The Real Cost of Living: Holidays

14 May 2015 | COMMENTS: 0 | Author: Ryan Smith | The Real Cost of Living

It’s a strange thing when you think about it: as soon as the sun starts to finally rear its head across the English sky, we Brits start thinking about packing our bags for sunnier climates all throughout the Summer months.

OK, so clearly it’s down to the school holidays for many families, but while some of you will have booked your summer break a year in advance, many will just be starting to browse the travel agent brochures and the Tripadvisor reviews; trying to decide exactly where to go for some rest and relaxation.

A summer holiday shouldn’t break the bank, and while it is the time for a little indulgence, the fun you’ll have will be so much more enjoyable if you’re not having to book a meeting with a financial advisor on your first week back to blighty.

Here are some of the best ways you can save money if you’re looking to book a holiday.

Budgeting

Before you even think about booking, it’s worth setting yourself a budget; many can be prone to spending above their means even just at the booking process. The average British family of 4 spends almost £3,500 on their annual break; the equivalent of 2 months’ pay after tax (based on the average salary of £26,500).

By setting a budget before you start to look you‘ll know exactly the type of places you can visit; if you see somewhere just over your budget, think about whether or not you can really afford it.

Booking

Take the time to do some research during the booking process; blindly booking the first place you like the look of, from the first travel agent you speak to, could leave you out of pocket.

Generally speaking, if you’re booking a 7, 10 or 14 day family holiday, booking from a travel agent will be cheaper than booking separately; a city break will often be cheaper to book things individually yourself.

It’s also worth haggling and trying to get the price down by speaking with other travel agents, as many of them will be trying to sell the same travel package at their own prices. The best ‘last minute’ deals can usually be found 8 to 10 weeks before take-off, with the best advanced deals to be found around 9 months before.

The Basics

Make sure you’ve got the basic essentials once you’ve booked the holiday. Travel insurance is the big one; if you require medical attention while away, or you lose your luggage, or even if you couldn’t go due to a family emergency, without insurance you’re not protected.

It’s also worth reading travel insurance policies, as while a comparison site will provide you with the cheapest policy, it may not cover all of your needs. As a general rule you should cover around £2million of medical expenses, £1million for personal liability, £3,000 for cancellation, £1,500 for baggage and £250 for cash.

You can also look to save money on your holiday currency. Pre-paid credit cards will cut down on the hefty costs of using your credit or debit cards abroad (debit cards can actually charge up to £1.50 with every spend). They’ll also help you stay within your budget, as you can’t spend more than you intend to with them.

When it comes to cash, visiting a bureau de change in advance, and not at the airport will cut down on unnecessary costs; sites such as Money Saving Expert’s TravelMoneyMax.com will find you the best exchange rate.

A holiday should be a luxury that you enjoy to your fullest, so it isn’t worth constantly penny-pinching as it won’t allow you to let go and enjoy the rest and relaxation the break will afford you. Take heed of the above tips to save on the big expenses before you go, and enjoy your time away with the family, making memories that are absolutely priceless.

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