As we approach summer and the warmer weather, now is the time to start thinking and planning your next getaway! But what’s better than planning your next holiday? Saving money on your next holiday, that’s what!
But before you get your suitcase ready, we’ve put together our top 16 holiday money-saving tips to make sure you get the most for your hard-earned cash!
Make a plan
Want to know the cheapest and most affordable way to travel? Have a plan!
By planning out your holiday and having an itinerary, you are more likely to save money as you know what you will be spending and for what purposes (it’s the beach clubs for us!). Consider your budget and how much you are willing to spend to get an idea of what destinations would suit you best. Common things to consider include flights, accommodation, dining out, tourist attractions, and money for exploring the area you are going to.
Also, by planning as much as you can, such as the time it will take to get from the airport to the hotel, you may also find it cheaper to go elsewhere or to fly to a different airport. Overall, planning is one of the best ways to save money on your next holiday before you even depart!
Scan and research
Comparison sites are a great way to save money on all aspects of your trip, from flights and accommodation to airport transfers and car rental hire. For example, when comparing flights, hotels, and package holidays, using sites like Skyscanner, Travelsupermarket and Trivago can help you save money right from the beginning. Another great resource is Jacks Flight Club, a free email newsletter that sends you the world’s cheapest flights!
Our members can also receive up to 10% all year-round on Barrhead Travel holidays and up to a 5% discount on ABTA Tour Operator’s package holidays & selected cruises. We also offer a Haven Holidays discount for up to 10% (depending on the time of year) and an exclusive Sixt Rent-A-Car discount – perfect for travelling!
Consider different routes
Another way to save money on your next holiday is to consider the different routes you can take to get to your destination. Whether you’re booking flight-only, or a full package holiday it can sometimes work out cheaper to fly from an airport a little further from home. This is especially true if you’re limited to school summer holidays! Travelling to an airport such as Manchester or Newcastle before the English schools have finished up could save you hundreds of pounds, compared to flying direct from Glasgow. It is also worth considering getting a non-direct flight, as flights are normally a lot cheaper – plus it gives you the chance to explore another city!
Ensure you book with a reputable travel agent that will provide protection should plans change. When booking a holiday, make sure the company you are booking with is protected by either the ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) or ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licensing) schemes. All UK firms selling holidays with air travel must be signed up to ATOL. ABTA covers rail, road, or sea travel holidays. These schemes ensure that you are guaranteed to receive a refund if the firm you booked with goes bust – an essential to make sure you don’t lose your money!
How will I know if the travel company is ATOL or ABTA protected?
To make sure your holiday is protected, look for the ATOL or ABTA logo (both are shown opposite) in your travel company’s brochures, adverts, and websites. Your travel company should also be able to tell you if ATOL/ABTA protection applies. Some companies such as Barrhead Travel even take out supplier failure insurances to give you a cast-iron guarantee that your money is protected against failed operators, airlines, cruise lines, or hotels – no matter the circumstances. It’s important to note, that ATOL and ABTA protection is not a substitute for holiday insurance, you should look to take holiday insurance as soon as you book your holiday.
Before you go
Get yourself covered
As soon as your holiday is booked, get your travel insurance sorted. Some bank accounts offer free travel insurance, so check if you’re already covered. It might be tempting to go for the cheapest option, but if it doesn’t provide the cover you need it’s not worth purchasing. However, having good travel insurance in place will save you a lot of money for your next holiday. For example, you may be able to claim back for your cancelled flights or if your suitcase is lost. Check the fine details to make sure your travel insurance covers everything you may need!
Following the UK leaving the EU, the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is gradually being phased out. This is being replaced by the new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). The GHIC is also free and gives you access to free or discounted medical care in all EU countries and Switzerland. An EHIC/GHIC card will help you save money on medical treatment you may need while you are on holiday.
If you do not have an EHIC card, then it is suggested to apply for the GHIC card in line with the new rules and regulations. You can apply for a GHIC card on the NHS Website here.
