Five tips for a more wallet friendly holiday

When we go on holiday we like to relax, which generally doesn’t mean worrying about everything we spend.  That said, most of us would still rather save our pennies for an extra slice of salami at that amazing New York deli we read about, than on an overpriced taxi or a poor exchange rate.  So here are our five tips for a more wallet friendly holiday so you can save your $$$ for something special…

1) It’s about the journey…

…we don’t want to get into a deep and meaningful, but actually it really is about the journey.  A little thinking about travel can go a long way when it comes to holiday budgets.

Do you have to fly? Could the journey be just as much a part of the adventure? Is the sky really blue… We digress, but while we’re all used to hopping on a plane and getting the travel bit out of the way asap, there are some great road trips to be had if you drive to Europe, especially if you’re with a group of friends.

If you do have to fly then you’re probably familiar with the likes of Jack's Flight Club, Skyscanner and Kayak, comparison sites which both have great offers available. If you’re prepared to go a little off piste, both sites often have very cheap non-direct flights available, which can also give you the chance to explore another location for the day on your way.

Even the time of day that you book can make a difference to the cost of flights.  A survey has shown that if you book at 5am for example, you have the best chance of getting great savings, while the best day of the week to book is a Sunday and the best month is January.  So set that alarm and pop a reminder in Google Calendar.

Crucially, as much as we like a little spontaneity in our lives, it’s important to book flights in advance to get the best prices.  Skyscanner says that the best time to book flights for domestic trips is two to three weeks in advance, and the best time to book international journeys is as much as five to six months in before you travel!

2) Hey big spender…

Another vote in favour of advance planning - exchange some cash for local currency before you head to the airport.  There are many more competitive options than those available at Terminal Five so make sure to shop around.  And yes, you do need cash. As your mum will tell you - it’s always good to have cash on you, just in case.

For the super savvy, if you have planned your trip a long time in advance you could monitor fluctuating rates in order to find the most opportune moment to exchange your money.

It is also really important to think about if or when you use your credit card overseas. Depending on your bank, you can be slammed with extra fees for using your card abroad. There are now much better alternatives that provide very low exchange rates on purchases abroad. Some offer free withdrawals of foreign currency up to a certain amount. You can take a look at Monzo, Revolut and Starling, all of which have some of these features.

3) The lighter way to enjoy mobile data

Gone are the days of £100k bills for making a phone call overseas, but even so, using mobile data abroad can still be done better.

There are many ways around being overcharged for using data in a foreign country. The best way is to buy a cheap travel data plan. Mobile companies offer lots of reasonable packages that allow you access the Internet when needed. This is great if you have to check your emails or check-in to your upcoming flight.

Alternatively, if you are never really pressed to access the Internet, then you can go without mobile data. Wherever you go, there is most likely a cafe or a bar where you can access the Internet for the price of an espresso and a pain au chocolat, which is both civilised and an excellent excuse for pastries.

4) All in one

All inclusive holidays have become one helluva lot more stylish in recent years.  It’s no longer just Butlin’s abroad but some seriously modish options at the likes of Secret Escapes, Koala Go or LuckyTrip.  They are an excellent way to control costs.

There are tons of sites that include cheap flights and cheap hotels, but even if you’re not going cheap and cheerful, all inclusive holidays can definitely be a good way to cap spending. You might have to do some research to find the best value for money, but there are great deals out there that can save hundreds of pounds through booking everything on one site.

5) Nice packing

You don’t need us to tell you that airlines are getting more and more strict about what you take on board the plane.  So make sure you check your airline’s guidelines and measure or weigh your luggage before leaving the house. For luggage in the hold you are typically allowed 20kg. However, if they say it is overweight they make you pay by the kilo, which can rack up.

Plenty of manufacturers now create and market hand luggage in line with airline restrictions, so that’s a good place to start on that front.  Some will also allow you to have extra bits like a handbag with you.  As you know, they have those nifty little bag measuring devices to check the dimensions of your bag with.  If yours doesn’t fit, then the airline will make you pay for another check-in bag, which can add an additional £50-£100 to your holiday.

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