Top tips to help save money on your next holiday

What’s better than planning your next holiday? Saving money on your next holiday, that’s what!

With thousands of people searching for their next perfect getaway, we’ve put together our top holiday money-saving tips to make sure you get the most for your hard-earned cash.


Half the fun of booking a holiday is deciding what you want to do while you’re away. Whether you’re planning to visit famous sites, spend all day at the best beaches, or hit the hottest clubs – take the time to plan your itinerary and book your accommodation accordingly. There’s no point getting a hotel deal that saves you £50 if you’ll end up spending more than that travelling to and from the locations you want to visit.

Use sites like Skyscanner, Travelsupermarket and Trivago to check for the cheapest flights, hotels and package holidays. Researching might take a little bit of time but could save you a fortune in the long run.

Consider different routes
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.

Stay protected
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 or ATOL schemes. All UK firms selling holidays with air travel must be signed up to ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s Licensing). ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) 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.

How will I know if the 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 stress however, 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.

If you are planning on booking a holiday soon, remember you can get an exclusive discount at Barrhead Travel and Haven holidays if you are an existing Glasgow Credit Union member. Login to find out more about getting your discount.

Before you go

Get yourself covered
As soon as your holiday is booked, get your travel insurance sorted – that way you’ll be covered if you’re forced to cancel your holiday. 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 as good as worthless. Money Supermarket has a helpful guide on travel insurance and which level of cover you’ll need.

Don’t get weighed down
To avoid excess charges, check the baggage allowance for the airline you’re travelling with and weigh your baggage before you go. 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.

Get app happy
There are apps for everything these days, including holiday essentials like guidebooks, audiobooks, translation tools, weather forecasts and local transport. Download the ones you need before you go and it could save you money – and space in your luggage for other essentials!

At the airport

Snack happy
Most airports will allow you to take solid snacks (sandwiches, crisps, crackers, biscuits etc.) 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.

Park smart
If you’re leaving your car at the airport, make sure you book parking in advance – there are good discounts to be had from sites like holidayextras. Even if you book online on the day of travel you could still save cash compared to the rates you’ll get if you pull-up, park and pay.

When you’re there

Buy a travel pass
Walking is obviously the cheapest option, but if you don’t fancy pounding the pavements, buying a multi-trip or daily transport pass could save on 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.

To tip or not to tip?
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.

Watch out for data roaming charges
Although the biggest UK mobile phone operators have said they don’t plan to reintroduce roaming charges for the EU following Brexit, this may change in the future. Therefore, advice is to check with you phone provider before traveling. If you’re travelling outside of the EU, consider buying a SIM for the country you are visiting as mobile roaming charges can apply and you could end up with a hefty bill on your return to the UK.

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.

If you have any questions or would like help with any of our services, please contact us on 0141 274 9933.