More holiday for your cash

       

Mary Bell

The highs of a great holiday of a lifetime quickly followed by the lows of returning to an empty bank account, we call it "balance shock". Not only is it a total mood killer, but it might also mean a cashflow emergency whilst you wait until payday. This might mean looking at short term loans until your wages arrive or riding it out with beans on toast. Holidays are something that require research and planning for you to get the most out of your money. Seeing as we want you to bring some sunshine back with you upon your return, we've compiled a list of ways for you to get more holiday for your cash.

Budget

Like most things involving money, planning a holiday requires proper budgeting. If this isn't done, what starts off as a seemingly affordable holiday, could quickly turn into an expensive exercise in excess. When planning your holiday, you can either work with what you have or save towards what you want. Either way, you should still work out the potential costs and see how it fits within your budgeted amount. Remember to prioritise and reserve your biggest spends for the things that are most important to you. This means if you're not willing to compromise on your 5-star hotel, you may have to spend less on flights or activities for example. List out everything you can imagine you'll spend money on and then begin researching the cost implications of each. The key to staying within your budget is in hunting for bargains and avoiding unforeseen expenses. Hopefully, the list below will get you on the right track.

Travel

Some people end up needing short term loans after their holiday because they spend more than they can afford on tickets, transport, and accommodation. However, if you learn to find bargains and haggle with travel agents and hotels, this doesn't have to be the case. You have two main options when planning for your holiday. These include getting holiday packages from travel agents or booking everything yourself.


The wing of an aeroplane

Mobile phones

We presently live in the age where our mobile phones are the centre of our lives. On that note, it seems pretty impossible to go on holiday and have no contact with the outside world. However, roaming abroad could rack up quite a phone bill. A few cost-effective ways to use your phone abroad and save money include:

  • Contacting your mobile provider to find out affordable plans they have for the country you're going to
  • Texting instead of calling as receiving texts can be much cheaper or even free
  • Choosing accommodation with wifi so you can browse cheaper or free
  • Downloading a language translating app so that you don't have to browse when you're out and need to translate

Whatever you do, plan ahead. The last thing you want to see when you get back from a great holiday is a phone bill with one too many extra charges.

Holiday packages

Travel agent packages

When booking your holiday, you may want to cut out the stress of having to look for things yourself by getting an all-inclusive package from an agent. The advantage of this option is that they do most of the hard work for you and usually work out cheaper than DIY. Remember, you can always haggle with agents, so insist on them giving you the cheapest holiday possible without compromising on quality. Another added benefit is that most travel agents offer financial protection which you may not get if you're booking on your own.

DIY packages

If you're rolling with the DIY option and putting your package together yourself online, you will need time and a lot of research. Price comparison websites will come in handy, but be careful as they often strip off things like levels of insurance cover to reduce prices. Look into options like ticket splitting which would mean flying out and back with different airlines or from different airports. Similarly, you can consider indirect flights as a means of getting a cheaper ticket. Find one with relatively short stop-over time so you're not waiting in the transit airport for too long. Consider looking into inclusive tour fares which include long-haul flights, accommodation, and car hire. You may find that after you've researched the cost of each of these separately that these packages work out cheaper. Note that there is usually some sort of compensation for delayed flights, so do your research in case this happens to you.



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Accommodation

There are a variety of options for accommodation, so it's left to you to choose which floats your boat. If this is the aspect of your budget you're choosing to compromise on, you may want to take some of the unconventional accommodation suggestions below into consideration to cut costs. Also, remember to book somewhere close to the tourist attractions you'll be visiting to save on transportation.

Hotels

If you're staying in a hotel and want the best deals, you should start by using comparison sites. After this, call the hotel and see if they have further discounts or special offers. Also, watch out for hidden charges and taxes before booking as they can creep up on you unexpectedly. Other key ways to save on hotels and get discounts or cashback include using hotel sales sites, cashback sites, and sites with price promises. These options will usually give you money back if prices drop for your exact booking or give you major discounts on pricey hotels. Try and look for a deal that includes free breakfast, otherwise, choose a hotel that has local restaurants nearby. Local restaurants tend to have cheaper food, so look for ones with 'meals of the day' specials and feel free to explore.


relax by the pool

Villa or apartment

Getting a villa or apartment instead of a hotel is guaranteed to save you a whole lot. You'll need to look into what facilities these come with as they may not provide things like food, room service, and wifi. As expected, the larger the group the cheaper the per head cost will work out so consider sharing with a group. Believe it or not, but staying by the beach should save you more than if you book a villa with a private pool too.

