The kids are off school, the ice cream is melting, and the suntan lotion is flowing fast – it’s summer! So naturally for many people, attention will turn to their long-awaited summer holiday. Of course, these things come at a price, and no beautiful sunny beach or breath-taking city is worth getting yourself into financial hardship – trust us! Still, there are plenty of ways to enjoy your excursion abroad without breaking the bank.
We asked our friends from the Christians Against Poverty team to share their top tips:
1) Get the most out of your spending money
Claire: Do your research before getting your currency – get the best rate for your Euros/dollars/dirham so you have extra spending money. Don’t leave it until you get to the airport!
Julia: If you’re taking money out of the ATM or using your card in shops and restaurants, remember that every time there’s usually a transaction fee plus a currency conversion rate. So for us, cash is king! We tend to withdraw enough to last for a few days at a time.
Nicky: Let the kids take their own money (or give them a fixed sum) so they aren’t constantly nagging you for souvenirs and instead consider purchases more carefully and learn valuable budgeting skills!
Liz: Set yourself a ‘gift buying’ budget in advance.
2) Don’t let costs fly high for flight extras
Emma: Don’t pay extra to sit next to your family and friends. If you’ve got kids, take the risk that they won’t let your toddler sit next to a stranger.
Gwyn: Travel light and take only hand luggage if possible – from experience it can be an extra £50 to check in a suitcase!
3) Look for ways to get around for less
Emma: Look into bus transfer services from the airport to your accommodation if you’re doing a city break. We found in Italy, for example, they were really good and way cheaper than getting a taxi. Use public transport to get around during your trip as well (read up before you go).
4) Ensure food and drinks costs are easy to swallow
Emma: For restaurants, chat to the hotel staff, tell them you’re trying to keep costs down and ask for recommendations.
Nicky: When eating out, step a few streets back from the main tourist area to find much cheaper deals.
Julia: Don’t buy water in your hotel – pop along to the nearest supermarket and save a small fortune.
Liz: Similarly, buy a bottle of wine at a local store, rather than going out to drink – it’s much cheaper.
5) Do it all without spending it all
Nathan: Plan in advance what you want to do and budget accordingly. I use the website budgetyourtrip.com to work out the cost of living in the destination I’m going to and work out a budget based on what sort of trip I’m on (budget, mid-range or luxury).
Claire: See if you can get a better rate for combining attractions. For example, in Rome a lot of tickets to one site will get you entry to other attractions too (e.g. buy a ticket to the Colosseum and you also have access to the Roman Forum and the Palatine Museum).
Yvonne: Avoid trips arranged by the hotel/reps. It’s just as fun to do your own version of these by local transport, it’s cheaper and you can please yourself when you go and return.
Julia: By all means go to the organised tour meeting with your resort rep, but do your own version of the trips and save loads of money. We worked out that last year, for two of us, we saved around £170 by hiring a car for three days and doing three trips ourselves whilst still eating out and paying entrance fees etc.
6) Make sure you’re insured
David: However long you’re going away for, don’t overlook the importance of travel insurance. There are plenty of comparison websites that can help you get a good deal, and you and your family will be protected should something go horribly wrong.
Gwyn: Look at buying annual insurance cover if you plan to go away more than once. It’s usually cheaper in the long term.
7) Save both money and luggage space
Claire: Beware of the mini toiletries you can buy to take with you – they’re really bad value for money. It’s much better to decant your usual shampoo or shower gel into some small bottles if you want to save on packing space.
If you’re struggling with debt, don’t panic – give CAP a call on 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org. Last year we helped over 20,000 people with their debts.
By Adriaan Van Wyk