Whilst we may only be in the early days of spring it’s never too early to start thinking about your summer holidays. Whether you fancy a white knuckle experience at Disneyland Florida or prefer to sun yourself on the white sands of Mexico there’s nothing more exciting then planning where you’ll end up this year. With prices rising all the time it’s important to start early to get the best deals, follow my top tips on how to get cheap travel on a low budget.
Be selective of the time you go
Flights are often cheaper very early in the morning or late at night. Whilst you may prefer to stay in bed, if the difference is a couple of hundred pounds of which you could put towards your spending money, it’s well worth getting a flight during slightly antisocial hours.
Go for a indirect flight
Ideally you want to jump straight on a plane and head straight to your destination, but by choosing indirect flights you can save some money.
Avoid summer holidays
Holiday providers always massively increase prices around school holidays as that’s when most people are off so they can take advantage of the extra demand. If you can avoid taking trips during school holidays as prices can increase up to nine times which if you want to save money is not ideal. If you do have kids or work in a school then the best time to take your holiday is the last week of August or first in September.
Use price comparison websites
Price comparison websites like Expedia and Travel Supermarket are a great way of comparing the best deals on package holidays. If you’d rather organise your flights, hotels and insurance separately there is a option available to do this. Skyscanner is also a good comparison site for independent flight, hotel and car hire searches.
Check how much your suitcase weighs
Many airlines impose baggage restrictions and you can be charged quite a hefty fee if you go over this. Pack carefully and weigh your bag before leaving so you don’t get any nasty surprises when you head to the airport.
Don’t go for added extras
Do you need priority boarding or seat selection? These are added extras that add more to your bill but don’t really add anything to your holiday experience. As long as you turn up on time chances are you’ll be seated with your friend or partner.
Sign up for low cost offers
Many travel and holiday companies offer amazing discounts and low cost deals at the start of the holiday booking period. Whilst you do have to sign up for these a long time in advance of your holiday you can snap up some amazing deals. You will need to sign up to the newsletters to make sure you’re the first to hear about these offers.
Get a combined hotel and parking deal
If you’ve got a early morning flight the last thing you’ll want to do is risk getting caught in traffic and missing your flight. Stay comfortable and save a bit of money by parking at your airline hotel. Often you’ll save at least £10.00.
Avoid buying food enroute
Most airlines will charge you a premium for food you can buy on board. Avoid the expense by buying prepackaged food to satisfy any hunger pangs along the way. Drinks will not be allowed through security so don’t buy several bottles of pop as they’ll all end up unopened and in the bin.
Search around for the best foreign money deals
When I went to Marbella last year I found that the best exchange rate was online. You can arrange for it to be collected or have it delivered to your house for extra convenience. Whatever you do don’t settle for the first offer you see.
- Top tip – if possible put money aside each money prior to departure so you’re not having to fork out a large chunk of money for your currency in one month.
Go by road
If you’re heading across Europe this summer you can save a lot of money by travelling by coach. It may be long and quite tedious but if you can stand the journey you’ll be quids in.
Get a villa without the thrills
If you’re going for the villa experience try to find one without a private pool as this can cause the price to hike up by hundreds of pounds. Look for a villa close to the beach so you can still swim if you want to.
Keep stopover costs low
If you’re travelling and need to stop off somewhere make sure you opt for low cost budget hotels. A quick google search will bring up hundreds of options. As always you’ll get the best deals booking well in advance.
Book your own excursions
It requires a bit more effort and planning but it’s a lot cheaper to book your excursions yourself rather than going through the travel company.
Get your tax back
Whilst EU countries are exempt- other countries that participate in the tax free scheme will allow you to get a refund of that county’s VAT. Present your receipts at the airport on your departure and your refund will be sent in the post.
Buy a sightseeing pass
If you love to explore on your holiday then it may be worth investing in a sightseeing pass. It may not always be worth it depending on the country but some offer great deals like discount on museums, restaurants, sights and even travel.
Don’t forget your health insurance card
The European health insurance card is there to help you if you become ill abroad. It doesn’t replace travel insurance but will get you free or reduced cost medical treatment in EU countries.
Shop around for travel insurance
Like every insurance product you should always shop around to get the best deals. If you holiday a lot and sign up to annual insurance for the best deals, make sure you shop about to see if there’s a better renewal price when your quote comes through. Topcashback will give you money back on any insurance you take out.
Avoid central city eateries
Chances are that cafe directly outside the Eiffel Tower is going to charge a damn sight more than that cafe a little further down the road. Avoid the price hikes by taking a little walk.
- Top tip – the cheapest way to eat is at lunchtime or from fixed price menus
Don’t opt for hotel breakfast
If the breakfast isn’t included in your stay avoid it if possible. Many premium hotels charge a extortionate rate for a continental breakfast. Save your pennies and head to the nearest cafe (or McDonald’s)
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