupboard essentials, and where possible books a supermarket delivery for soon after they arrive.
If you’re planning on hiring a car then Lynn as a great tip for you! You can use your Tesco Clubcard vouchers to pay for car hire with affordable car hire which is something she does by saving up her vouchers and redeeming them to get free car hire for 2 weeks.
I could go on as there are so many ways to save money on travel but I think that’s enough for now although I do have one last tip from Hollie to share. She’s just reminded me that passport prices are going up considerably on 27th March so apply or renew before this date. If you have more than one application to send, you can put them all in one envelope so you pay less for postage too.