How to cut the cost of your holiday
It's no secret that holidays are expensive. The cost of flights, the hotel room and eating abroad is only the beginning, and additional costs can quickly burn a hole in your pocket. These tips may seem obvious to most but they are easily forgotten and can save you a small fortune while away, and before you travel.
1. Exchange cash before you leave
Change up your spending money into the local currency before you go and search for the best exchange rate. Take more money than you need, as you can always change what you haven't spent once you've returned.
If you don't want to be taking loads of cash with you - and who can blame you - avoid using your credit card as most providers add on a hefty fee for use abroad. Instead, look into a prepaid card. You can load it up before you go and it is not linked to your bank account.
2. Travel insurance
If you're travelling in Europe, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a must to protect you against illness or accidents – and best of all it's free. However, it doesn't protect you from other holiday mishaps.
It's easy to tick the travel insurance button when buying your flights, but this isn't necessarily the cheapest or best option for your needs. Shop around.
Use a price comparison engine to search for the best deals, and buy before you fly – but make sure that all of your requirements are covered.
3. Don't hire a car at the airport
If you haven't hired a car before you leave, it's tempting to hire one as soon as you land. Instead, get to know the area in which you're staying. Hotels can normally recommend a trustworthy car rental at a lower price. Or why not travel like a local? Grab a guide book and a map, and try out the public transport rather than taking taxis.
4. Book your transfers in advance
It's often best to book a transfer with your flight or look for a cheap deal online, as there will be plenty about.
5. Go all inclusive
More and more operators are offering all inclusive boards for a variety of destinations – it may seem like a hefty price upfront but it can be a saviour if you have kids who are constantly asking for an ice-cream or a drink. Just take enough spending money to cover the extras.
6. Watch your mobile costs
The EU has taken steps to prevent holiday makers from receiving extortionate bills for calling, texting and roaming while abroad in Europe. But this only goes so far in solving the problem. You should invest in a ‘pay as you go' international Sim card before you travel. It's easy to do and you'll receive better rates for calling, texting and data.
Unlike domestic operators, some providers even make it free to receive calls and text messages when abroad saving you additional money. Being ‘pay as you go', you can control exactly how much you're spending, topping up what you need, when you need it.
7. Make a checklist
Make a list of all the essentials you'll need for your trip to save you from having to buy those forgotten items at duty free or local shops.
Travel adapters, razors, toothbrushes, tweezers and nail clippers are usually the forgotten suspects. If you're travelling to a tourist hotspot, you could end up paying over the odds as the local retailers push for a high price on items you can't get through the holiday without.
Understand the etiquette – in some countries tipping is not necessarily expected, however, if the service has been good it's polite to leave something. Unlike Britain, 10 per cent is not always customary; just leave a euro or two if the service has been good.
Shop around online before you travel – look for family package deals and money off coupons. Online prices always tend to be cheaper, just make sure the website offering you money off is reputable. You can't always rely on your holiday provider to offer the best price possible.
10. Barter your way to a bargain
We all love a souvenir on holiday, yet we all want a bargain. Take yourself to a local market for the day to snap up a piece of local culture, but don't pay an arm and a leg for it. Keep your bartering cap on and stick to a price you wish to pay.
John Assiter is marketing manager at www.GOSIM.com
This article was written for our sister website Money Observer
The difference between two currencies; specifically how much one currency is worth relative to each other. For example, if £1 is worth $1.50, converting sterling to US dollars, the exchange rate is 1.5. Converting dollars to sterling at those levels, the exchange rate is 0.66, so $1 is worth 66p. There are a wide variety of factors that influence the exchange rate, such as a country’s interest rates, inflation, and the state of politics and the economy in that country.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.