You’ve worked hard all year, so now it’s time to reward yourself with some time off. Whether you prefer two weeks by a beach, or a couple of days exploring new cities, there’s no denying that the cost of holidays can soon add up. Travelling is one of my main passions, and a huge portion of my short term savings are spent on going away. In September 2019 I also quit my job to travel around South America for six months! Keeping costs down over a period this long was very important to me. Overspending could have meant the difference between travelling for six months or having to come home early! So how do I save money on holiday?
My first tip to keeping costs down is to thoroughly research your destination. Is there good local transport, or will you have to pay for car hire? Are the nearby restaurants affordable? How much does a pint of beer cost? Understanding these factors will help you decide on a destination that is best for your budget, will help you estimate how much spending money you’ll need, and will reduce any costly surprises!
Before you book anything, make sure you have travel insurance. This may sound like an obvious tip, but not having a comprehensive insurance policy could cost you thousands if something were to go wrong. I find that annual policies are more economical, and reduce the chance of you forgetting to buy before your holiday! Remember, it’s important that you buy travel insurance as soon as your holiday is booked – not the day before, else you won’t be covered if you’re unable to travel!
When you’ve decided on a destination and have your insurance sorted, you then have the timely task of finding a suitable hotel. You may always book with the same holiday company, but comparing prices across all sites is a great way to save money on a holiday. If you find a hotel or apartment that you like, chances are they will also be advertised on another holiday companies website. Look out for any special promotions, loyalty discounts, or added extras that can help you save a bit of cash.
Check any cashback sites, like Topcashback, and book through them to cut costs further. I travelled for six months and had over £250 in my cashback account at the end. I was planning to save this money for the end of our trip, but unfortunately due to Coronavirus I wasn’t able to actually spend this! Still, it means I can use it on my next holiday!
4. Hotel Board
Choosing accommodation that has either breakfast included, or the option to cook your own food can be a huge cost saver. Even choosing a room that has a small fridge can reduce the amount of spending money you’ll need. I often opt for a room with some cooking facilities, so I can make breakfast or lunch for myself – leaving me with more spending money to spend on a fancy dinner.
Depending on the length of your travels, consider whether you can save money by only taking carry-on luggage. Some airlines charge a huge fee for extra luggage – I’ve seen the prices of flights double when you add a bag onto your booking. I also find that the bigger my bag, the higher the urge to fill it with new holiday clothes is, thus I end up spending even more money!
6. Phone Use
Unless you’re with a phone provider that offers great travel deals, like Three, international roaming costs can soar. One thing that may use up a lot of your data is Google maps. Before travelling to any new destination, open the Google Maps app and click on the Offline Maps section. Here you can download a section of the map to use offline. You can still navigate around the city using GPS, but it won’t use up any of your data, or cost you a penny! This tip won’t save you loads of money on a holiday, but is still worth knowing about!
7. Eating Out
If you’re a food lover, then eating like a local is not only a great way to experience new cuisines, but often costs less than some of the more tourist focused restaurants. Blogs and online magazines are a great place to find recommendations from locals. Whilst I was travelling around South America I loved reading Culture Trip, He Needs Food and Along Dusty Roads as they had some fantastic advice about where to eat. (As well as some really great tips for how to save money on holiday!) I’ve found that food markets and street food stalls often have some of the best food. I’d advise choosing somewhere with lots of people eating there, as they’re usually the ones with the best/ freshest food!
8. Travel Overnight
This tip is a little more specific to those travelling for long periods, but one of the ways I managed to save huge amounts of money in South America was by travelling overnight. We had very long distances to cover (our longest being a 26 hour bus) but even some of the shorter journeys (short as in 8 hours!) were travelled overnight. This meant that we saved money on accommodation for a night, paying only for the price of a bus ticket.
9. Organise trips yourself
This may take some time to organise, but a huge majority of trips advertised can be arranged by yourself, for a fraction of the price. Doing your research, looking on blogs or forums or speaking to locals is a great way to organise your own day trips, and then save money on your holiday. Plus with your own trips, you’re less likely to feel like you’re being hoarded around in big groups!
If you are choosing to take a tour with a company, then where appropriate I would advise you haggle. First, do your research and gain an understanding of the market value. You’ll then be prepared when discussing costs, ensuring that you’re always paying a fair price! Some people have advised that you can haggle for almost everything (even supermarket shopping), but I’m way too awkward to attempt this so only do it for larger expenses like travel or trips!
This list features 10 ways you can save money on holidays! Some of them have the potential to save you hundreds, while others only a few pounds. I’m a big believer in saving money wherever possible, so I hope these tips will come in handy when you’re booking your next holiday!
*Some of these tips have been used in an article I’ve written for Money Tips Blog