How to save money
on your holiday
Holidays are about unwinding, relaxing and leaving your cares at home. And you'll enjoy your vacation even more with the added glow of knowing you’ve spent your cash wisely. Here's ten money saving tips:
- Be brave – use local facilities instead of car hire
A week's use of a Ford Focus costs around £270 (including insurance but not fuel) in Turkey during July, for instance. That's around £40 a day which goes a long way on taxis and local transport.
Besides saving money, you'll interact with local people, see more and not worry about different driving conditions, constant map use, or the huge penalties if you scratch the hire vehicle.
- Share a villa,
gite or cottage
Expect to pay just 25 to 30% extra for a four bedroom cottage (sleeping eight people) in Brittany in early September compared with a similarly located property for four people. You can share the chores while bigger houses often have better facilities. But start with a few ground rules so they don't
- Avoid school holidays
Schools are tough on parents taking term-time time out but if you don't have children, this is the best time to go away. UK holiday firms routinely increase prices during school holidays. Booking outside of July and August also avoids crowds and Europe's hottest months.
Alternatively, book direct – a UK-based Easter deal to New York may charge a premium, but as Easter is not a major US holiday, local hotel rates stay unchanged.
- Go all inclusive
Seekers of sun, sea and sand – and nothing much else other than a swimming pool – could aim for all-inclusive holidays where what you see is what you pay. All meals are included (but don't expect haute cuisine) plus basic drinks such as wine, beer and fizzy beverages. It spells the end of the €2.50 (or more) cola which children often consume in ten seconds.
- Try city-centre hotels at weekends
City centre hotels often rely on business users during the week but stand half empty on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. You should get three nights for the price of two.
- Restrict mobile phone use (or turn it off!)
Forget your UK phone deal once you leave the country. Typically you'll pay around 35p a minute to make a call from Europe and about 14p a minute to receive. Texting is cheaper at 10p a time. In the US, it can be £1.20 a minute to make or receive voice calls and 40p a text.
Internet downloads can be ruinous – it's possible to run up a £50 bill in few hours if you use your phone as a satnav. Alternatives include calling from a public call box, using Skype from an internet cafe, or – if you are a frequent visitor to the country – buying a local SIM card. Some phone companies now have special deals for overseas usage.
- Book early/book late
Early bookers often get the benefit of cheaper airline tickets or “kids go free deal” - the travel industry needs a minimum number to cover costs. Late bookers can pick up hotel deals – empty rooms produce nothing.
- Don't hire if you can take your own
If you take the car, take home comforts with you – anything from beach chairs to bikes. A cycle can cost £60 a week to hire in Europe - £240 for a family of four. It's cheaper to buy a cycle rack for the car.
- Choose your country with care
Check out exchange rates and the cost of living if you're undecided over a destination. For example, Turkey is cheaper than neighbouring Greece, Portugal generally less costly than Spain.
- Stay at home – in the UK, that is.
A combination of low travel costs, no currency exchange expenses and a varied coastline and countryside make this country a great holiday destination. And you probably won't need expensive factor 50 sunscreen!
UK holiday firms routinely increase prices during