Economic necessity, a search for authenticity, stinginess: the reasons for a budget holiday are myriad and too numerous to list here in full. Regardless of your reasons for searching out cheap holidays, there are always a few tried and tested techniques to making sure it doesn’t exceed your budget, however meager that may be.
1. Hostels and camp sites
This may seem obvious but it is nonetheless essential to keeping costs down when you travel abroad. Hostels are usually at least half the price of hotels, if not less, while camp sites are usually even cheaper. Which you opt for will depend on how close you want to be to a city centre, but point two may help with that.
2. Rent a car
Renting a car usually looks more expensive than it is. Once you factor in the costs of public transport, taxis and the fact that you can bulk buy food and alcohol you are looking at an overall saving. Not only that but renting a car can sometimes be a better option than flying. It is usually cheaper and though a lot longer, a road trip is rarely a dull inclusion to any holiday. A really good way to maximise this is to follow tip three.
3. Go in a large group
Organising two friends who have similar amounts of money to go on holiday is usually hard enough. While it does get exponentially harder to organise the more people go; the advantage is that group bookings almost always mean cheaper accommodation, flights and car rental – petrol and food is all split between more people. It also ups the chances that one of the people you go with is a good cook, which is good because if you can…
4. Go self-catered
Skiing holidays are especially good for this, but it is almost always cheaper to buy food and eat in most nights than it is to eat out three times a day. This works really well when you rent an apartment or stay in a hostel or campsite.
5. Last minute deals
If your primary concern is cost, last minute booking sites are the way to go. For the exceptionally brave there is always the ‘go to the airport and get on the cheapest flight tactic’…
6. Plan, plan, plan, keep planning, plan some more, why have you stopped planning?
I can’t count the amount of time and money I have wasted on holiday when a group of us wandered around for ages trying to agree on what to do. It can kill the fun of a holiday to have a rigid plan but a broad outline is needed. Endlessly wasting precious holiday time trying to decide where to eat will spoil the mood faster than having planned out what you want to do each day.
Happy bargain hunting!