Taking time out of your busy schedule to get away for a well-deserved break can offer some much-needed rest and relaxation.
However, it can also be a big financial burden and costs can soon escalate if not planned appropriately and properly, making holidays potentially very expensive. Budgeting for any eventuality, including going on holiday is important to make sure you don’t overspend and end up in debt, needing to find emergency loans and other options to get out of financial trouble.
In this guide, we share the top tips for saving money on holiday, both in the planning stage and once you are away.
Set a Holiday Budget and Stick To It
Before planning any holiday, make sure you have a price in mind of how much you are willing to spend booking the holiday, but also make sure you have an idea of how much you can reasonably spend whilst actually on holiday on everything from gifts and souvenirs to meals and drinks.
Any amount of money you decide upon, should be a reasonable and affordable amount that will not cause you financial strain. When budgeting, make sure to take into account travel costs, accommodation, travel insurance and anything you need to take away on holiday (e.g. holiday clothes and toiletries).
Consider your budget for daily expenses while away including food and drink, entertainment and any day trips or excursions. Having this budget in mind will help you plan within your means and help you to design an affordable trip.
Make Sure You Shop Around
When planning your holiday, take your time and shop around for the best deal. The internet is full of price comparison sites meaning that you can look for the best deals for flights and hotels and try to save as much money as possible.
Use price comparison sites and let them do the research for you. It is always worth checking with the hotel itself to see if it is cheaper to book direct.
Be Flexible With Dates and Destinations
If you are not too fussy about a particular destination, it can sometimes benefit you to be flexible. Have a look at airline websites and see where the cheapest flights are going; you may discover a new and exciting holiday destination which you had not considered before.
Similarly, if you know the general region you want to travel to, it is always worth checking airports in nearby cities which may work out cheaper. You may even opt to stay in the country and go for example to Florida for some sunshine or Colorado for some snow and adventure, instead of spending money to travel abroad.
It is no secret that airlines make a lot of their money from additional costs. Many airlines charge per bag, often at an inordinate expense. If you are going on a short break, see whether you might be able to travel with just hand luggage or a small bag and save the cost of packing a hold bag.
Think about outfits where you can re-use certain items of clothing and only pack the essentials. If you are travelling as a family, think about putting just one suitcase in hold which contains everyone’s liquids and heavier items – that way you only pay for one hold bag and the rest can travel with just hand luggage.
Watch What You Eat
Eating out and trying the local cuisine is one of the joys of travelling; however, it is true that restaurants and cafes in the more touristy areas are usually more expensive. Look off the beaten track to try and find local restaurants which offer the same delicious food at lower prices. You can also research this in advance on sites like TripAdvisor or food and travel blogs.
Dining out in restaurants is a fun part of holidays but it is not necessary to eat out for three meals a day. If you are staying in a hotel, see if breakfast is included and if it is worth the money and sometimes it can be good to start with a big hotel breakfast that will take you through to dinner time.
If you have facilities to cook in your accommodation, you can rely on supermarkets and cook some meals at home to save on eating at restaurants for every mealtime. This is great for breakfast and can also be a good idea for making packed lunches for any day trips or excursions. If you eat breakfast at home and pack a lunch and snacks, you can save your money for a nicer dinner out in the evening.