How to save money on your holiday before you have even gone!

by Jules on March 14, 2014

Taking time to organise your holiday and making a checklist of things you need to do before going away can really help in saving you time and money and actually cut the cost of your holiday. So to help you make those savings we having listed our top 10 tips to help save you money before your next holiday.

1. Travel Insurance – So our first tip is to make sure you are covered for any potential medical emergency while abroad. Paying a small premium for travel insurance could save you thousands. Did you know the cost to fix a broken arm in the USA can be as much as £15,000.

With comparison sites abound there are many websites that you can choose from to find a good deal? But remember there are many websites that don’t go on comparison sites so do shop around and check the excess amounts as very cheap policies often incur large excesses if you have to make a claim.

EHIC – If you are a UK resident it is definitely worth getting your EHIC card. It is free as long as you order it direct from the Government website – so use this link to apply online.

Your EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free in all European Economic Area (EEA) countries, including Switzerland and if you do use it and also have a travel insurance policy you will find that there will not be an excess charged by the insurer for other medical expenses incurred.

2. Booking your accommodation – It seems a long time ago when all holidays were booked via a local travel agent. You can of course still go to a travel agent for a more personal service but more and more of us simply go online and book each item of our holiday separately.

Hotels – If you have a favourite hotel by all means check out their prices on their own website but if you are travelling further afield and just want a selection then choose one of the more popular aggregators who have negotiated special prices. Trivago compare prices from 198 booking websites so they can certainly save you the legwork and is a great starting point.

Self Catering – Certainly a cheaper option as long as you are travelling as a couple, group or family. You might still need to consider the costs of food but generally this will be cheaper than a hotel. We suggest trying one of the websites that list the owners details so you can cut out the middleman – try TripAdvisor who list over 550,000 to book.

Hostels – If travelling around the UK the YHA should be your first port of call. For hostels around the world HostelBookers is a good choice as they don’t have any booking fees, kerching, another saving!

Whichever accommodation type you choose you can then make even more potential savings by leaving it all to the very last minute. Plus if you fancy a surprise when you get to resort why not opt for a mystery hotel, you won’t know the details until you have booked or sometimes once you arrive in resort, but this is a great way to shave a little more money off your holiday costs.

3. Booking your flights – Personally Skyscanner would be a good website to use first, they compare many airlines but I then look at other budget airlines and other official airline websites as many of these are not listed. But doing this can be frustrating as you will spend time looking at airlines that don’t even fly to your chosen destination. Then if you are flexible on dates certainly look at a few days either side, as you can save lots just by going on a midweek flight.

4. Save on Travel Extras – As well as the main holiday including flights and accommodation, there are those other extras that can often be forgotten until the last minute, but by planning ahead you can make further savings with advance purchase deals etc.

Airport parking and airport hotels – If you are driving to the airport you will need to consider booking a space at either an on or off airport car park, and definitely one that provides transfers to and from the airport. In the UK booking in advance can save you as much as 60% off the turn up rates. There are comparison websites that are similar to Trivago and compare multiple booking websites. Best Airport Parking Deals compares prices and then redirects you to the aggregator so you can book direct, best of both worlds here, since you then know there are no additional extras added to the price you see!

Travelling from further afield? You may consider getting to the airport the night before. Book an airport hotel with a parking package and then be surprised to find that these combined deals can be cheaper than parking alone!

If you prefer not to drive then catching a coach or train can be cheaper if travelling solo, but very often not if more than two of you are travelling.

Currency Exchange – We all do it and leave changing our travel money until we get to their airport, but most currency exchange companies offer better rates online, pre book and secure these better rates and still collect from the airport.

5. Car Hire – Unless you have booked a package holiday which provides transfers between the hotels, you are more than likely looking to hire a car while abroad. Just turning up at the car rental desk after arriving at your destination is the worst thing you can do. For one they may not have your car type/size and so you would be obliged to hire a larger vehicle than you desire therefore costing you more and also the numerous advance deals available online will not be available. So we definitely suggest you pre book. Again there are comparison websites. Choose a car rental broker that actually compares different car rental companies at the same location. These will include the multi-national names such as Hertz and Avis as well as some of the more reputable local companies. Try Best Car Hire as their quotes generally include No Excess, something to consider when many companies charge as much as £1,000 excess if you have an accident.

6. Read Reviews – Although not in itself a cost saving exercise we wold strongly suggest you check the latest reviews for your chosen resort, accommodation, local attractions etc. Because if you do arrive and find that the hotel for example is nothing like you had imagined, you might find that you will need to find alternative accommodation at an additional cost, certainly a cost you would not have expected to have to pay for.

7. Visitor attractions – If travelling in Europe many museums are free to visit on a Sunday. So do a little homework before you travel and then include a museum visit on the day it opens for free. There are also discounts available for many attractions when you buy some public transport tickets, again check before you go.

Why not consider pre booking before you go. Viator is the world leader in excursions, check out their website and you will find things to do you never thought of.  Booking at home in your own time allows you to choose the prefect excursions without any pressure from any holiday reps or street hawkers.

8. Using Credit Cards Abroad – Credit card charges differ considerably and most now charge additional fees when converting the cost from the foreign currency back to your home currency. Some car companies offer much cheaper deals, so choose one that does, or take out a pre-paid currency card, this way you won’t be stung with currency conversion charges.

9. Always pay for your holiday using a credit card – Using a credit card to pay for your flights, accommodation etc. can give you extra peace of mind because if the charge is over £100 you are protected if that company then goes bust. Unfortunately many travel companies charge you extra for using a credit card as opposed to a debit card but this protection is not available when paying using your debit card.

10. Choose the best time to travel – Try and avoid school holidays. Obviously this option is never going to happen when you have children but if you don’t then certainly look at alternative dates.

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