For many of us, holidays are the highlight of the year. Whether spending time with our partner, friends or children, it’s an opportunity to re-connect and relax. The last thing we want is for money worries to prevent us from enjoying a well-earned break. From taking advantage of cheap late holidays to going self-catering, here’s how to save money and get a better deal.
Early bird or last minute?
There is debate over whether it’s best to book early or last minute to save money. This largely depends on your dates of travel. If you are travelling in high season, particularly school holidays, then early deals tend to be best. Booking at the last minute in high season can leave you with limited choices when it comes to hotels and destinations, and you may end up spending more. Late deals are better for those travelling either side of school holidays or off peak. It’s during these times that prices tend to drop, and you’ll still have your pick of destinations.
Draw up a budget
It pays to be really organised when it comes to saving money for a holiday. It’s a really good idea to start working out the cost of travel and how much spending money you will need well in advance. Create a spread sheet and factor in all aspects of spending, from taxis to the airport and flights to accommodation and food. You can then work out the total sum, and how much you need to save every month to reach this amount. It’s a good idea to set up a separate bank account specifically for holiday saving. By keeping this money separate and not dipping into it you have the best chance of reaching your target amount.
Ways to save when away
There are several ways you can save money on holiday. The most obvious is to go self-catering, as eating out is one of our biggest holiday spends. Self-catering doesn’t have to be dull, either. Visiting local markets and buying fresh, local produce can really add to the cultural experience. It’s also worth taking staples such as tea bags, washing powder and condiments along with you to lower the shopping bill. To make your spending money go further, favour public transport over taxis wherever possible. You can find out about buses and trains at tourist information offices, and may even be able to buy a travel card that lasts for the duration of your trip.
There are a number of other ways to save, from shopping around for the best exchange rates to collecting coupons for tourist attractions and restaurants. With a bit of planning and budgeting you could save a significant amount.
Featured image credit: Money jar on map concept/ShutterStock