You may have found yourself a bargain of a holiday, but the money saving doesn’t need to end there. Some savvy preparation before your trip abroad and clever advice when you’re there, can prevent you from over-spending unnecessarily. Read on to discover how to save money while on holiday.
Photo by Chris Lawton
Save money with an all-inclusive holiday
Choosing to book an all-inclusive holiday package with a reputable company such as Mark Warner can be a more cost-effective solution than choosing half-board or catering, particularly if you’ll spend a lot of time at the resort and drink a lot! If you have kids then they’ll have access to unlimited ice-creams, snacks and drinks so you’ll not need to be pestered all day long or spend a small fortune at the bar.
When booking your holiday work out the average cost of buying food, drinks and snacks each day to see if the all-inclusive deal is worth it. Many hotels will offer a packed lunch if you are going out for the day, so check if this is an option too so you don’t need to spend any money on food at all if you don’t need to.
We chose an all-inclusive family holiday in Spring 2018 and barely needed any spending money at all. Don’t forget to book the holiday using a cashback website where possible to save even more. Most of the big holiday companies and booking sites are on the cashback sites. I got around £60 cashback from our holiday.
Buy your own food
If you’re on a self-catering holiday then visit the supermarket and buy your own food. It’s always going to be a much cheaper option than paying for three meals out every day. That’s not to say you can’t treat yourself to a nice meal out, you are on holiday after all, but if funds are limited then it’ll be much cheaper for you to take a packed lunch most days and then splurge on a restaurant every other day, instead of daily.
Taking your own lunch out with you will also save you time as you don’t have to stop and find somewhere to eat and can carry on exploring.
Find a competitive exchange rate
Before leaving, make sure you shop around for a competitive exchange rate on your holiday money. Using cash abroad can avoid bank exchange rates on debit and credit cards, as well as ATM fees withdrawing cash whilst you are abroad. If you are taking cards with you then check the fees before you leave and try to choose a card that has no foreign transaction fees if possible, otherwise every time you pay for anything you are spending more than you need to by paying a fee just to pay!
Ensure medical emergencies are covered with travel insurance
If you are ill or have an accident that requires medical attention while on holiday, then it’s likely you will have to pay a medical bill upfront. Make sure you have a quality travel insurance to cover any medical needs whilst you are away. It’s easy to compare the best travel insurance deals online. You could be seriously out of pocket when on your holiday if you aren’t adequately covered!
Even as a citizen of the EU you may need cover when visiting other EU countries. My Grandad recently experienced this as he injured himself on holiday and the only hospital that was near to him was a private hospital where he couldn’t access free medical treatment. Instead, he had to pay the medical bill upfront and then claim it back from his insurance on his return. Ensuring you have the right insurance will save you having to spend your own money on any medical assistance whilst abroad.
Pay in the local currency
When paying abroad by card, you are sometimes given the option of paying in your home currency. Whilst this may at first seem like the logical thing to do… don’t! The business or their bank can set their own currency conversion and it’s likely to be much poorer than your own bank’s rates, so always choose to pay in the local currency.
Use public transport instead of taxis
Navigating public transport abroad can be a little terrifying and so the convenience and ease of taxis becomes appealing. But as we all know, it’s far more expensive to catch a taxi than a bus. By working out the local public transport available to you instead of relying on taxis, you could save quite a substantial amount of your holiday money. Your hotel will more than likely have a schedule and can explain to you the process.
Be strict with your budget
We’re probably all guilty of being frivolous with our cash on a whim when on holiday and in that more carefree mode, but it’s not so good for our bank balances and we probably spend on things we don’t really need! To stop this from happening it’s a good idea to set a holiday budget before setting off and to break this down per day. Be strict and stick to it if you really don’t want to overspend.
Research free activities instead of paid excursions
Paid excursions and tours can be pretty costly, especially when booked through holiday operators. Instead, try to find cheaper and even free activities. Many museums are free to enter and nearby towns and cities can be reached by bus. Using an online guide you could organise your own tour of the city by foot instead of paying for an organised tour or taking a tour bus.
Ask staff for their recommendations
Ask local staff for their personal recommendations of what to do, where to eat and for free/cheap attractions in their city. They will most likely know places that aren’t purely set up to make as much money from tourists as possible and you’ll discover hidden gems you’d otherwise not have found. You’ll also likely get a more authentic feel of the place you’re visiting.
Pre-book online to spread the cost or for discounts
Many holiday excursions can be booked online before you jet off. This enables you to spread the cost before you travel and not have to spend when you are there. Also, look for discounts online. Many companies offer cheaper tickets online and these can simply be shown on your phone whilst you are there. You can even check online whilst you are on holiday if you find an attraction you want to visit. Check their website to see if you can get cheaper entry and ask the hotel reception to print off the email if you need to print your tickets.
There are lots of ways to save money when booking a holiday, but the saving can continue when we are abroad too. Hopefully this blog post will inspire you to save money on your next holiday or even see that you can afford a holiday abroad without going crazy on the credit cards whilst there!
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