Don’t get weighed down
To avoid excess charges at the airport, check the baggage allowance for the airline you’re travelling with and weigh your baggage before you go. There’s nothing worse than having to empty your suitcase at the airport because it’s too full!
Allowances can vary dramatically between airlines, and even between the type of ticket, e.g. ‘economy plus’ might have a greater allowance than ‘standard economy’. If you’re travelling with small children, ask if your airline allows you to check-in a car seat or buggy for free, in addition to your regular luggage.
Check any data roaming charges
Since the UK left the EU, many mobile networks are now charging customers for data-roaming throughout the EU. As it stands, these networks include Vodaphone, EE, and Three. 02 and Virgin Mobile have pledged to keep free European roaming for mobile users, but this may change in the future. The new EU roaming charges average around £2 per day and vary between the provider and the contract the customer has with the firm. We suggest you double-check any roaming charges with your provider before using your data abroad to avoid any surprises to your phone bill!
Compare exchange rates
Many people still like to take cash abroad with them when they go on holiday. However, how much you can get for your money when you exchange it for another currency will depend on the company you use. Therefore, make sure you compare different providers to ensure you are getting the most of your money! There are many helpful exchange rate comparison tools that can be found online on sites such as Money Saving Expert or Money Supermarket.
Double check the COVID-19 Rules
With COVID-19 restrictions easing in many countries, it is still important to make sure you know the rules and procedures before entering your desired country of travel. Don’t get caught out! If you require a test, shop around to try to find cheaper testing options. Check out Money Supermarket to find the cheapest COVID-19 tests for overseas travel.
At the airport
Bring your own snacks
Most airports will allow you to take solid snacks (such as sandwiches, crisps, crackers and biscuits) through security and onto the plane, so you could save a fortune keeping hunger at bay compared to the inflated in-flight prices. Liquids over 100ml aren’t allowed through, but it’s still often cheaper to buy water or juice in the departure lounge rather than onboard. A great tip is to keep some snacks in your hand luggage, so you have easy access as you travel through the airport and on the plane!
Ask a friend or family member for a lift
Generally speaking, airports can be relatively difficult to get to if you do not drive. With the cost of taxis rising and fewer public services running at the moment, it is worth asking a friend or family member if they can drive you to the airport. Getting a lift from a friend or family member will save you a good chunk of money on a taxi!
If you’re driving and leaving your car at the airport, make sure you book parking in advance (even if it’s the same day!). There are good discounts out there to be had from sites like holidayextras and travelsupermarket. Check out the different options available that would suit you and your budget best such as Park and Ride or In-airport parking. The price of parking may also vary depending on where you park at the airport – so it may be worth parking a little further away and walking with your luggage to save extra money!
When you’re there
Buy a travel pass
Walking is the cheapest option, but if you don’t fancy pounding the pavements, buying a multi-trip or daily transport pass could save you money on travel costs. Each city will have a different travel system in place, so do your research online, or find a local that you can ask for advice on the best deals. It may make sense to group activities together in specific areas to make sure you are not spending money going back and forth!
Avoid tipping twice
Tipping and services charges vary depending on what country you’re visiting. For instance – in the US your bill won’t include a service charge, but if you received good service, a tip of around 15 to 20% in restaurants and bars is normal. On the continent, a service charge is often included, so make sure you don’t pay twice by looking out for the words ‘servis compris’ in France, ‘servizio incluso’ in Italy, and ‘servicio incluido’ in Spain.
By shopping locally when abroad, you are likely to get more value for your money. This is because local goods are often priced for the locals as opposed to tourists. We would suggest exploring local markets and ordering from local restaurants – it also gives you an insight into the culture of the destination! By shopping local, you are not only likely to save money, but you are also helping boost the local economy.
Explore the freebies
While you are on holiday, a good way to save money is to explore the free attractions and activities that the destination offers. Think beaches, museums, hiking, waterfalls, and any free events that may be on offer!
We’re committed to working with members, local organisations, and employers to increase financial awareness in the wider community.
For more hints and tips check out our Financial Wellbeing Hub, which includes articles and guides covering everything from budgeting to getting onto the property ladder.
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