Hostels

When hostels are mentioned, people's thoughts don't usually go to luxury. However, there are actually hostels that are comfortable, neat and very affordable. You're going to have to do your homework and find suitable ones in your destination.

Private accommodation

If you dislike the cold feel of hotels, private accommodation may be ideal for you. Do a quick search online as there are several websites that can help you find accommodation that is homely and perhaps cheaper than a hotel.

Activities

Once you have safely arrived at your destination you will want to entertain yourself and your fellow holiday makers, consider some of the following:

Tourist activities

One of the many benefits of the internet is that you can research tourist attractions yourself. You'll probably need a map and an app that translates the local language as we mentioned earlier. Also, try and group your activities into nearby locations to save on transport costs. Check if your destination has sightseeing passes or discounts for elderly people as well as students in order to save.

Shopping

When shopping outside of the EU, you can take advantage of refunds on local sales tax. This is only applicable for shops that are participating in the national tax-free schemes. In order to claim your refunds, make sure you keep all of the receipts and present them at the airport when you're leaving. You will usually get your refund in the post.

Extras

There are plenty of other things to take into account when planning and booking your hols, such as:

Timing plays a major role in how much your holiday will cost. For example, avoid the school and public holidays, fly during the week and book the trip on a Sunday can all help you save.

Travel insurance can be a tricky expense as you may not end up using it. It is a necessary buy however, and luckily it isn't too expensive if you purchase a basic policy online.

Excess luggage costs are painful, so weigh your luggage before arriving at the airport. Wearing your excess luggage if you have tons of stuff is another alternative as well.

If you're planning to drive yourself to the airport and leave your car there, you may want to reconsider. Parking at the airport can cost as much as £30 per day, so it's worth finding a cheaper parking lot nearby. If you must, be sure to book and pay for it in advance to save money.

Many people often forget or don't realise that they can take food through airport security. Buying food at the airport can cost double the price, so it's advisable to pack your own snacks. Liquids, on the other hand, aren't allowed, so you'll have to buy drinks there or bring empty bottles and see if you can get free water.

Nobody hopes to get sick on holiday, but just in case you do, there's a free or discounted solution if you're traveling within Europe. The European Health Insurance Card offers you free or reduced medical treatment if you're in other EU countries. It is free and can be ordered online. Not having health insurance while away and getting sick is another way of incurring a huge unexpected bill that short term loans may need to help you cover. Don't forget to get your vaccinations if you'll be traveling to a country where you'll need them. Most GPs offer them free or at a discounted price, but you can compare prices with commercial travel clinics.

Transport

Transport, when you're on holiday, is definitely an expense to take into consideration. Where you're going will be a determining factor for the type of transport you'll need. In New York, for example, public transport would be most ideal, whereas in Florida you would definitely need a rental to get around. If you do opt for the renting option, be careful of extra prices such as insurance and refueling charges added to your hire bill. See if you can buy public transport passes in advance and if they have any on discount for tourists. If you're driving to your destination within the EU, it's important that you research things like entry requirements and toll charges.

Money

Planning how you'll change your currency ahead of time will save you a lot on cash withdrawal fees which often start from around 2%. As a resolve, when you withdraw cash, take out large amounts to minimise the number of withdrawals. Prepaid foreign currency cards will also save you money. If you're traveling within the EU, pay in Euros, not pounds as you'll get the best rate determined by your bank. Paying in pounds means that the seller determines the exchange rate and it could be a lot higher.

Holidays are one of life's luxuries, as all work and no play makes for very dull living. You should, however, be able to get as much out of your holiday as you can within a budget that's reasonable to your financial circumstances. Planning ahead of time and working within your budget will help avoid "balance shock" when you come back.

Conclusion

We hope this guide has provided you with useful tips that you'll use when embarking on your next holiday. We also hope you'll share it with others so that they can get the most out of their holiday for as little as possible as well.What's the cheapest holiday that you've ever been on and how did you get such a good deal?

Do you have some money-saving secrets that we didn't mention in this article? Use our social media pages to let us know. For more check out this website.