Whether a family holiday, a gap year, a trip around the world or simply a much needed getaway, for most of us, funding a holiday is never easy. With some surprisingly easy steps however, you really can cut the cost without cutting the quality of the trip.
Make a budget
The first step with any big expense is to set a realistic budget; one that won’t see you scrimping and scraping the whole time you’re away, but one that isn’t going to leave you crippled with debt when you return home either. By having a sensible target in mind, you’ve got something to aim towards beforehand as well as a means to keep your spending in check once you actually arrive at your destination. A way to make it less daunting is to break it down into smaller areas, working out what you will need for accommodation, food, sightseeing, souvenirs, etc.
Book the smart way
By now, most of us have heard that the earlier you can book flights, the cheaper it will likely be, and this is often true. Don’t stop there however, you can also save money by booking airport parking in advance, and can reduce the cost by opting to travel mid-week, rather than flying during weekend peak times.
Many of us use discount sites, cashback sites, or comparison sites when it comes to booking flights and accommodation and this is definitely a good way to help hunt out the best deals, but it’s also worth remembering that you can contact hotels direct, asking what the best deal they can offer is, and perhaps even haggling. After all, a hotel would always rather give out a room for a reduced rate than have it sit empty.
Shopping around is also applicable when it comes to exchanging money. You should never leave it until the last minute at the airport, as they will generally offer much poorer exchange rates.
Save, save, save
Putting aside money whenever you can will really add up. This can be done in many ways; from transferring surplus cash into a savings account at the end of each month to cutting out your daily coffee on the way into work and adding the change you would have spent to your holiday fund. ISAs are also great when it comes to saving, as they are a means of making interest without having to pay tax. There are many different kinds available, such as those with fixed rates or variable rates; short term or long term; and even one that allows you to save towards a specific date, which could prove particularly useful for a holiday.
Go off the beaten track
Both whilst booking and once on the actual holiday, you can really cut costs by avoiding tourist hot spots. By selecting a hotel outside of the city centre and searching out smaller, lesser-known restaurants, prices will in many cases be lower.
Avoid needless spending
It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of needless spending whilst abroad. Simple steps like informing your phone network provider that you will be overseas, hunting out attractions like landmarks and galleries that allow access for free, and never being afraid to ask for a discount – especially if you or someone in your party has a student card – and you’d be surprised how much you can save.