Look for hidden extras including baggage fees and even toilet charges (if you fly with Ryanair). Shop around the web for the best value-for-money flights deals. If you’ve not got your heart set on a particular destination look at what last minute deals are available. If you’re travelling within the UK look at the different options. Trains can be cheaper if you book in advance and coach companies like National Express offer great journeys from £1 upwards.
In an unfamiliar place you need to keep your wits about you and it’s worth getting travel insurance to protect yourself and your belongings. lovemoney.com has a comparison engine to help you find the best deal on your travel insurance. Bear in mind that many policies don’t cover extreme sports, pre-existing illnesses and natural disasters so check the small print. Read the insurance documentation carefully and make sure you know how to claim if you need to.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until you’re at the airport to exchange your money, as you airport bureaus de change tend to charge higher commission rates. Instead, book a currency exchange online to get the best rates, and then collect your cash at the airport.
Also, check how your credit/debit cards will work abroad as many charge loading fees for withdrawing money abroad and spending in shops. Consider getting a pre-paid currency card to use instead. Read The best way to get your foreign currency for more help.
It also pays to check how your mobile phone bill could increase, as it might pay to change to a different network or refrain from using it entirely.
Consider an alternative holiday. Considering taking a few weeks employment abroad, that way you might even earn money, you’ll learn new skills and get to explore life in another country.
Or alternatively, like Kate Winslet in ‘The Holiday’, you could also get involved in a home-swap with another holiday-goer. There are some great sites out there that can put you in touch with someone who might be looking to spend a few weeks in the UK. Just be aware that some charge for the privilege. Read Go on holiday for free to find out which ones don’t.
Food is one of the biggest vacation costs whether you’re holidaying at home or abroad. Bring snacks with you to the airport or in the car to avoid the huge airport/service station prices. Dining out can also make a massive dent in your budget so consider a self-catering property or a hotel room with a kitchenette. Some hotels even lay on breakfast for free, although this is rare now. Doing a little research can also go a long way, print off vouchers from websites before you go and don’t be afraid to ask locals where you can find a bargain. If you’re travelling within the UK, bring the essentials from home to save money.