How to Save Money When Booking a Holiday? Finding a great travel deal is not as easy as it used to be, and is almost impossible for parents with school-age children. Being restricted to travel only during peak-time school holidays means that prices can be more than 30 percent higher than normal.
Twenty tips on how to Save Money When Booking a Holiday
Those who are free to travel and take their holidays at any time will have the best chance of bagging a bargain.
In these tough financial times we need to travel smarter and find new ways to sniff out the deals. The credit crunch has left many former jet-setters taking their holidays closer to home, or resigned to day trips with the kids and visiting local attractions. However, without some research and planning, even those day trips can add up to a hefty sum. Booking online in advance is the best way to find the lowest prices for almost any type of transportation, accommodation or entertainment.
- Use the internet to search for deals, as well as hunt down discount coupons for hotels, airfares, car rentals and attractions.
- Search local newspapers for coupons or discount offers for food or local restaurants.
- Book as far in advance as possible to obtain the best airfares and packages.
- Use loyalty cards to collect points wherever you shop – it all adds up.
- Consider a ‘home exchange’ instead of going the more expensive self-catering, hotel or villa rental route.
- Pay for travel with a credit card for the extra protection it affords in case of airline or holiday company failures.
- Find a bank credit card that offers no-fee foreign currency exchange (Nationwide, for example).
- Never exchange currency at the airport; if cash is needed purchase currency in advance or obtain traveller’s cheques.
- Check the price comparison sites for your needs, but think outside the box too and look for the cheaper companies which may not be included.
- Check reviews and tips of your fellow travellers on holiday forums and sites like TripAdvisor before booking an unknown hotel online.
- Obtain Student discount cards, railcards, or discount cards for travellers of all ages.
- Sign up to receive email newsletters and be the first to hear about the deals being offered by your favourite airlines.
- Try contacting hotels directly rather than going with the lowest rates you find online.
- Book airport parking well in advance to obtain the best rates.
- The best deals on the UK and European Vehicle Breakdown Cover are not always with the big motoring. organizations like RAC and AA.
- Take the ferry instead of flying.
- Use cheap rail passes and travel during the night with a private cabin to save on hotel costs.
- Check the latest exchange rates before deciding on a holiday destination.
- Don’t leave foreign currency exchange until the last minute at the airport. Use outlets like Thomas Cook, Marks & Spencer and the Post Office, but check your own bank too as they may provide the service free.
- Purchase traveller’s cheques if you feel nervous carrying around large amounts of cash, or wish to avoid the bank fees associated with using debit and credit cards abroad.
Home exchanges are an interesting way to get more value for your holiday money. For an annual fee of L50-115, several companies offer a property exchange service. Some of the best-known companies include Intervac (popular with teachers for summer holidays), HomeExchange, and Homelink. Those who fear their house might not be up to snuff for the type of exchange they desire in another country should consider the attractions or amenities in their area which might appeal enormously to someone from abroad and make up for the lack of luxury. If arrangements can be worked out, and insurance has taken care of, check to see if the family car can be thrown into the deal.
Lastly, price comparison websites for items like car rentals are useful to get a feel for what is available, but remember that not all companies will be included in their list and you might find a better deal elsewhere. You may be in the habit of renting a 4×4, but is it really necessary? For hot countries insist on essentials like air-conditioning, but consider downsizing and making do with fewer gadgets. Check carefully to make sure the car rental insurance will provide adequate cover – as they often don’t.
This information is correct, to our knowledge, at the time of writing and intended as a sampler to stir the imagination about ways to save money. However, there are many more – so put on the thinking caps and stretch that hard-earned cash even further!