9 expert tips to help you save money on your next holiday

By MiNDFOOD

Woman  reading a book on the beach in free time summer holiday
Woman reading a book on the beach in free time summer holiday
Holidays aren't cheap, and amid inflation, brutal exchange rates and cost-of-living woes, they feel more expensive than ever.

But there are some simple strategies you can follow to make your money go further on your next vacation.

Fred Harrington, CEO of coupon site Bountii, has compiled these top tips on how to save money on your trip and keep costs down while still enjoying the holiday of your dreams.

Travel at less busy, off-peak times

A major influence on the overall cost of your holiday is the where and when. Generally, holidays will be cheaper if you book them during the school term, so if you’ve yet to choose a date, September could be the perfect time for your getaway. Try to remain flexible and open-minded regarding vacation dates, flight times and accommodation types to ensure you find the best holiday for you.

If you have children and don’t have the luxury of travelling outside of the school holidays, the last week of August tends to be cheapest for Europe travel. For example, according to Google Flights, return flights for four people from London to Mallorca averaged £630 in the last week of August – a decrease of 15.5% from the average flights cost of £746 during the rest of the summer holidays.

And don’t forget – the most obvious tourist spots don’t always make the best holidays. The more demand there is, the pricier your holiday will be – so it’s wise to investigate less busy and popular vacation spots. By specifically searching for budget-friendly holidays, you might fall in love with an underrated place you’d previously never thought to visit.

Make the most of coupons and discounts

Many booking sites will have discounts or coupons available to help customers save money. These may be eligible for any holiday, or may apply to specific packages, such as selected destinations or holidays that are over a certain price.

It’s a good idea to use these when you can – by opting for a slightly more expensive holiday, you may end up saving more if there’s a discount or coupon that will reduce the price significantly. Additionally, if you’re super flexible on location, you may find that some destinations are included in a special deal which could reduce costs.

Take advantage of comparison websites

Comparison websites are your best friend when it comes to planning your vacation. From flight prices to hotels, these websites are great tools to ensure you’re getting the best deals possible. Booking.com helps you to find the best airline and flight prices, whereas Trivago is perhaps the most well-known hotel comparison site.

Comparison websites are also extremely useful when it comes to purchasing travel insurance – which is something that you definitely shouldn’t skip, unless you already receive coverage, such as through your bank. Websites such as Go Compare and Compare the Market allow you to input your travel insurance needs and discover the best deals on offer.

Consider an all-inclusive package holiday

You might want to spend your holiday exploring restaurants and sampling local cuisine, but sometimes it makes more sense to opt for an all–inclusive or half–board vacation package. If you’re staying at a resort and don’t wish to venture out for most of your meals, this can be a fantastic way to save money – it can also be ideal for those looking to relax and not worry about where to eat.

Not all holiday accommodation gives you the option to pay for your meals in advance and dine at the accommodation. However, it’s certainly worth looking into package holidays offered by companies like TUI – they often work out cheaper and are fuss-free if your priority is having the most restful and relaxing time possible. Airbnb is another potential cheap vacation option, but the costs will vary depending on where you book, so always do your research.

Airport travel hacks

Pack light and avoid paying for luggage

Most airlines have limitations on how much luggage you can take on your trip for free. These are usually generous, but if you’re taking heavy cases, it’s recommended that you weigh them before leaving your house to avoid incurring extra charges. It’s also a good idea to pack light – this is usually easier to do in the summer.

Be sure to create a detailed packing list in advance, and only pack what you need and will realistically use. Pick clothing that is light and be sure to include some items that you can re-wear or mix and match with other pieces. Rolling your clothes instead of folding can also save space and may prevent creasing. Another great tip is to buy travel-sized toiletries or containers to transfer the supplies you already have into.

Opt for free and low-cost activities

From skiing to the theatre, excursions and activities on holiday can get expensive. However, there are lots of affordable alternatives that offer just as much enjoyment. Sightseeing is a great way to fully experience the country you’re visiting and spend quality time with loved ones on holiday, whereas going to the beach or pool is the perfect way to unwind.

Museums, galleries, and other cultural landmarks also tend to be free or have low-cost entry. Don’t forget, your vacation resort or travel agent might provide affordable or inclusive excursions and activities, so it’s worth exploring the full range of options available to you. Such trips are likely to save you the hassle of organising your own transport too, so it’s a win-win.

Choose walking over driving

It may be tempting to take your own car on holiday or hire a ride, but many holiday spots are highly walkable. Walking comes with a full range of benefits – it’s easier, cheaper, great exercise and spares you from potentially having to learn the driving customs of a foreign country. If you’re still deciding where to vacation, walkability and ease of navigation are definitely factors to consider.

Even if you’re planning to travel a little further from your accommodation, public transport might be the way to go. It’s a good idea to research in advance any distant cities or towns you want to visit and what the public transport options are for getting there. If you’re doing a package holiday, your travel agent might offer coach rides to popular destinations.

Career break for adults allows time for travel

Cook some of your vacation meals

If you have a knack for cooking – or just want to spend some bonding time with your travel companions – consider cooking some of your holiday meals instead of eating out at restaurants every night. By buying local foods and ingredients, you can save money while simultaneously enjoying delicious and authentic cuisine.

Of course, this may not be achievable if your accommodation doesn’t include a kitchen, so bear that in mind while choosing where to stay. If you’ve opted for an all-inclusive vacation, all your meals will be covered – but regardless of your holiday board, it’s likely that you’ll want to try out local restaurants at least once or twice. To select more affordable options, try using a website like Tripadvisor to view the price range of the restaurant alongside other useful information to help you make up your mind.

Ensure you’re fully covered to avoid incurring extra charges

You’ll need travel insurance when you go abroad. While this will slightly increase your overall expenses, it’s essential and will prevent huge added costs if something does happen on your holiday to you or your property.

It’s also worth checking for extra healthcare that you may be able to access. For example, if you live in the UK, a GHIC card lets you access state healthcare in some countries on the same basis as residents. Do your research to ensure that you have taken full advantage of every option available to you.

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