Time and money – sometimes, it can feel like there’s never enough of either. Especially when it comes to booking that longed-for holiday. After all, if we’re not trying to fit as many trips as possible around our busy modern lifestyles, we’re battling the falling pound or Christmas sneaks up on us unexpectedly, ready to burn a hole in our already fragile pockets.
However, for the ardent travellers amongst us, having a tight budget simply isn’t enough to prevent the planning of a new trip coming to fruition. But before you start calling in the credit cards and overdraft to book that flight, why not take a look at our clever money saving tips for your next holiday? You might find your next getaway doesn’t have to have a high price-tag after all.
1. Be flexible
There’s no doubt about it, having a flexible schedule is one of the best ways to save money on booking flights and hotels. If you have the luxury of being able to pick and choose the dates and times you fly, utilise it by checking deals across a whole month – you’ll be surprised at just how much prices fluctuate. Save by travelling outside of peak times such as school holidays and travelling mid-week instead of over the weekend.
2. Take the scenic route
If you have your heart set on a far-flung destination in the coming months, consider choosing a slightly more convoluted route than the convenient direct flight. Stopovers can make the journey much longer than it needs to be but if you’d make a significant saving, it could mean the difference between being able to afford a short-haul getaway or the long-haul tropical trip of your dreams. Remember life’s about the journey; not just the destination.
3. Sign up to alerts
Do you always seem to book your holiday just as a sale has ended? Or the cheaper flights sell out by the time you’re ready to make a move? Sign up to comparison site email alerts as well as those for specific airlines, car hire companies and hotel chains and you’ll be first in line when the cheaper deals are released.
4. Choose self-catered accommodation
The soaring success of Airbnb stands testament to the fact that people have embraced the self-catered concept whole-heartedly. As well as the cosy ambience that comes with staying in a real person’s home instead of a generic hotel room, the big plus for those looking to save pennies is that you can stock up on local supplies and therefore spend less when you’re out and about. Even just enjoying a homemade breakfast in your pyjamas or making up a packed lunch to take out sight-seeing can shave off pounds and make your money go further.
5. Avoid the tourist traps
Do your research and avoid paying extortionate tourist-trap rates whilst on holiday. As a general rule, avoiding cafes, bars and restaurants situated along main tourist thoroughfares should help you steer clear of paying through the nose for your coffee or glass of sangria. For example, a drink on the main drag of Las Ramblas in Barcelona can cost you an arm and a leg whilst heading off into the spiderweb of alleyways that branch off either side can do wonders for your wallet.
6. Don’t touch the mini-bar
Although the mini-bar can seem like the ultimate luxury – a fridge stocked full of goodies offering refreshment right there in your room – remember that you have to pay for those luxuries and they don’t come cheap.
7. Purchase the right travel insurance
It may seem like a further expenditure at first but, if an unfortunate situation occurs such as an accident, illness or a lost luggage scenario, you could find yourself in dire financial straits. Emergency medical treatment in some countries could easily run into hundreds or even thousands of pounds – a bill you and your loved ones would be responsible for paying. The right travel insurance policy means that you could save money if the worst does happen, ensuring that what could already be an emotionally-charged time doesn’t have to be financially-draining too.