AS the summer holidays approach, it pays to plan ahead to make sure you get the best deal.
Whether you’ve already booked a vacation or are planning to take one in the coming weeks, here are six handy tips to save some money:
1. Start a piggy bank for the holidays
Even if you have already booked and paid for your summer holiday, you can still start a fund for your holiday allowance. That way, you can contribute to it through a few monthly payment packages, rather than waiting for it to approach when it may be more tempting to put expenses on credit.
The government-backed MoneyHelper service has a budget planner tool that helps you determine how much you might be able to put away.
2. Let your travel money go further abroad
Purchasing travel money at the airport can be convenient, but it can also be significantly more expensive, so give yourself plenty of time in advance to shop for currency.
If you buy currency online, consumer group Which? recommends that you take into account any delivery or handling costs. It’s also worth checking if there’s a minimum order threshold.
James Lynn, co-founder of Currensea, a travel debit card that allows people abroad to spend directly from their existing current account, says many people may not be aware that paying in pounds sterling abroad could strain their wallets. burden.
He says: “The most important rule is that you should always choose to pay in the local currency. This is an easy trick to avoid the bad rates and high costs you will face abroad.”
Lynn adds that it’s important to watch out for foreign ATM fees when withdrawing money.
If you have not yet booked your holiday, you can also continue to earn your travel money by being flexible about your destination.
For example, Post Office Travel Money recently suggested that a drop in the value of the Egyptian pound against the British pound could make Red Sea resorts a cost-effective choice for vacationers this year.
3. Save money on flights
If you fancy a trip but don’t mind where to go, flight comparison website Skyscanner has an “explore anywhere” option, to help holidaymakers check out a wide range of cost-effective deals.
Which? also suggests that people may consider their options for flying to and from a country using different airlines or even different airports, although this can eat up vacation time and also incur additional local travel costs.
4. Staying in the UK? Save on a staycation
Earlier research by Which? indicates that holidays in the North of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland may be cheaper, per person, per night, than the rest of England, although prices may of course vary significantly in individual locations.
But if you’ve got your heart set on visiting a particular region, it may be worth swapping a popular place or city for a lesser-known one nearby, to save money.
It may also be worth contacting accommodation providers directly and browsing comparison websites.
If the accommodation is large enough, inviting larger family or friends can help make the holiday cheaper per person.
5. Save on your travel insurance
Engaging a broker to find suitable coverage can help keep your insurance costs down. Some people may find it more difficult to find a suitable deal on their own, for example if they already have a medical condition or if they are elderly.
The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) has a Find Insurance service.
Graeme Trudgill, Executive Director at BIBA, says: “Insurance is just as important as your suitcase – it provides financial protection against medical expenses, cancellation, missed departure and loss of passport, and gives you peace of mind.
“A broker will help you get the right cover for your needs at a competitive price. You can contact BIBA’s Find Insurance Service on 0370 950 1790 to find a broker.”
Getting cover as soon as you book can also help if something goes wrong before the holiday, for example if you have to cancel.
6. Don’t be fooled by “too good to be true” prices
If a vacation looks too much like a bargain, it could be a scam.
Fraudsters advertising “cheap travel deals” may ask for wire transfer payments or use bogus booking websites to obtain your personal information.
If you’re not sure, do your research and look for independent reviews. Don’t be pressured to book quickly to avoid ‘missing out’.
Check whether the company concerned is a member of the trade association ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents).
Vacationers taking flights, meanwhile, should check coverage under the ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s License) financial protection scheme.
Paying with a credit card can also give you extra protection if something goes wrong, as you may be able to file a claim with the credit card company under consumer credit law.