How to Save Money on Holiday

Holidays seem to be getting more and more expensive, particularly if you are travelling with children and are limited to the school holidays. Save money before you go and during your holiday with the following tips.


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    Find the best exchange rates. This can be done online or in person. #*For online sites, use a comprehensive search tool such as, a website set up by MoneySavingExpert’s Martin Lewis. This tool checks through online currency converter bureaus to compare the best fates, inclusive of fees.
    • The best deals tend to be if you collect at a branch but order online. You will get a slightly worse rate if you want to have the money delivered to you. The catch is that, unfortunately, the best exchange rates are from small bureaus with few branches.
    • Airport currency conversion is certainly the worst; avoid it unless you absolutely have to.
    • Try to avoid using credit cards (and some debit cards) to obtain travel money in the UK. Card companies often treat these purchases as a foreign transaction and will charge you extra fees.
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    Get Insurance. Purchasing travel insurance can be cheap, but check carefully what you are covered for. The cheapest basic annual multi-trip policy for a family of four start at around £25 - £30; however, they only give you the minimum amount in the event of lost luggage or cancellation. Raising the the payout inevitably raises the the premium, but it may be worth spending extra: should anything happen, you will be much better off. Single trip insurance is also available if you are definitely only having one holiday this year. Some important things to keep in mind:
    • Remember before purchasing insurance to check if you already have cover from your “premium” bank account or home insurance policies. In addition if you have an EHIC card, you’ll have access to European healthcare, although some may still charge.
    • Travel insurance is particularly problematic for older travelers, as they face steep premiums. Some of the companies worth trying are Insureme4 and Ehicplus, though you won’t be covered for anything that happens as a result of a pre-existing medical condition so remember to declare any existing conditions. Specialists in travel insurance for people with specific medical conditions are Medici Travel and Saga.
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    Plan how you will get to the airport in advance. Often, it can be a much easier and cheaper option to get a coach or train to the airport instead of driving because of the expense of parking. If you can manage without a car, particularly if you are travelling alone, this will save you money.
    • Coach companies such as National Express and E-Z bus provide inexpensive airport transfers from most of the major cities. Prices are particularly cheap if you book in a couple of weeks in advance. Take a look at the advance fares on The Train line for cheap train tickets.
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    • If you decide you would prefer to drive, there are some good advance rates on airport parking. The drive-up cost of these car parks can be astronomical, so it is imperative to book in advance. Companies such as airport operator BAA and Airparks provide good parking rates, offering you several options. Car parks which are a longer walk or bus ride from the terminal will always be cheaper than those that are a 2 minute walk from the terminal or offer a valet service.
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    Take the train or drive instead of Flying. Taking the train or driving to a European destination can often be cost effective, particularly if there are several of you travelling. Use Via Michelin to work out your driving route and fuel costs. Splitting the cost of fuel and ferry travel can save you money and is much better for your carbon footprint. For crossing the Channel by train, Eurostar has a latest deals section on their website.
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    Get the best deals for renting a car. Renting a car abroad is often considerably cheaper if you book the rental on the Internet before you go on holiday, as all of the major car hire companies will offer a decent online discount.
    • When you pick up the car, make sure you take digital photographs before you leave the rental office. Hire companies tend to catch people out on windows, wheels and the undercarriage, so take extra care over these. If you find anything that isn’t noted down on the list of damages already present on the car, make sure you show it to one of the staff and get it signed off before you leave.
    • At the airport, the car rental companies will try to encourage you to buy extra car insurance with warnings about huge amounts of excess if you don’t. This extra insurance is typically at a high cost, normally £10 - £15 extra per day. You can ignore them and buy independent cover before you fly. Two companies who specialise in this type of insurance are I-car-hire-insurance and Insurance4carhire. Their prices start at around £39.99 for annual European cover.
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    Plan phone coverage. Before you set off on holiday, talk to your mobile phone network (or check its website) and find out what the best way to keep down roaming charges is.
    • The networks will have a variety of price plans; however, you will often have to opt in before you travel to get the cheapest rates. Examples of this are Vodafone’s Passport plan, which requires customers to call 5555 from their Vodafone mobile, and T-Mobile’s booster packages which cost £5 for 30 days.
    • With the rise of smart phones, such as the iPhone, it is important to remember to switch off ‘data roaming’ functions. This avoids nasty surprise costs when you return home.
    • Remember that you pay to receive calls as well as make them when you are abroad---texting is the low cost option.
    • Another option is to buy a sim card while you are abroad, and keep in contact with your fellow travellers that way. Sim cards are relatively inexpensive and can be bought in advance from a company like 0044, who sell sim cards for a variety of different countries.
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    Pay in the local currency. Restaurants and shops use a currency conversion rate known as dynamic currency conversion. This tends to be at a bad rate and could cost you up to 1%-1.5% more. This is the same for cash machines: if they give you the option for GBP, always go for the local currency.
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    Beat budget airline extra charges. If you purchase a flight for two with Ryanair on a debit or credit card you will be charged a card fee of £20. You can avoid this by signing up for a MasterCard prepaid card. If you’re going away for a short break, remember that budget airlines charge for luggage. You could save yourself money by taking only hand luggage and no checked in baggage.
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    Buy before flying. Products like suntan lotion are generally cheaper in the UK than in holiday destinations. According to a survey by Which? supermarket brand sun lotions rank alongside the more expensive brands, offering the same, if not better protection against harmful rays.
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    Pick up a late deal. If you are travelling to a city and aren’t too concerned about exactly which hotel you stay in, websites such as Hotwire have great deals for good quality hotels. also offers a secret hotel deal---you get information about the standard of hotel and its location, but the hotel name itself is not revealed until after booking. Don’t forget Late rooms: they offer some good last minute deals to fill occupancy in hotels.

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Categories: Reduce Travel Cost