How to save money on holidays, including cheap flights, cruises, hotels, foreign currency, tourist taxes and more
Our complete guide to cutting the cost of your holiday.
Make the most of your holiday
You've spent all year working, spending carefully and saving up.
So why accept rip-offs when it comes to your holidays?
A holiday should be the highlight of your year, yet planning one can be stressful and expensive. This guide is all about untangling that confusion, avoiding rip-offs and stretching your budget as far as it can possibly go.
If you're not sure where to go, head to our sister site loveEXPLORING for travel tips and inspiration.
Got a dream destination in mind? Let's make it happen.
Planning and booking
Saving money on your holiday starts with booking it at the right time.
Or why not let someone else book your holiday for you? BeRightBack is a subscription holiday service that offers weekend trips to Europe; read our article on it here.
Alternately, if you've got grand plans that involve travelling for months or years on end, read our interview with Lauren Hay and Darren McWilliam.
They're a young couple who used every money-saving trick in the book to visit 16 countries, from Slovakia to Hawaii to Australia. And as far as we know, they still haven't come back.
Whatever you book, make sure you book it with your credit card. As our article explains, this provides crucial protection against airline collapse, which could stop your holiday long before you reach the airport.
Holidays are expensive enough without something going wrong.
Whether it's a skiing accident or lost baggage, bad luck on a trip could cost you hundreds and sometimes thousands of pounds.
Nor can you depend on your European Health Insurance Card, which although useful, has some major limitations.
That's why you need to pack travel insurance, wherever you're going.
It takes minutes to compare and apply for a policy and you'll only need your personal details, destination and a debit or credit card to hand.
Flights, cars and trains
Though clichéd, for many of us the journey really is the destination.
If your journey starts with an early-morning drive to the airport, read our article on saving money on airport parking. If you've got time to nip to duty-free, make sure you don't exceed your customs allowance.
Flying can be about much more than getting the lowest price from A to B - but if that's important to you, here's how to do it.
And, if you're feeling lucky, here's how to get an upgrade.
Hotels, AirBnB and accommodation
Whatever your budget, we're betting you could save money on your dream hotel - or even afford something better.
Our guide to hotels includes tips on booking, 'secret' prices, loyalty points and whether to use a comparison site.
Just don't fall for 'holiday home fraud', where criminals persuade you to pay up for a villa that literally is too good to be true.
Foreign currency exchange
What's the cheapest way to spend money abroad?
A. Change money at the airport
B. Change money at a bureau in advance
C. Use your card to pay or withdraw money at your destination
Most of us know that A., changing money at the airport, can be very expensive. Ordering your foreign currency in advance is likely to be cheaper (more on that here).
However, the absolute cheapest way to get your travel money is actually answer C., using your card - provided, that is, you have the right card.
Whilst many banks and credit card providers levy rip-off fees for using your card abroad, there are both specialist banks and travel credit cards that have no fees whatsoever. Plus, you get better exchange rates than many bureaus. Click on the links to see the best.
If you can't apply for a bank account or credit card, consider a prepaid card instead.
Roaming and taxes
Whilst we're on the topic of annoying fees, we need to talk about roaming.
Using your mobile phone whilst on holiday can land you with a shock bill upon your return. Although roaming charges have been banned in the EU, they still apply to other countries such as the US and Australia.
For many of us, the solution to roaming has been turning our phone off.
Yet, as our article explains, it's possible to use your mobile phone abroad for pennies, or even using your existing minutes and data allowance. It just requires a little preparation.
We've also got a guide to tourist taxes across Europe. Whilst there's little you can do about these, they're good to know so you're not surprised and short of cash when you check into your hotel.
After the holiday
We hope that this guide helps you go on your dream holiday without breaking the bank.
If you did accidentally overspend, however, it's worth dealing with it as soon as you get home.
Move your debt to a 0% balance transfer credit card and you'll get over two years to pay it off gradually, without spending money on interest payments.
Then it's time to plan your next trip!
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